SEO in 2023 : Is it Really Worth Your Time, And Money?
The awareness for SEO has definitely increased and many businesses are focusing on search engine performance, well is it really worth your time and money? Let’s figure out
Let’s agree when we need to know something… ‘Google it. When anyone wants to buy something… ‘Google it. Search engines have become a part of our routine lives. Anything and everything that passes our mind with a question mark, we head to the search engine.
SEO allows passing this information for you to use for growing your business.
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What is SEO?
While we search for something on search engines, it runs through billions of online content and evaluates tons of factors to give the most relevant answer for us to get the information we are seeking.
The process of discovering and listing all the available content on the internet is known as Crawling and Indexing. And the process of rearranging and ordering the above according to the best matches of the searched query is referred to as Ranking.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, it’s about understanding and gaining insight on;
- What people are searching online
- How many people are searching for the same thing
- Questions they are asking
- The words they are using to seek something
- Answers they are looking for
- The kind of content people wish for
When you know the questions people are asking, it’s a convenient opportunity to give them the answers. It allows you to connect to those who are looking for the solutions, products, or services you offer, giving you the medium to reach them. As well as it will increase website traffic, giving exposure to your brand through organic (non-paid) search results.
SEO helps to know your target audience and deliver in a way to get recognized by search engine crawlers, to get better ranking on search engines.
A well-structured SEO Certification Program or SEO Training Program can give you all the necessary information you need to know (depends on what they think is necessary for you). Just follow the steps and you are set without any guesswork. There are plenty of SEO programs available online, though not everyone will provide SEO certification.
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I agree it’s not that easy to learn, I got completely lost when I started learning about SEO. Jargons which I have never heard before were quite overwhelming and confusing. For instance, on-page optimization, off-page optimization, keyword research, domain authority, etc…
You can be self-educated on SEO, there are millions of videos, tutorials, and blog posts available at your disposal. However, it can be a lengthy and complicated process.
How does a Search engine work?
Search engines have hundreds of factors, however, there are three primary functions:
Crawling is a process in which search engines send their artificial intelligence/robots, which are also known as crawlers and spiders, to look on the internet for new and updated content they can find. Content can be in any format like it could be an image, webpage, video, PDF, social media page, etc. By seeking along this path of links, the crawler can find new content and enormous databases of URLs are discovered.
Search engines process, organize and store all the information & content that is found through crawling processes. When the website page is in the index, it will be displayed as a result of the relevant query. It’s a database of all the content they have discovered during crawling and consider it to be good enough to show as results for searchers.
There is a possibility that you can block search engine crawlers from accessing a part or all of your website, you could also instruct search engines to leave out their storage of certain pages in their index. It can be done intentionally or unintentionally, if you want your website content to be found by crawlers, make sure your content is accessible to them.
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When somebody performs a search, search engines look over their index for the most relevant content and then order that content to provide the best solution for the searcher’s query. The results displayed in order by most relevant to least relevant is known as ranking on search engines. The higher the website rank, the more relevant content of the site.
A process or formula by which stored information is regained and ordered according to relevance is algorithms. These algorithms go through changes from time to time to improve the quality of search results. These changes and updates in algorithms take place so no one tries to trick search engines.
Search Engine Guidelines
Search engines want the business to achieve great results as well. There are many search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. However, 90% of users prefer using Google for approx. 5.4 billion searches every day, which makes it the most popular.
Search engine Google offers the Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide is a beginner guide, available for everyone. Which can be a great help in achieving your goals. Google assists through their Webmaster Central Help Forum and also by hosting live office hour hangouts.
Though webmaster guidelines vary for different search engines the primary principle stays the same i.e. Don’t try to trick or fool search engines and follow search engine guidelines to meet user intention.
White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO
White hat SEO is to focus on techniques and strategies that are set according to the rules of search engine companies. Where the end-user is more valued.
Black hat SEO refers to practicing techniques and strategies that attempt to fool search engines and find ways that work but do not agree with search engine guidelines. Though it may work, however, it puts the website at huge risk of being penalized or can be even removed from search results. There have been cases in the past where penalizing websites have bankrupted their businesses. That is also another reason to be careful and have some basic knowledge about SEO and the SEO professional you are hiring.
Should you be hiring a professional, consultant, or agency
Whether you need to hire an expert or not depends on your willingness to learn, the nature and complexity of your website. You do not need to have an SEO Certification to perform some basic SEO yourself for your website.
A professional or an expert, whether holding SEO certification or not, it is their responsibility to drive clients away from adopting popular tactics that will direct them to be quicksand in which their business can get stuck and sinks without a footprint.
Always bear in mind that clients are hiring a consultant’s expertise because they don’t share the same skills as you. Which makes a client not capable of requesting the perfect offer and selling them whatever they request is usually not in their best interest.
If you prefer to get the help of an expert, there are many consultants and agencies available to provide SEO services. However, it’s of utmost importance to choose a good company or consultant, which can save you time as well as money. Choosing the wrong team can actually cause more harm to your website than good.
Either way, I believe you should know the basics of SEO, I can say that from an experience I had. I picked a consultant whose techniques caused some issues with my company’s social media accounts, eventually (of course after firing him) had to redo everything including creating new social media accounts for my company.
Role of Content Writing in SEO
Content is a lot more than just mere words, it’s anything that is meant to be used by searchers. A visually appealing video, an image, text… everything is content. High-quality content plays a chief role in SEO. Content is the medium by which search engines deliver answers for queries.
Whenever someone searches, there are thousands and millions of possible results. Of course, there is a process of Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking… But how do search engines decide which web page is more relevant?
The answer is through your Content.
How much the content on your page matches the intent of the searcher. The words used for search and on your webpage match with each other and help fulfill the information searcher is looking for.
There are no strict guidelines on how long your content writing should be or in which form i.e. a text, video, or an image. What should be on your header tags, website title, meta description, use of keyword? They all play a role when a page performs in a search engine, however, the content should be crafted keeping the user in mind.
But how would you know what people are searching on search engines and how can you use it to boost your business? Through SEO… Thus, SEO and Content goes hand in hand.
One cant afford to ignore the part of the content writing in digital marketing. You need to have good effective content and then perform SEO to present that content to the right people at the right time.
Importance of SEO
You would probably have this question like many others, Why is SEO so powerful? As technology is growing bigger and better, search engines are getting smarter too, though they still need our help.
SEO is an important aspect of digital media. When one searches for a query or product, whatever lands on the first couple of pages gets noticed, more likely not even beyond the first page. It is an online marketing channel which if set up correctly, may continue to pay back over time.
Paid advertising, social media, and other online platforms generate traffic to websites, however, the larger part of online traffic is driven by search engines.
Organic search results give better results, more traffic opportunities, and appear more credible and receive more clicks than PPC (pay per click) advertisements, as people trust online engines to provide more relevant information. The key is to provide a solid piece of content with the right keywords, your traffic could slowly but surely accelerate. While advertising requires endless funds for the same.
To know why its role is so important in digital marketing, let’s see a few of the benefits it brings to your business or brand.
1.SEO plays a major role in your digital marketing strategies
The right combination of marketing planning which includes SEO can bring the most distinguished and progressive benefit for any business.
SEO alone can’t help you reach your business goal, however, it plays a major role and helps you reach your highest marketing potential. One of the primary goals of digital marketing is to increase website traffic and intelligently integrate SEO into your marketing strategy mix to roll in huge rewards.
You must have always heard about giving customers what they want, SEO gives you the chance to know what customers are looking for. Though we also know that often customers don’t know how to choose the best suitable from the various options at their disposal.
Marketers, professionals holding SEO certification should not be snotty or deceiving, instead help their clients to build the right framework, design, and guide to effectively implement and manage cost-effective and high-return strategies and tactics to make sure they align with overall business objects.
2.SEO is an investment, not cost
Whether you are an individual, a company, or want to become an expert with an SEO certification, don’t take it as an additional cost for your product or services. Instead, think of it as an investment that will bring high returns.
You can observe certain keywords that have great conversion rates for which you rank on the 2nd or 3rd page on Google, you will realize what you are missing out on. Boosting your rant to the first page of the search engine (especially the top 3 spots where most people click) could provide a huge return on your investment into SEO. That’s why it’s considered an investment with amazing returns when you get it correct.
3.SEO can multiply your marketing results
There is a limit to the reach of your printed visiting cards and brochures but still, invest in them. Though it’s not much compared to your investment on the website.
It’s obvious that we carefully check, proofread, and approve those visiting cards, brochures or catalogs before sending them to printing or probably have someone else do it for you. Because you wouldn’t want to spend time & money designing and printing them only to sit on the shelf, I bet.. not.
Have you considered an expert to proofread your website which is much more expensive than your print media and more powerful marketing tool, before you launch it? Your website could be viewed by your thousands of target audience and business associates. Although, by neglecting SEO, you are leaving your website in the hands of liking and desire of a search engine algorithm’s will.
SEO is your digital vocation card, which can multiply your influence enormously by bringing your website to the notice of your targeted audiences.
Doing SEO the right way can assure that the website interests the right audience and gets viewed by a broad segment so that your digital visiting card performs at its best, at the significant task of getting qualified leads and turning them into long-term customers.
4.Don’t miss out on free advertisement
The website’s title tags and meta descriptions (2-3 lines displayed under the title of the website) are well thought out. The meta description gives a glimpse of what to expect in the website and drives them to open the link to find out more. Ignoring it is like allowing your competitor to design your ads. And that’s definitely not good for business at all.
SEO lets you manage how your website should be highlighted on search engine results. Featuring a random text for your audience is like leaving money on the table. It works as an advertisement, that too is free. Would you let this wonderful chance slip away?
Once you are aware of this, it’s not so difficult to fix. You can update your website title and meta description whenever you like and get the controls back in your hands to steer your business towards the right path.
5.SEO direct people finding your web presence
SEO is no longer just about ranking a website in search results, it is the first point of contact with your customers online. It will generate leads, attract potential new customers, investors, or probable business partners. Nevertheless, if people can’t find your website, it’s just good for nothing.
Compelling SEO must be a part of the foundation of a company’s goals and strategies. It can be effective on the physiology of individuals in the online market. So your efforts on SEO will get your website found and noticed when a person searches for anything relevant to your business.
6.SEO prices are variable but not expensive like a king’s ransom
How much does SEO cost? You must have wondered this too. There are no standards set to follow for fixing the price tag.
Link building, generating traffic, keyword analysis, and all other SEO activities are customized for the specific nature of the business and its goals. And costs vary due to the wide range in the quality of SEO professionals. Like any other field, there are well-versed professionals as well as some amateurs and ignorant practitioners.
Before you choose the cheapest or the most expensive proposal, an experienced professional or someone your friend recommends… be sure to go through everything they have to offer and do your homework. Because your SEO and social media can make and break your company’s online reputation.
Even after knowing all the benefits SEO will bring, you are still not convinced… ask for an SEO pre-analysis by paying a modest amount before investing in it. This safe investment might convince you about the real value of validating an SEO strategy.
While comparing various agencies we are often tempted to pick the cheapest one, however, picking according to the cost may not be the smartest move you would make. Why? As I mentioned above SEO is not a cost, but an investment.
Rather than making your decision based on who is charging what, you need to look deeper into why they are more expensive than the other. What are they offering and being confident to give you a higher cost which might make you pass their offer? Compare services various experts offer you. If an SEO professional is more expensive than the other but helps you reach your business goals and targets in less time… are they really expensive?
Nevertheless, this is where SEO pre-analysis can be helpful. If the pre-analysis shows that your potential market is large enough to get higher traffic on your website, can give an expected return of investment, and also, you can actually fight and beat your competitor from their efforts. At the end of the day if this converts into higher sales and profit, isn’t it worth investing in that SEO Campaign? Think again.
7.SEO is the main element, not an ornament
After spending and creating a fancy and advanced new website you think the job is done. If you are told by a consultant that you need to invest even more to make it visible on search engines and also have to make some changes to your website to rank.
If you know you will be needing an expert’s help, then SEO consultation should be taken into consideration while you are planning and structuring your website, URL syntax, creating effective content, and web design to get the best possible results. Do not think of SEO as a cherry on the top, it is the main component.
You have to help Google or any other search engine to understand your business. Making some necessary changes to your website will increase its visibility online.
Even if you started on a wrong note, an expert can bring you back on track. Though, it will take some more time, effort, and money.
8.SEO builds trust
SEO can make your brand visible, well recognized, and trustworthy. When people search for relevant keywords and phrases, they find your website at the top of the page of search results. Psychology takes over from here and prospects will believe that you are reliable and trustworthy in what you do.
As I mentioned above, your meta description and website’s title can be a powerful statement to encourage a person to click on your website. While helping communicate a message that is in line with your goals.
In the present time, if anyone wants to know anything they ‘Google’, and if you land right on top of the search results, it goes a long way in promoting your credibility. You need to be where your customers are to offer them your product, services, or the right solution for your query to win big.
SEO helps you reach inside the heads of your target customers, adjust to the language they speak, offer personalized solutions they are looking for. Your brand’s credibility will increase rapidly.
9.SEO help building brand
Making your business a brand is usually costly, prolonged, and complicated. You work with many strategies for your consumers, so they remember you when it’s time for making a purchase. SEO has to be a major part of your strategies to accelerate branding campaigns.
When more people visit your website, they get familiar with the nature of your business and order on your site. People are more likely to re-visit and share with their friends too. SEO helps keep your website ranking high and attracts higher web traffic.
Initial good impressions turn into lasting recall through showcasing the most relevant and useful information that a visitor is searching for on search engines, earning a place for your brand in their mind and heart.
10.SEO isn’t just about code but about Content
Great SEO isn’t just about coding or Content Management Systems. When you are told that your site is SEO friendly, SEO is not just about code, Google doesn’t seek code, it checks for Content.
Search engines have more than 200 ranking factors and algorithms change frequently, so you don’t try to fool them. Content Management System is one of the few factors. Which helps provide the right foundation for the website.
Content is the main element among all the factors. Then the details lie in keywords, overall marketing, etc. Your unique content and loads of useful and relevant information are important to rank on search engines.
SEO is a very technical and sophisticated marketing technology, but if you can’t get it, you are not the only one here. However, its importance is not emphasized enough to try to learn a new skill.
It is said, “if you can measure something, you can improve it”.
This is one of the best things in SEO is that all the activity and results are measurable and can be tracked. Professional SEO’s also keep track of everything, which can be used to improve the value of SEO. If any strategy or priorities are not working well for your site, it can be improved to work better for you, by aligning your business goal to the results of SEO.
Some common SEO metrics that can be tracked:
- Most visited pages on your website
- Traffic over time on your site
- Most or least visits location
- Click-through rate
- Traffic from any specific campaign
- Traffic from a specific keyword
- Keyword ranking
- Number of backlinks
- Conversation rate
- Domain Authority
- Page Authority
A lot of apps, tools, and SEO plugins are available online at our disposal, which can be a great help, for instance, Google Analytics, Google Keyword search, etc.
These are just a few compelling reasons to convince anyone that SEO can bring great value and benefits in the long run. An integrated SEO strategy can grow your business to new heights of profitability, success, and branding. If done in the right manner, you will get high returns on the investment you made on Search Engine Optimization for your business.
If you are a professional the client doesn’t ask to show your SEO certification, all they care about is results that you can provide. It’s all about what you learn through bringing your knowledge to the practice. If you are a business person looking to gain some knowledge, subscribe to the field experts to get pro tips. And the main requirement… practice, practice & some more practice.
Not everyone knows everything but we should try and understand how it works. Even kids are taking classes to learn to code these days, we can also try to learn new skills.