The term ‘search engine optimization’ (SEO) has been around since the mid 90s, but some business owners struggle to grasp the concept of what search engine optimization actually does.

We can’t say we blame them.

Although the term has been around for over twenty years, SEO has drastically evolved over the course of two decades – and it’ll continue to evolve.

Search engines are constantly adapting to the way people look for information. For example, our blog post last week covered changes included in the August 2023 Google Search core update. Authentic, valuable content has taken priority over technical changes, which is a significant shift from the time when keywords alone were the most important factor.

One factor that has remained the same, however, is the importance of SEO for websites. As a digital marketing agency, we are commonly asked by our customers if search engine optimization is worth the investment.

The short answer? Yes. Absolutely.

If your website isn’t optimized for search engines and the people that use them, it won’t attract the visibility it deserves.

Before we explore further into why SEO is worth it, let’s take a look at what we mean when we talk about search engine optimization.

What is search engine optimization?

Try to remember the last time you searched for something and clicked past the first page of search results. That first page of results receives over 90% of clicks and visitors. That doesn’t leave much traffic for the remaining pages.

Search engine optimization focuses on improving a website’s visibility in search engine results. In simple terms, it’s about making your website more attractive and relevant to search engines like Google.

These search engines value the people that use them and are designed to provide the best results possible based on search inquiries. The primary goal of SEO is to ensure that your website is visible to relevant searches and people looking for more information about a topic, product, or service related to your business.

In turn, SEO increases organic (non-paid) traffic to your website through high-ranking positions in the search engine results page (SERP). This process involves various techniques including keyword optimization, quality content creation, trustworthy backlinks, search intent, and more.

By optimizing your website for search engines, you make it easier for them to understand and index your content. Improved visibility can drive more traffic to your site, thus potentially generating more clicks, sales, and business growth.

However, SEO doesn’t just improve site visibility—it can also enhance user experience. A well-optimized site should provide relevant content and an accessible design, which can boost engagement and conversions.

In short, it is a combination of tactics and techniques that are used to provide real value to your customers, improve your website’s visibility, increase organic traffic, and drive results.

What are specific benefits?

We could go on and on about the benefits of optimizing your website. For now, we’ll focus on the benefits that provide tangible, measurable results.

Increases Organic Traffic

If your website isn’t currently using an analytics tool like Google Analytics 4 to measure your incoming organic traffic, it’s time to start. (Don’t worry, we can help with that too).

Analytics tools measure how many people are visiting your website, where they’re coming from, which pages they visit most often, and where they leave. You can also learn more about the devices they use and how much time they spend on your website.

Analytics provide valuable insights into how much organic traffic your website receives over a period of time. Since one of the main goals of SEO is to drive more people to your site, it comes as no surprise that websites optimized for SEO receive more visits than those that aren’t.

Builds Credibility and Trust

People tend to trust websites that rank higher in SERPs. They’ve come to understand that there’s a reason those websites show up first. Like we mentioned earlier, it is rare for people to go past the first page of results. Having a website that appears on the first page of Google conveys a sense of legitimacy and credibility to your business.

Important note: A significant part of credibility involves optimizing your website to provide a better user experience. Accessible website design, site speed, mobile responsiveness, and high-quality content contribute to the performance of your site. Appearing on the first page is great until people get to your actual website and realize it’s not optimized for a beneficial browsing experience.

If your website takes longer than three seconds to load, you’ve already lost customers.

Improves Local Search Rankings

Local search is becoming increasingly important for small businesses. With the rise of mobile device usage, people are often searching for businesses near them for products and services. The market is competitive, and focusing on local customers will help build your client base and presence in the community.

Local search rank is a tangible result because you can see how your website is performing against your direct competitors. Businesses like lawn care companies or realtors are often fighting for a top result, especially in the local Google Business Profile map listings. Here’s an example of results from our Google Profile listings when someone searches ‘marketing agency quincy il.’

vervocity margeting agency quincy il google results

Vervocity is the first listing people see when they search for that particular phrase. To measure how your listing ranks, use SEO tracking tools to compare your results against the competition. You can even search for a keyword or keyword phrase from your own device to see how your business is doing in real time in your local area but using your browser’s incognito mode will provide more accurate results. We recommend using an SEO position tracking tool over this method to provide the most accurate search results data.

Generates a Higher Conversion Rate

A website conversion occurs when a visitor to your website completes a desired action or goal. Online purchases, filling out a form, downloading a resource, signing up for a newsletter, registering for an event, or any other action that is beneficial to your business can be set up as a conversion.

The specific action will depend on the purpose of your website and your business objectives. For instance, an e-commerce website might consider a successful conversion as a completed sale, while a blog may define a conversion as a subscription to a newsletter.

Conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of visitors, and then multiplying the result by 100 to get a percentage. A higher conversion rate indicates that more visitors are completing the desired action, suggesting that your website is effective at guiding users towards this goal.

When a website is effectively optimized for SEO, business owners often begin seeing higher conversion rates and an increase in return on investment (ROI). Keep in mind that a high-ranking website alone won’t be enough to encourage customers to complete a conversion. Search engines have become much more tailored to providing users with trustworthy results, so websites with poor user experience or invaluable content are not ranked well.

However, if your website does happen to rank moderately okay for a specific niche, a poorly designed website will make people click right back to where they came from.

Is SEO worth the investment for EVERY Business?

There is no straightforward answer to this question. It depends on factors such as the business size, competition, and target audience. It also depends on the current state of your website. If your website isn’t ranking well due to poor content or an outdated website design, SEO won’t be effective until the other issues are addressed first.

In most cases, search engine optimization is worth the investment. Every business is different, so the returns on investment can vary. The benefits of SEO often help to justify the cost. Investing in SEO helps you stand out from competitors, improve the user experience for website visitors, strengthen your branding, and increase revenue. In some cases, SEO can even help to reduce the cost of other marketing strategies that are not delivering results.

Need additional help deciding whether SEO is right for you?

Vervocity works with clients across the nation to improve their website design, online visibility, and user experiences. Although we are located in Quincy, IL, we have the tools and experience to improve brand awareness and drive results for businesses located throughout the United States.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to reach more local or national customers. Our team will personally get to know your brand so we can promote the values of your business that will mean the most to your customers. We’ve been in the business long enough to know what it takes to drive real results.

Don’t let SEO be the reason your business isn’t reaching its full potential online. Leave the hassle of staying up-to-date on SEO practices to us.

Reach out to us or give us a call at (217) 222-1451 to learn more about how we can help.