If you own a web site you have probably heard the term SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization. You’ve also probably been advised to use it to grow your business. However, so far you have ignored the advice or in some way you are not convinced it’s a worthwhile investment.

I build websites and have been doing so for almost two decades. Some of these sites were low budget, others cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. I am here to tell you, "If you build it, they will come" doesn’t always hold true on a web presence.

In fact, over half of the sites on the net today will never appear in search engine results.

There are two rules of thought behind that statement.

Reality vs. Opportunity

The reality is, if your website isn’t appearing in search results then all you really have is a digital brochure. The only traffic you are generating is from those that already know who you are. Now, depending on which side of the fence you are on that can be a good thing.

Perhaps, your competitors aren’t taking advantage of the SEO either.

If you are anything like me, you see opportunity. The reality is, if the majority of your competitor sites don’t appear in a Google search result then that means with a little effort you claim a substantially better position than them.

You don’t have to take my advice at face value. Here are five PROVEN reasons you should invest in an SEO campaign right now!

Grow Your Business Online

Before we tackle how SEO can grow your business let’s look at some data. According to a Clutch survey, 46% of companies don’t have a website. Of the companies that do only 50% of those currently engage in SEO.

That means many small businesses leave the task of being found online to chance. If 75% of your competition can’t be found online and you are included in that figure, can we agree that is a missed opportunity?

First and foremost, having a solid optimized web site means your site can help people discover you. As a result, this allows you to take control of how your current and future customers perceive your service or product.

In summary, I think everyone would agree the importance of having a sustainable SEO strategy to increase brand awareness, drive traffic and grow revenue streams.

Local Searches Bring in a Target Audience

Everyone appreciates a locally run business and most would prefer to spend their money with the little guy over large corporations. Unfortunately, if you can’t be found online, then metaphorically speaking you don’t exist.

I value statistical data because results don’t lie. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Did you know

  • 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (WordStream, 2016)
  • 30% of mobile searches are related to a location. (Google, 2016)
  • 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase. (Google, 2016)
  • Local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day. (Google, 2014)
  • 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases. (Search Engine Land, 2014)
    (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

WOW! Even I am surprised by those numbers.

The truth of the matter is that SEO works and if your services are offered locally then there is a golden opportunity waiting for you.

SEO Generates Compounding ROI

Compounding returns means ongoing return on investment. This is my favorite part about SEO.

Every action you take rather it be adding more content, refining what you already have or link you build is permanent. As your site grows the content you created a year or two ago continues to drive traffic to your site.

In turn, you will begin to accrue a larger social following, your search visibility will increase and you will continue to acquire more referral traffic and conversions.

Additionally, you will begin to develop a reputation of being the authority in your field.

Local SEO has Less Competition

A company that shows up high on a page in Google in response to a search query appears more authoritative. Let’s do a simple test.

Let’s try to find all the child care centers in a particular city that are listed on Google. I live in Denton, Texas so we will start there.

I know there are 64 child care centers in my city. How would I know that? Simple, I did a Search for Licensed Child Care Center or a Licensed or Registered Child Care Home

Let’s hop over to google and see what we find.

I used Google’s recommended search terms to find "Child Care" by googling Child Care Denton.

While there are various terms and tools which can be used to search for a child care facility. I got my count of 22 based on the results found on Google maps.

That means roughly two-thirds of the registered Child Cares aren’t even on Google maps. If I am in the business of providing child care and I am not on that list, I would venture to say my competition is winning.

SEO Offers Proven Results

At this point you are beginning to realize the importance of a well optimized web site. I alluded earlier, that without a proper SEO strategy in place most of your traffic is coming from people who already know who you are.

  • 60% of American adults use smartphones and tablets to search for local product and service information
  • Google says that search interest in "near me" increased 34X since 2011; it has nearly doubled since last year.
  • 51% of smartphone users search for local info while on the go.
  • 50% of local searchers on mobile devices are looking for business information like a local address, phone numbers, driving directions and hours of operation.
  • 78% of local searches on mobile devices result in offline purchases.
    Source: http://www.go-globe.hk/blog/local-seo/

With the increased usage of smartphones there is an expected growth for mobile friendly sites. As a result having a mobile-friendly or mobile-responsive website will significantly boost your performance in local SEO.

Because user experience is quickly becoming a factor in SEO, your site should also be optimized for conversions such as making calls and filling out forms.

Conclusion

SEO may can appear like a fruitless investment. However, if you look at the facts, it’s actually one of the best investments you can make in your business, provided you understand SEO takes time and you have the right team working with you.