If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably got a website.

And for those of you who do have a website, chances are you’ve at least heard of the term search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO.

Even if you’re completely inept when it comes to technology, and don’t know the first thing about SEO, you’re likely to have some awareness of how important it is for a website.

But if you’ve landed on this post, that’s probably the extent of what you know about SEO.

That being said, whether you know anything about it or not, the fact of the matter is, having a website that hasn’t been optimized for search engines is pretty much pointless.

As Daniel, our head of SEO, always says, “If you build it, they will come only works in Field of Dreams.”

But what does that mean?

Well, just because you have a website doesn’t mean it’s going to get any traffic, and if you want to bring qualified traffic to your site from people who are actually interested in what you have to offer, you’re going to need SEO.

So, if you’re still asking yourself, “Why do I need SEO for my website?” and you want to learn more about why it’s so important, then you’re going to want to keep reading.

In this article, I’m going to explain what SEO is, what it entails, and discuss the benefits of SEO and some of the potential consequences of ignoring this all-important aspect of your website.

What Is SEO?
In short, SEO is a way of making your website more easily discoverable on search engines.

This involves a plethora of potential strategies, but I’ll get into that a bit more in a minute.

Whatever tactics you choose to use, if your SEO efforts are successful, your website will be listed higher up in the results people are served when they enter queries on search engines that are relevant to what you do.

When done correctly, search engine optimization can bring qualified traffic to your website from people who are actually looking for what you’re offering

And you can be sure they’re looking for it because, in order for them to find your site, they would have had to type in a keyword that is directly related to your business.

For example, let’s say you own a sporting goods store in Vancouver, and you want to bring potential customers to your website who are looking for sports equipment in Vancouver.

One tactic you could use to try to bring this audience to your website is to find a way to inject the keyword phrase “sports equipment in Vancouver” into your website by building a blog post around that keyword.

If all goes well, once you’ve done that, search engines like Google will eventually recognize that your blog post contains that keyword, and when someone searches for it, your blog will show up somewhere in those search results.

Ultimately, the goal is to show up on the first three pages of those search results, and preferably on the first page.

Why is this so important?

Well, Google, for instance, can pull up millions of search results for one query, so if you can’t be found within those first three pages, your website will likely be lost in a sea of competitors.

To offer another example of how this works, let’s look at a phrase that we’ve been able to rank for here at eVision Media.

If I search for small business brand design on Google, our page for logo and graphic design shows up on the first page of search results.

How did we get there?

Well, in the browser tab in the image below, the title of our logo and graphic design page is actually Small Business Brand Design.

That being said, when someone searches for that keyword, Google will recognize that it’s the title of our page, and will therefore include our page in the search results for that keyword.

So, now that you have a better idea of what SEO is, let’s talk about what it entails.

READ: Using SEO To Inform Your Website Content Strategy

Search engine optimization (SEO) can offer a ton of benefits to anyone with a website.

But believe it or not, the benefits of SEO can go far beyond just making your website more discoverable on search engines.

So, if you want to know how SEO can benefit several other aspects of your marketing, then this article is right up your alley.

Among other things, it explains how insight from your SEO can be used to inform your website’s content strategy and give you a better understanding of your target market.

Read more on our website.

What Does SEO Entail?
Much of the effectiveness of SEO can be attributed to the use of keywords.

After all, if a search engine doesn’t know what your website has to offer, how can it possibly rank it in its results, or serve those results to users who are actually looking for them?

But, as I said above, there are tons of different tactics used to optimize websites for search engines, and they go far beyond simply using the right keywords.

To give you an idea of everything that’s involved in this process, here are some of the tactics we would employ if you hired us to do your SEO:

Research your competitors
Research and implement targeted keywords
Manually submit your site to search engines and relevant directories
Rewrite and revise your website content to make it the best it can be and ensure it includes relevant keywords
Obtain relevant inbound links and connect with relevant linking partners
Make sure you don’t have anything on your site that might cause it to be blacklisted by the search engines
Use meta tags properly and ensure that they’re page specific, if necessary
Create accounts for the major search engine webmaster tools to monitor your website’s SEO
Make sure your site is properly built using compliant coding for optimal performance
Monitor your site rankings and freshen your content to raise your rankings even more
Now, I know a lot of this might sound like gibberish to some of you, but it does give you an idea of everything that search engine optimization entails.

As you can tell, this is not an easy process, and it’s one that requires a lot of specialized knowledge, so it’s best to hire a seasoned SEO expert to take care of it for you.

In any case, now that we’ve explored what SEO is and what it entails, let’s talk about the benefits of search engine optimization.

The Benefits of SEO
For those of you who’ve been paying attention, the benefits of SEO should already be obvious.

Indeed, many business owners are already well aware of how SEO can benefit their businesses, as is shown by a survey from Backlinko.

The survey asked 1,200 American small business owners how much they spend on SEO and found that, on average, they’re spending about $500 per month on SEO services.

So, why are business owners spending this kind of money on SEO?

Well, clearly SEO services are benefiting their businesses, otherwise, they wouldn’t be spending this kind of money on them.

Interestingly enough, the survey also found that the more businesses spent on SEO services, the more satisfied they were with those services, which also alludes to the effectiveness of SEO.

Those who spent more than $500 per month on SEO services were “53.3% more likely to be ‘extremely satisfied’ compared to those that spent less than $500/month.”

So, what does SEO do for a website?

Well, aside from just making your website more discoverable on search engines, SEO offers a range of additional benefits, including:

Generating qualified leads and sales
Making your business more prominent in your industry
Making consumers more aware of your business/brand
Positioning your business as more credible and trustworthy
Optimizing the experience users have when they visit your website
Encouraging people to stay on your website for longer periods of time
Supporting your other marketing efforts, such as blogging and social media marketing
Bringing qualified traffic to your website from people who are interested in what you’re offering
So, now that you have a grasp of how your business can benefit from search engine optimization, let’s wrap things up with a reminder of what can happen when you ignore SEO.

The Consequences of Ignoring SEO
Truth be told, SEO can be pretty convoluted, and a big part of the reason why business owners choose to ignore SEO is that they simply don’t understand it.

From their perspective, they’ve already got their website, it looks great, and it functions properly, and they can’t justify forking out hundreds of dollars per month for something they don’t understand and don’t think they need.

A survey from Fractl that asked small business owners how familiar they are with SEO found that nearly a quarter of them were either vaguely familiar or not at all familiar with it, and this helps to explain why so many business owners choose to ignore SEO.

But just because you’re unfamiliar with SEO and its benefits doesn’t mean you’re going to be exempt from the consequences of ignoring it.

If you want to know what those consequences are, they’re basically the opposite of the benefits I listed above.

But just to drive this point home, below you’ll find a list of some of the potential consequences of ignoring SEO.

Getting fewer leads and sales
Being less prominent in your industry
Consumers will be less aware of your business/brand
Your business might be seen as less credible or trustworthy
People who visit your website will have a less satisfying experience
Users will spend less time on your website and will leave your site more quickly
Your other marketing efforts, such as blogging and social media marketing, are likely to suffer
The people who come to your website will be less likely to be interested in what you’re offering
So, before you decide that you don’t need SEO for your website, take a moment to read the list of benefits above, and then compare them to this list of potential consequences.

That should tell you everything you need to know.

Are you still asking yourself, “What does SEO do for a website?” For more than 20 years, we’ve been helping business owners to improve the ranking of their websites, and we know we can help you, too. Contact us today to find out how we can make your website easier to find.

To your business success,
Susan Friesen

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Author's Bio: 

Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

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