Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a term that gets thrown around a lot these days. What is it exactly? Before proceeding to why it is key to online marketing, let us first clearly define what it is.

SEO is a set of practices that attempt to increase the number of visitors to a certain site by making it appear high in the ranks of an online search. Search improvements are made through indexing, cross-linking, keyword selection and other methods.

The higher up its features on the list, the more likely that people will see it and visit the site. If the site is a business, then that business is likely to get more people buying its product or service.

Here are some of the concrete ways that SEO is at the heart of any good online marketing strategy.

Visibility

No matter if you are a bath product seller or an iphone app developer, you need to get your product to the public view. Online marketing that relies on SEO ensures that a company’s products and name feature heavily in all sorts of marketing campaigns (paid ads, blogs, etc.) so that they are the first thing people see when they search for related terms.

Branding

Once customers get to see your product and service and try it out for themselves, they will either come to love it or hate it based on its quality. If you offer a high-quality product or service, then automatically you have built trust with the customer. This is the essence of branding. SEO can, therefore, support the branding of your company.

Credibility

When your business constantly appears in Google search rankings, then customers, knowingly or unknowingly, are likely to make a mental note that your company is legitimate. Why else would it be one of the first search results for this particular brand or service? As more people visit your site, your credibility only goes up.

Return on Investment

SEO is not only cheap to implement, but since it targets customers who are specifically searching for a product or service, it is more likely to lead to a sale. Print, television or even other forms of online marketing often interrupt customers with offers that the customer may not even want. SEO is a cost-effective, high-return option. It can be especially attractive for companies with limited working capital.

Insights

Google Analytics is the program responsible for sifting through all search related data to develop insights about people’s online behavior. Knowing how often and how many people visit your site at certain times can help you make better marketing decisions in the future. Is there a lag during the holiday season? Find out why and enhance your marketing during that time. Not enough searches coming from a certain physical area? Maybe promote more traditional marketing there.

Traffic

When you constantly show up high in search rankings, more people are likely to visit your site, even if they are not looking for what you have to sell. But chances are, at some point, some of these people will give your site a second look over and may continue to a purchase. SEO allows you to increase the traffic to your site and therefore increases the potential to do business.

SEO is online marketing

Perhaps due to its novelty, SEO is still considered a form of alchemy by some business persons who fail to appreciate its potential to boost profits. However, there are studies that show that it is already able to offer a greater return on investment than traditional marketing and as social media continues to grow, this trend will too. Ultimately, SEO will come to be seen it’s true form, as the very essence of online marketing.