5 Benefits of SEO Beyond Traffic

opportunities of seo beyond traffic

The core value of ranking well in search engines is obvious: increased and consistant traffic to your site.

Given the intent-based nature of search engines, this traffic is typically high in quality and has at least a decent chance of resulting in conversions (I’m making many assumptions here, including that you are building pages with SEO value that support the site’s business model and/or goals).

But, have you ever wondered what else these rankings and their visibility bring to the table? Zooming out in scope, what are the advantages of the SEO channel from a wholistic marketing and business perspective?

Nowadays, the ongoing investment to earn and maintain these organic search positions can be very significant for businesses and organizations. So, it’s important to take into account the total value of SEO when…

• Weighing its ROI against other marketing channels

• Exploring initial or continued investment

• Pitching it to an organization or individuals

• Debating with marketing colleagues (kidding)…and so on.

So, let’s jump right in. Here are 5 benefits of SEO beyond traffic.

1. A Better Site!

A classic reservation about SEO is, “What if we do all this work improving our site and the traffic doesn’t come?” Well, you have a better site!

Particularly in the last few years, SEO is not disconnected from your business and its target customers. It should REFLECT your business and is built AROUND your target customers. SEO is not a tack-on effort and does not exist in a silo. Making improvements necessary for SEO such as publishing desired content, increasing site speed, earning more inbound links from relevant sources, and more, will only reinforce your other marketing efforts and help improve your business overall.

2. A Greater Understanding of Your Target Customers, Competitors and Market

 

 

 

 

 

Information is power. The more you know about the environment you’re operating in, the more chance of success you’ll have across the board.

The problem is, traditional market research is full of problems. For example, it is common knowledge that many people aren’t honest when taking behavioral surveys – often communicating a distorted version of their behavior compared with reality. Much of SEO research relies on hard data or significant, qualitative information. For example, keyword research anonymously reveals what people actually want, how they shop, their problems, and more when no one (but Google) is looking. This information can be applied in plenty of ways across your business or organization.

The most effective SEO practitioners conduct ongoing, deep research to…

• Discover their customers’ existing and emerging problems to address via keyword research tools, trends data, relevant forums, etc.

• Find out what is working and not working for the competition, what information/content gaps exist, what ideas can be copied in an original way, and more.

• Get a 10,000 foot view of what the market/category looks like today and how it’s changing in the near and far future.

3. Mindshare, Perception and Influence

Just as Netflix comes to mind for most people when thinking about streaming movies, your organization can develop an association with your category through SEO. Many folks before me have referred to this as “mindshare.” In other words, what amount of space does your brand occupy in consumers’ minds for the given industry? If your site appears regularly in relevant search results, your target market should begin to make the association organically (no pun intended).

Beyond an association, searchers’ perceptions of a business can quickly and drastically improve by appearing for the right search queries. For better or for worse, people put a LOT of faith in search engines (overwhelmingly Google) to provide high-quality, relevant, and justified results to address their particular needs. Therefore, sites that rank highly have an unofficial endorsement from the search engines. This can carry over into other potential engagements with your brand such as opting into an email list or purchasing a product/service. All boats rise with the tide.

Finally (again, for better or for worse), the results that surface in search engines can strongly influence people’s beliefs and feelings about any given topic, ultimately affecting their actions. While this can obviously be leveraged for malicious purposes, the flip side is also true. Over time through SEO, you are able to ethically condition your market to think about the problems they need solved in a new and improved way. For example, perhaps your audience is wasting hours every week on manual reporting. With proper content and engaging headlines, you’re able to influence them to think that’s unacceptable and there’s a better way to report through your solution.

4. New Relationships and Partnerships

new partnerships and connections

 

 

 

 

 

“Link building” and “content outreach” can be seen as somewhat dirty terms in the digital marketing world. But, when done in a genuine way, these activities can produce so much more than a simple link.

For those unfamiliar with this area of SEO, acquiring quality inbound links to your site has consistently been a backbone requirement to ranking well in search results. In fact, it’s what initially set Google apart from the pack. Furthermore, while links are earned naturally by sites independently deciding to link to you, this is rarely enough to be competitive in today’s search landscape. Therefore, representatives of websites often evangelize content via social, email and other channels in the hopes of acquiring links, shares and general attention. This process can result in new connections with others in the industry (sometimes even competitors) that are mutually beneficial and build community.

5. Offline Activities

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are real people behind search queries. They obviously engage offline as well as online. A well-tuned SEO presence can drive everything from offline word of mouth to direct sales. It’s as simple as that.

Conclusion

I hope this post has opened your eyes to the wide-ranging value SEO can provide. To review, 5 benefits of SEO beyond traffic are…

1. A Better Site

2. A Greater Understanding of Your Target Customers, Competitors and Market

3. Mindshare, Perception and Influence

4. New Relationships and Partnerships

5. Offline Activities

What other benefits has SEO brought you?

Author: Ryan Hansen

I am an SEO and digital marketing professional based in Salt Lake City, Utah.