Earlier this month, Google surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable company. The two companies have yo-yoed for first place since then, but the point is that Google is one of the most successful companies in the history of capitalism.
How Did This Happen?
There are more than 3.5 billion Google searches every day. That’s more than 40,000 searches per second.
Google Search has evolved into a fundamental part of the purchase process. This is a nice way of saying that Google has monopolized the way we search for products, services and information on the Internet.
No matter how your prospects hear about you, they are unlikely to buy from your company without Googling it first. You know it’s true. If they can’t find your website, or don’t like what they see in terms of your web presence or reviews, they buy elsewhere.
Your website is so important, in fact, that a Stanford University study concluded that 75% of people judge the credibility of a company based its website. Every time I quote this statistic it just blows me away. Credibility. Wow. If you are a small business owner, people now judge your entire life’s work based on the design and content of your website. Think about that next time you look at your website traffic and bounce rates. Google gets the horses to water, but your site and its content must get them to drink.
If you don’t get SEO and your website right, many of your referral leads, trade show leads, and advertising leads bounce right into the arms of the competition.
Outbound marketing and advertising create demand. Inbound marketing and SEO capture demand as it filters back through the Internet.
“I Never Click On The Paid Ads”
Virtually every business owner we talk to claims that they do not click on Google Ads. That may be true for most of us. Depending on who you believe, AdWords pay-per-click ads get anywhere from 5% to 30% or more of all Google search clicks. Yet, Google makes most of its money from the AdWords platform. The point is that just by siphoning off a small percentage organic clicks in into paid AdWords clicks, this company has been able to grow into the world’s most valuable company. In my opinion, this fact alone underscores how important organic search has become for modern marketing.
But What About B2B?
Many B2B companies ignore SEO and Google because they think their customers buy at trade shows or via other old-school channels. Yet, this recent study of 3,000 B2B buyers by Millward Brown Agency shows how influential search has become in the B2B purchase process:
- 89% of B2B researchers use the Internet during the B2B research process
- 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search engine search
- 42% of B2B researchers use a mobile device during the B2B purchasing process
- 46% of B2B researchers are millennials
That last statistic is really important. At my agency, we have seen first-hand how the C-suite is assigning millennial staff to search the Internet for potential vendors in order to develop short lists for in-person meetings.
This younger generation of digital gatekeepers does not have the experience to know who the players are in your space – they depend on Google to serve up the “best” companies. If your website is up to date and professional, your online reputation is strong, and your content conveys authority, you get on the list. It’s that simple.
SEO For Growth
Referral marketing may be one of the best tactics on the planet – and one every small business needs to master – but it’s impossible to scale a business on referral marketing alone. One the other hand, if you seriously want to grow your business, you cannot avoid Google.
The good news is that everything you should be doing to establish a strong digital presence also helps your SEO rankings. Many of the Google ranking factors that count the most are things you should be doing for your business anyway. Social media, blogging, and reputation management are all elements of SEO that also carry additional marketing and advertising value.
SEO is no longer about writing a check to someone to “do SEO” on your site. As a business owner or marketer, you should develop an SEO frame-of-mind. Your website is an investment, not a digital brochure. The more you view your website as your marketing hub and as a content publishing platform, the better it will rank on the search engines.
Phil Singleton is a self-described ‘SEO grunt’ obsessed with tweaking websites for search engine optimization and conversions, and creating WordPress SEO & PPC plugins. He owns & operates Kansas City Web Design®, a Kansas City inbound marketing agency, and Kansas City SEO®. Phil is co-author author of the Amazon best-seller The Small Business Owner’s Guide To Local Lead Generation (2015), and author of the Amazon best-selling Kindle eBook How To Hire A Web Designer: And Not Get Burned By Another Agency (2015). Visit his websites at http://kcwebdesigner.com and http://kcseopro.com, or connect with Phil Singleton on LinkedIn.
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