Still on the fence about hiring an SEO agency?
It’s understandable. You’ve probably got everyone and their mother on Twitter and LinkedIn trying to sell you on the idea of SEO. Everyone’s doing it and you should too… apparently.
But why? It can be hard to take a concept as specific and often impenetrable as SEO and see how it directly benefits your business.
That’s what we’re here for. We’re here to break down 16 direct and undeniable SEO benefits - because when it works, it really works.
SEO helps you attract qualified leads
The beauty of SEO is that it’s not about going “out there” - wherever “there” is - to find traffic and customers; casting a wide net and hoping to pull in the right catch. No - it’s about bringing traffic and customers directly to your digital front door by finding out exactly what products and information they’re already looking for and serving them up on a platter.
This means that the people who end up on your website are on the hunt for a business just like yours, they just haven't found you yet. The only thing you then have to do is prove to them that you’re a trustworthy authority on that topic with high-quality content.
Hiring an SEO agency boosts brand awareness
One of the central tenets of SEO is link-building (as any good link building agency), which involves getting a third-party website to link back to your own in a piece of content. These links, also known as backlinks, are one of the critical ranking factors used by search engines to judge whether or not your website is worthy of being pushed to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). The more high-quality backlinks you have, the better.
Digital PR is one of our favourite ways of earning backlinks for our clients. With a digital PR agency, you produce a unique data set with an eye-catching angle and mail it out to relevant publications, who then write a feature on it.
The upshot of all this is that your brand gets featured in regional, national and sometimes international outlets, as well as earning you a decent natural backlink. This boosts both brand awareness and brand credibility, making you more of a thought leader in your industry.
SEO targets the entire marketing funnel
It’s not unusual for people to think of SEO as a fairly cut-and-dry practice. Find some keywords, write some content, win some backlinks and hope for the best, right? Wrong.
The very best SEOs are content marketers as well as technical whiz-kids. We apply a humanistic sales mindset to search engines, identifying queries at every stage of the traditional marketing funnel - awareness, consideration and decision - and creating content to guide a target user through these stages, maximising the potential of your website.
SEO improves website user experience
If your website isn’t user-friendly, it isn’t optimised. Although many people - including some unfortunately under-informed SEOs - perceive Google’s algorithms as a futuristic mystery machine with incomprehensible and unpredictable thinking patterns, Googlebot is actually designed to mirror the experience of human beings using search engines.
Search engine crawlers or ‘spiders’ - the technology that reads your website and collects information for search engines to index - rely heavily on being able to navigate your website’s structure. Is all your content in its logical place? Is everything properly categorised? Are all your pages internally linked? Is your website menu easy to use?
These are the same elements that improve UX for a human user and should be a top priority of any quality SEO agency you work with.
Reap long-term rewards that multiply
A well-planned SEO campaign has ripple effects well beyond simply getting your content to rank.
Let’s set the scene: You’re a few months into working with an SEO agency: all your technical aspects are running smoothly, your on-site content is optimised and you’re churning out a steady volume of blog content. You decide to run your first digital PR campaign.
It’s a pretty moderate success at first, winning you a couple of high-value links in regional news outlets. Then, the articles you’re featured in start getting shared across social, amplifying your brand awareness. More and more people start to link to your data, which improves your backlink profile. You start seeing marked increases in rankings and traffic. Soon, your revenue starts hiking and, satisfied with the results, you decide to repeat this cycle - because why wouldn’t you?!
This is one of many reasons why reputable SEO agencies never make time-sensitive promises like “you’ll be on the front page of SERPs within two weeks!”. The most profitable rewards of SEO campaigns are the long-term ones that pay off several times over.
Compete with top brands in your niche
Every business has competitors, and there are only so many spaces available at the top.
Suppose you’re in a crowded space, or you’re attempting to win business from more established competitors. In that case, there is one simple reason you need an SEO agency: because the other companies have them.
The websites that land in the top five positions on SERPs - where most of the traffic goes - don’t get there by sheer dumb luck. They have teams of specialists working day-in, day-out behind the scenes to get them there. If you have any intention of going toe-to-toe with them, you need to do the same.
Lower marketing costs
When it’s time to cut costs, marketing is often the first thing to get slashed. Often, it’s the only thing businesses can afford to cut. This was painfully evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, when marketing budgets plummeted from 11.2% of revenue in 2018 to just 6.4% in 2021, and have only just started to recover.
Notably, despite the overall decrease in marketing spend, both demand and expenditure on SEO and digital increased. This is because, despite an ill-earned reputation for being expensive, SEO is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies out there, capable of reducing your cost of acquisition by as much as 87.41%.
Due to its relatively low cost compared to other approaches and laser-focused, data-led customer targeting, SEO has been dubbed the highest-value inbound marketing strategy in the post-pandemic ‘New Normal’.
When done correctly, it can help B2B businesses generate twice as much revenue from search compared to any other channel and yield up to 12.2x of your marketing spend. These figures are only set to increase as more and more business shifts online: pre-New Normal, Nasdaq predicted that 95% of purchases will happen online by 2040.
SEO should be data-driven at every stage of the process: from creating results to measuring them and then using these metrics to create more results.
Content planning decisions are made using data taken directly from search engines and the most sophisticated SEO analytics tools, which makes it possible to set realistic and achievable targets and track progress in real-time. Reputable agencies typically use a variety of metrics, including rankings, traffic and average session time to track your customer’s journey across the site, identify your exact problem areas and figure out how much of your revenue increases are directly attributable to SEO.
This makes it very easy to build and continually justify the business case for hiring an SEO agency.
Drive footfall to brick-and-mortar locations
Let us ask you a question: a friend wants to meet you for a coffee, but you can’t think of one that’s conveniently located for both of you. What do you do? You search for one. Let’s say that after the coffee, you decide to check out a bookstore, but you don’t know the way. How do you get there? You look it up.
SEO quite literally puts local businesses on the map. So much of our daily lives are driven by search and, regardless of what your opinion on that is, it has a direct effect on your business. According to Google, 76% of mobile searches lead to an in-store visit within one day. If your business is not at the top of the pile for those searches, you are losing business to local competitors.
Have a team of experts at your disposal
There is sometimes a temptation, especially with the amount of conflicting advice out there, to attempt to DIY your website SEO. Please don’t do this. We’re begging you.
Why spend countless additional hours on top of the work you’re already doing to try and master a complex and highly technical discipline that is best done by a team of people who do this for a living to compete with the agencies hired by big-name brands, when you can just hire your own team to do it for you?
Hiring an SEO agency gives you access to the combined knowledge of technical experts with programming and web development knowledge, professional content marketers and copywriters and digital PR specialists all in one.
SEO has positive ripple effects across every area of marketing
SEO does not exist in a vacuum. Strategies are at their most effective when all of your online channels and assets are optimised and coordinated, including:
Your social media
SEO strategies are built around a strong website, which is the heart of the business or, in some cases, the business itself. It makes sense, then, that your SEO agency’s work would reverberate across all areas of your online presence. A great website requires great branding; strong copy requires a strong proposition and tone of voice; engaging social media requires engaging content, and so forth…
Agencies have all the insider knowledge
The SEO industry community is the ultimate learning hub. The details of Google’s algorithms are kept hush-hush, so SEO companies often have to leverage their greatest resource: each other.
Platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn allow us to not only pour over one another’s research, analyse spikes and dips in each other’s traffic and find out about the latest paradigm-shifting updates, but interact with Google’s Search Advocates to get direct answers to our questions.
SEOs are also clued into all the latest trends and changes in search via podcasts, industry publications like Search Engine Journal, newsletters produced by other agencies and much, much more. Being immersed in this every day means that agencies and their employees are at the frontier of all things search.
Get to know your customers better
Maybe it’s true what they say: you never really know someone until you’ve seen their Google search history.
Applying that to your relationship with your target audience, it’s amazing what you can discover about your customer base with a simple keyword list. With keyword research, SEOs can paint a picture of your target audience by giving you exact data, in their own words, of their pain points and knowledge gaps.
You can use this information not only to target them across the funnel, but to build customer personas and generally improve the targeting of your proposition.
Discover new opportunities
What if there was something that your target user desperately wanted to know or be provided, and you could get a jumpstart on the competition by delivering the goods?
This is by no means a requirement, but it’s not unheard of that a specific search query - or rather, a specific customer need - will pop up in the data that falls outside your current proposition, but within your potential remit; something that makes you go: “huh… that’s not a bad idea actually”.
By searching for the products, information and services they really want, your customers are unwittingly giving you new ideas for your business.