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Guest Blog: Why SEO is more important than ever

28 September 2020 by Guest

This guest post was authored by Mark Blackhurst, Co-Founder of Digital Next.

Mark Blackhurst New

Mark Blackhurst, co-founder of Digital Next

Businesses across the globe are slowly coming to terms with the ‘new normal’ and keen to make sure they take their first steps into a post-pandemic world with their best foot forward. And while you’d be forgiven for thinking that SEO might have fallen off the priority agenda, you’d be mistaken. Search engine optimisation is more important than ever for brands vying to succeed in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.  

So, why is now the time to invest in SEO and what benefits will it bring? 

1. Everyone is now online

Remember spending your weekend afternoons at the shopping centre or your local high street? Those days remain on pause for the cautious shopper, which explains why so many more people are now shopping online. While in-store shopping remains 10% down at the time of writing, online sales remain up by almost 50% compared to pre-pandemic levels 

Amazon boomed during lockdown, but so did thousands of smaller, independent businesses with the ability to offer eCommerce, or to align themselves with platforms that offered it for them – such as local delivery services. Consumers are also looking online for guidance and information from brands that might be relevant to them. The appetite to buy products and consume services, such as media, online is at an all-time-high. As more businesses expand their online offerings, competition for SEO rankings and organic search is becoming fiercer than ever. For those who take the time to optimise their site now, the revenue will be reaped later. 

2. Search channel share is rising

Search engines are still an extremely viable method of gaining business. Industry research suggests that, across all search, around 85% is organic traffic and just 15% comes from paid sources. While many brands rely on paid or social search, they often overlook the power of organic search. It’s important to not neglect working on improving your offering to gain business naturally. Search engines reward those who build their site properly, building trust and ultimately appearing more prominently in the rankings. If you’re not sure where to start, try Google’s Webmaster guidelines for guidance on how to take a methodical approach and for advice on what to look for in an SEO partner agency.  

Paid search can be costly if not perfectly built and framed. It may be time for realignment of your priorities. Assess your paid and organic digital marketing strategies to drive qualified traffic to your best content for those all-important conversions.

3. SEO offers powerful, longterm results

Yes, SEO takes time and resources, but the results persist over time – sometimes for years. And while other businesses are taking stock or pausing in their marketing activities, smart brands are looking at how they can create relevant, value-adding fresh content and optimise existing content for the best search gains. Get in early, and you’ll build real search equity. 

4. SEO offers UX gains

As you optimise your content and website for better SEO, you’ll naturally improve the overall user experience (UX), so that your digital assets are easier to navigate and better organised. This comes through taking care of admin such as adding proper markups, tags, meta descriptions, structures, keywords and other content optimisation techniques.  

Look at your site from the perspective of your target customer. Can you make it easier, better and more relevant to them? Remove those broken links, add missing images, optimise internal links, strengthen your CTAs and carry out other essential housekeeping for excellent long-term gains. 

5. Be fresh, relevant and a guide during a tough time

New content makes you relevant. Quality content makes you valuable from a human and searchbot perspective alike. And customers are looking for guidance in challenging and unclear times. Brands which invest in their search strategies at this time can earn benefits on all fronts – from building a fresh, clear and relevant brand reputation in their target market, to guiding prospects through to conversion points, with a wealth of relationship and engagementbuilding benefits along the way.

6. Hit the ground running

If you invest in SEO now, your online business will be primed and optimised to benefit the most as the economy begins to recover. Rather than waiting to see what happens next, do this essential work now so that you can grow, pivot, launch new products, reposition – whatever it is you need to succeed, grow and thrive in the post-Covid-19 world. 

Digital Next is a search expert and a Google Premier partner with offices in Manchester and Melbourne.  

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