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Whether you’re an in-house marketer or a business owner, SEO is important for businesses as a demand generation and digital marketing tool. At a base level, search engines help people find what they’re looking for online — be it restaurants in the area, job postings, or a software tool for work. 

Since search engines are often the starting point for people who are looking for information, businesses can (and should) leverage it to direct traffic to their websites and increase demand for their products. 

In this article, you’ll learn what SEO is, how it works, how it can improve demand generation and organic traffic growth, and how you can implement SEO into your digital growth strategy.  

What Is SEO & Why Is It So Powerful?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving your website’s content relevance, backlink profile, and technical configuration so that search engine algorithms are able to crawl, index, and rank it for the appropriate search terms in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

As of April 2023, Google accounted for 93.63% of the search traffic share, with 5.18 billion people using it in different capacities. This alone shows how powerful Google is as a piece of technology. If you don’t orient your website so that Google’s algorithms can find and rank it, you’re closing off your website to everyone who uses the internet — including prospective customers. 

The only way for Google to rank your site is through SEO. With SEO, the goal is to rank on the first page of Google SERPs for terms that your target audience searches to find products like yours. When you optimize your website for those terms, show how trustworthy your site is (we’ll get to that), and create the best user experience for your visitors, your visibility in search engines will grow. This increases the chances of people finding and clicking on your site, which then causes prospective customers to become paying customers/clients. 

How Does SEO Work?

SEO, for the most part, is about fulfilling search intent. Sure, there are things like keywords, backlinks, and page speed, which are integral parts of optimizing your website for search engines. But fulfilling search intent should be the first item on your SEO itinerary. This simply means creating content and configuring your website in a way that your visitors will appreciate. 

Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. If you were a prospective customer, what would you want your experience to be when you visit the website of a company you want to patronize? 

Chances are, when people visit your website, they want it to: 

  • Load quickly 
  • Look visually appealing and be easily navigable 
  • Contain important information about your product, including what it is, how it can help them, its features, the pricing, and how to contact the customer support team to make inquiries. Some might also want to find blog content that is relevant and valuable to them.

These three points cover most, if not all, of the pillars of SEO: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. 

  1. On-page SEO

This is the process of optimizing the structure and quality of the content of your website. It includes finding relevant keywords and adding them naturally within your content, including the title, (sub)headings, content body, image alt texts, meta tags, and URLs. 

A good on-page SEO strategy ensures that search engine algorithms are able to: 

  • Correctly decipher what each web page is about
  • Identify a webpage that’s related to a search query
  • Find a page that is optimized to rank well on the SERPs

You can optimize your web/blog content through content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Shopify, and Wix. 

  1. Off-page SEO 

As the name implies, off-page SEO refers to actions you take outside the website to improve your SERP rankings. One of these actions is building a strong backlink profile. 

As a business, Google wants to be sure that your business is trustworthy before algorithms rank your content. The algorithms are able to gauge how trustworthy your site is by the number of high-quality websites that link back to pages on your website (backlinks). So when reputable websites link to your site, it demonstrates your credibility.   

Building a solid backlink profile, however, isn’t all there is to off-page SEO. You’ll also have to create brand assets, improve branded searches, and invest in social media marketing — all of which enhance brand awareness, increase recognition, and demonstrate your authority. 

  1. Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the process of improving the technical aspects of your website to make it easier for search engine algorithms to crawl, index, and rank. This involves increasing your website load speed, submitting your sitemap to Google, making your website mobile-responsive, fixing duplicate content, and creating an SEO-friendly website structure.

The Impact Of SEO: How Does SEO Improve Demand Generation & Organic Traffic Growth?

Below are four ways SEO can improve demand generation and organic traffic growth for your business: 

  1. It’s the topmost source of organic traffic 

While you can get organic traffic from other marketing channels like social media and email, Google (and search engines, in general) are the topmost source of organic traffic. 

When your website appears at the top of the SERPs for relevant keywords and search queries, it’ll attract more clicks from people who are actively searching for products, services, or information that your business offers. According to Backlinko, the #1 result in Google SERPs has an average clickthrough rate (CTR) of 27.6% — and the #1 organic result is 10X more likely to get a click compared to a page in the #10 spot. 

If your website’s able to get to position #0 (Featured Snippets), even better! Featured Snippets appear above the #1 article and are a great way to funnel even more traffic to your website. Appearing at the top of the SERPs increases your visibility, which makes it easier for potential customers to find you

  1. It builds trust and credibility 

If you use SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or SE Ranking, do a basic search of websites that routinely rank in positions #1 through #5 on the SERPs in their niche (ahrefs.com and semrush.com are two of those sites). 

One thing they all have in common is a solid backlink profile with hundreds, if not thousands, of backlinks from reputable websites. If you visit their blogs, you’ll also notice that they’ve built a great internal linking moat that improves navigation and demonstrates industry expertise. 

When done right, building a high-quality backlink profile and internal link moat shows visitors that your business is credible and trustworthy. Establishing your brand this way, however, takes commitment, effort, and patience. You’ll also need to follow Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines judiciously and offer a high-quality product or service that speaks for itself. 

  1. It creates a better user experience 

An important part of SEO is optimizing a website’s appearance, content, and behavior to provide a better experience for visitors. 

People are more likely to visit (and stay on) your website if it loads quickly and is accessible on major devices like smartphones, iPads, laptops, and desktop computers. In addition to fast load speed and mobile responsiveness, people also appreciate a website that’s easily navigable, has a lot of whitespace, and uses legible and easy-to-read fonts.  

Providing a better user experience can help businesses reduce bounce rates, increase engagement, and boost conversions. 

  1. It gives your business a competitive advantage

In today’s digital landscape, businesses have to do everything they can to be steps ahead of their competitors. Optimizing your website for search engines gives you a fighting chance against your competitors who are already ranking for keywords and search queries that you want to rank for. 

For example, if you search for “raci chart for project management”, here’s what the SERPs would look like: 

Notice how ClickUp, TeamGantt, Asana, and Project Manager are all ranking for this search query. These four companies are one another’s competitors, but ClickUp’s good SEO puts it high up in the SERPs (position #2) and gives it greater visibility than the other three websites. 

A great SEO strategy can help your business rank higher than your competitors on the SERPs, which improves your visibility, boosts your organic traffic, and increases your conversions.

SEO vs. Other Demand Gen & Traffic Growth Strategies

SEO isn’t the only demand generation and traffic growth channel there is. Businesses can also use other channels, such as paid advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, and influencer marketing to increase their website traffic, generate demand, and boost conversions. 

Below is a comparison table demonstrating how SEO stacks up against these other digital marketing channels. 

SEOPaid advertisingSocial media marketing Email marketingInfluencer marketing 
DefinitionOptimizing content and website for search engine visibility and ranking.Paying to display ads on search engines (usually Google), social media, and other websites.Using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest TikTok, and YouTube to promote content, engage with your target audience, and drive traffic.Sending targeted emails to a list of subscribers (who also double as potential customers).Collaborating with influencers, experts, and/or thought leaders in your niche to promote your products or services to their followers.
CostGenerally free, but you may need to invest in keyword research tools and content creation.There are two models for paid ads: pay-per-click (PPC) and cost-per-impression (CPM). The actual costs depend on your budget and the scale of your paid ad campaign.Organic social media marketing is free, but most social media platforms offer paid advertising options. You’ll need to pay for email marketing software and potentially content creation. Some influencers ask to be paid monetarily for their services, while others may demand free access to your products/services. 
Visibility and impactIt takes time to see significant results with SEO. It’s a long-term investment with compounding benefits.Immediate results once the ads start running. But the level of visibility you get depends on how much money you’re willing to invest. Visibility is low at the start, but with time, it increases as you garner a solid following. Long-term growth requires consistent effort.  Visibility depends on how many subscribers you have on your list. But email marketing has an immediate impact, which is great for time-sensitive promotions.Visibility can be quick depending on the reach of your chosen influencer, but long-term impact may require sustained efforts. 
Credibility and trustCredibility and level of trustworthiness will be high if you’re able to rank high on the SERPs. Some people see ads as sketchy because of their paid nature. So the level of trustworthiness with this channel will rely on your ad quality and relevance.If your social media content is authentic, engaging, and relevant, your followers will trust you.If the emails are personalized, well-written, relevant, and valuable, your email subscribers will trust you.Level of credibility and trustworthiness depends on the authenticity and reputation of the influencer you choose.
Measurability and analyticsTrackable with tools like Google Analytics. The metrics include organic traffic, bounce rate, and rankings.Measurable with tools like Google Ads and analytics tools that come with social media platforms. The metrics include CPC, CTR, and conversions.Measurable through platform analytics. The metrics include engagement rate, follower count, reach, and conversions. Measurable with email marketing platforms. The metrics include open rates, CTR, and conversions.Trackable through influencer marketing platforms and custom URLs. The metrics include reach, engagement rate, and conversions. 

How To Implement SEO Into Your Digital Growth Strategy

If you’re wondering how to implement SEO into your business’s digital strategy, here are a few actionable tips to follow:

  1. Create high-quality content

If you’re looking to optimize your website for search engines, creating great content should be at the top of your list, especially as Google’s search rater guidelines stipulate high-quality content as a top ranking factor. 

According to Google, high-quality content exhibits E-E-A-T, which stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. In other words, each piece of content should demonstrate just how much knowledge you have about the subject matter and why people should trust the information you provide over anyone else. 

Not only does this establish you as an authority in your industry, but it also makes for authentic, engaging, and relevant content that both your visitors and Google’s algorithms will appreciate. 

  1. Do keyword research

A fundamental part of SEO is ranking for relevant keywords and search queries. To increase your chances of ranking well, use keyword tools like Google Keyword Planner, Wordstream, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to do some research into the industry-related keywords you’re most likely to rank for. You can also use tools like Rank Math and Yoast SEO to optimize your title tags, (sub)headings, images, meta descriptions, and URLs with your keywords.  

Note: Keyword research doesn’t only apply to blog content. You should also do keyword research for your landing pages and paid advertisements.  

  1. Analyze your competition

When you find great keywords you want to optimize your content for, don’t immediately start creating content. Instead, analyze your competitors’ content first, especially if they already have content ranking for the keywords you’re optimizing for. 

Study the content they publish, their website structure, the categories they have, and their website authority to get an idea of what Google favors. The goal isn’t to do exactly what your competitors do. It’s to beat them by improving upon what they do right and turning their weaknesses into your strengths. 

  1. Build your backlink profile

After implementing the best on-page SEO practices, focus on building your backlink profile (off-page SEO). Getting other reputable websites to link back to your site goes a long way in proving your authority and credibility to both Google’s algorithms and your prospective customers. 

A great way to build your backlink profile is to publish guest posts on reputable websites in your industry/niche. Other ways include social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing (creating linkable assets like infographics, long-form guides, eBooks, and data-driven studies).

  1. Do local SEO

If you’re a business with a brick-and-mortar store/office, chances are you want to be found online by prospective customers near you. You can do this by optimizing your business for local searches. This involves including your neighborhood, city, and/or state in title tags, H1 headings, meta descriptions, and URLs. 

You can also improve local engagement by optimizing your business’s Knowledge Graph panel, Google My Business listing, and your social media profiles. Also ask your existing customers to leave reviews and testimonials on your Google profile, as well as other review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Home Advisor (depending on your industry). 

Invest in an SEO strategy for your business 

Creating and executing an SEO growth strategy is one of the most effective ways of growing organic traffic and generating demand for your products and/or services. 

This is because good SEO requires you to create high-quality content, improve your site’s appearance, build a powerful backlink profile and internal link moat, and improve your page speed — all of which helps Google’s algorithm rank your site higher in the SERPs, which will boost its visibility and increase the chance of people visiting your site and paying for your products/services. 

If you’re looking for a way to convert traffic into customers on autopilot, check out Demand Playbook. Demand Playbook is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that leverages next-generation automation and AI to help you retain your customers and make them lifelong fans of your brand. With AI-powered marketing strategies, automatic scaling campaign tools, and adaptive testing and reporting tools, Demand Playbook can help you retain your customers and grow your business. 

Try Demand Playbook today.

Bernard Aguila

Bernard Aguila is a brand ambassador and SEO Outreach Specialist at Omniscient Digital, a premium content marketing & SEO agency.