Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.
Increasing your visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) is a worthwhile payoff. Many people use major search engines like Google and Bing to discover new brands. According to findings from SEO analytics software Moz, “66% of distinct search queries resulted in one or more clicks on Google’s results.”
Ultimately, SEO is one of the single-best marketing channels for optimizing return on investment (ROI). The data speaks for itself: According to Statista, SEO has been the most profitable form of marketing in the past four years — even topping content and email marketing.
This is why brands should prioritize SEO in their marketing efforts. Likewise, brands with in-house marketing teams of their own should be actively implementing marketing channels related to SEO. Before we jump into the specifics, it’s important to first understand what SEO stands for.
What is SEO?
SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is the process of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to a website through organic search engine results. SEO encompasses the relationship between a brand and major search engines. Essentially, brands develop a rapport with prominent search engines to establish their credibility as an authoritative source for information, especially as it relates to their industry.
There are effective, proven and practical steps to increasing visibility in major search engines. In fact, many of those steps are free of charge and fairly simple, even for beginners. Why is it so crucial, though? Here are three reasons you should pay attention to SEO for brand marketing.
1. SEO increases visibility in search engines and boosts consumer awareness.
Investing time into SEO strategies — no matter how basic or advanced — gives a web presence to your brand that is within your control. If your brand is new to SEO, it’s a good idea to link your URL with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. From here, you can get your feet wet and familiarize yourself with SEO data related to your website. These programs help you learn which specific keywords and phrases people type or speak into a search engine to find your brand’s website.
Additionally, while many people searching for brands may already be existing customers, SEO increases visibility for new and prospective customers. A brand’s search engine visibility can be optimized based on location. For example, a dispensary brand based in Atlanta can be optimized to show up in results for “Atlanta dispensary.”
Although many experts would claim that SEO marketing can be done without media awareness, I fundamentally disagree as an expert on both SEO and public relations (PR). When you develop relationships with reputable journalists who write for credible news outlets, their reporting can — and does — show up in search results. These results are organic, meaning any interviews or quotes can help boost your brand’s rankings in searches. While boosting your search results of course helps you reach more potential customers, having credible news coverage puts you on everyone’s radar, including other journalists who could write about you in the future or even investors looking to fund new projects.
2. SEO is easy to implement.
Even if you’ve never done anything with SEO marketing for your brand, it’s fairly simple to get started. Even a little effort can be worthwhile.
Rather than hoping search engines will work in your favor naturally, brands can take simple steps to ensure visibility. Even if a brand is already notable and gaining traction on search engines without a planned, coherent strategy, these tips will still help. Here are a few practical steps.
2. Conduct simple beginner keyword research.
3. Add a “press” page on your website.
4. Sync all of your social media to your website so it’s in one place.
5. Add meta tags.
Beyond the fundamentals, I’d recommend brand leaders consider collaborating with an established marketing firm to develop a long-term, data-driven SEO strategy.
3. SEO is extraordinarily cost-effective.
You don’t have to pay to be listed on major search engines. Google, for instance, crawls — or scans and reads — listed websites multiple times a day for new and credible information to include and reflect in its results pages.
This is why SEO is a free form of marketing compared to paid advertisements in magazines, on billboards and beyond. Although specialty SEO software can be expensive, the basics are completely free. Plus, because of the low overhead costs, hiring an SEO marketing team will typically be less expensive than traditional print media — or even social media marketing campaigns — on average.
Do the SEO basics, reap the search engine rewards.
Implementing SEO into your brand’s marketing is fairly simple. To do the basics, you don’t need to be an expert. Any marketing professional can learn from scratch and gain some knowledge even in a short amount of time by putting free training and resources to use.
However, keep in mind that since search engines are constantly changing their algorithms, marketing teams need to be frequently monitoring the latest trends, tips, tricks, data and more as it relates to SEO. Brands without the capacity to take on SEO marketing internally should consider partnering with an experienced SEO firm to do so on their behalf. In the meantime, get optimizing.