Just as customers are the lifeblood of any brick-and-mortar business, so too are visitors crucial to the success of any online business. Online businesses that fail to pull in the numbers in terms of hits are at risk of losing out to the competition, and this is in fact what has caused the demise of many online businesses catering to the Seattle market.
But how do you, as an owner of an online business, attract visitors to your site, and more importantly, how do you convert all of those hits into sales? The answer lies in an often-used set of techniques collectively known as SEO or search engine optimization.
The main goal of SEO is to get a specific website (let's take a Seattle online business as an example) a sufficiently high ranking on the search engine results pages of the major search engines, thereby increasing the chances that it’s link will be clicked on by a greater number of web searchers. Call it human nature, but a web searcher looking for "Seattle-based gardeners" for instance, will be more likely to click on a site link if it is near the top of the search engine results page. And this is precisely what SEO can do for your site: get it as high up as possible on the search engine results pages of Google and the other major search engines.
Without a properly implemented SEO campaign, the chances of your website appearing on the top of the page are cut down drastically. In fact, depending on your niche, your online business may not appear on the first page at all. This can severely affect your website's chances of being found by a potential visitor obviously, since most will simply go for one of the first few sites that are called up by a search.
While the benefits of SEO in terms of drawing traffic are indeed significant, the type of traffic that SEO does attract is just as important. Visitor count is one thing, but how many of the hits to your website can you realistically expect to convert into sales? If you rely on less efficient methods for your marketing, the figure is likely to be a lot lower than that you can get with a properly implemented SEO campaign. This is because SEO aims to attract targeted traffic to your site.
Targeted traffic simply refers to web searchers that are already actively seeking out products and/or services such as the ones you offer. If you have an online business that offers pet supplies, your targeted traffic would be comprised of web searchers that type in "pet stores" and then your specific location, or similar terms into the search engines.
Why is targeted traffic so important? Unlike other visitors to your site that may have inadvertently ended up on your site via other marketing methods (such as spamming for instance), targeted traffic is comprised of people who are already one step closer to being sold on your products and/or services. You no longer have to convince them that they need what you are selling; you only have to convince them that your products and/or services are better than the competition’s. What this means is that SEO allows you to make your pitch to what is essentially a captive audience. Regardless of whether or not you make the sale depends on your products and/or services of course, but SEO definitely goes a long way in helping you reach out to customers that are more likely to buy.
The benefits of SEO in terns of drawing traffic are in fact substantiated by numbers. A survey recently conducted by research group Info Tech showed that out companies that invested more time and effort into their SEO registered after traffic growth rates in a shorter period than companies that focused on SEO to a lesser degree. Another survey by the same firm showed that SEO also improved website's stickiness, or its ability to retain visitors for a longer time. Again this could possibly be attributed to the ability of SEO to attract visitors who are eager to learn more about the particular site they are visiting, since they are of the targeted traffic variety.
The many benefits of SEO can no longer be discounted in this day and age. If you are looking for a way to increase the traffic to your site, and you want to ensure that most of it is targeted traffic, SEO may just provide the best means to that end.
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