The Unparalleled Advantage SEO Brings To A Marketing Strategy

Kaushal has been helping companies create growth via digital marketing & eCommerce since 2001. He is a columnist at Your Story, Entrepreneur, and several other publications.

The start of a financial year is a period of reflection for marketers. With businesses now gearing up for a digital-first approach the Indian marketing landscape is leaning towards increased Ad spends on Digital in 2023. According to GroupM’s “This Year Next Year” report, INDIA AD SPEND IS EXTENDED TO GROW AT 15.5 percent IN 2023 of which, 56 percent of ad spends is estimated to be on digital in 2023.

Making it evident that brands will invest on digital touch points where their target audiences are most active.

Even if that means pumping higher marketing budgets to drive higher conversions.
While the ad marketing budgets have increased, the ROI delivered by ads over the long run diminishes. A recent study by SEM Rush showed that out of the 100 percent clicks that happen on Google, Organic search commands over 45 percent of CTR as compared to 1.8 percent CTR on Desktop.(Image On Mobile. (Image shared below)

This behavioral study shows a large number of users prefer to interact with organic search results instead of paid results for both desktop and mobile devices.

Today, successful marketers are prioritizing touchpoints where their audiences are most engaged, and one of the most effective touchpoints is search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO has become the need of the hour for businesses of all sizes and industries.

It is not just about ranking higher on search engine results pages (SERPs), but about understanding and engaging with consumers in a meaningful way throughout their entire buyer's journey. SEO is much more than just keywords and meta tags it is about creating a comprehensive digital presence that aligns with the behavior and preferences of your target audience.

This makes SEO a valuable market research tool to study user behavior, preferences and predict trends that can help better align the overall marketing strategies, such as content creation, product development, and audience targeting. By understanding the needs and preferences of their target audience, marketers can create more relevant and impactful marketing campaigns.

In today's competitive digital landscape, businesses cannot afford to ignore the power of SEO. It is a cost effective and sustainable marketing strategy that can drive higher returns when implemented correctly. By investing in the right touchpoints where their audiences are most active, marketers can unlock the full potential of SEO and gain a competitive advantage in the market.

Investing in the right SEO practices or hiring the right SEO partner can yield significant returns for marketers. SEO is a long-term investment that builds credibility, authority, and visibility for a brand. When done right, it can result in higher organic traffic, better user experience, increased conversions, and ultimately, improved ROI.

"By creating high-quality, informative content that addresses the needs and concerns of their target audience, businesses can establish themselves as experts in their field"

One of the key reasons why SEO should be at the center of an omnichannel marketing approach is that consumers rely heavily on search engines to discover products, services, and information. According to recent study by Bright edge, 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine and 53.3 percent of all website traffic comes from organic search.

60 percent of marketers say that inbound (SEO, blog content, etc.) is their highest quality source of leads.(Hubspot)

75 percent of users never scroll past the first page of search results. This means that if your brand is not visible on the first page of SERPs, you are missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with your target audience.

Furthermore, SEO complements other marketing channels such as social media, content marketing, and paid advertising. By leveraging SEO in tandem with other marketing efforts, businesses can create a synergistic effect that amplifies their overall marketing impact. SEO can help drive traffic to high-quality content, while social media can help amplify that content to a wider audience. Together, these channels can work harmoniously to build brand awareness, increase engagement, and drive conversions.

Investing in the right SEO practices or hiring the right SEO partner can yield significant returns for marketers

SEO during Recessionary Periods
Recessionary periods can be challenging for many businesses, as many consumers tighten their spending habits. However, SEO can help businesses weather these periods by increasing their online visibility and attracting new customers. This means that businesses that invest in SEO can gain a significant advantage over their competitors who do not.

During a recession, many businesses cut back on advertising and marketing expenses. However, SEO can be a cost-effective way to maintain visibility and attract new customers. While it may take some time to see results, SEO is an investment in a business's longterm success.

SEO for Scaling and Sustaining Businesses
SEO is also vital for businesses looking to scale and sustain their operations. As businesses grow, they often face increased competition, making it more challenging to stand out online. SEO can help businesses maintain their visibility and attract new customers, even as their competition grows.

Additionally, SEO can help businesses establish themselves as industry leaders by providing valuable information to potential customers. By creating high-quality, informative content that addresses the needs and concerns of their target audience, businesses can establish themselves as experts in their field.

Survey conducted with over 138 top CMOs and CXOs of India to create India's SEO Playbook for marketers by marketers.

Here are a few insights that might help you better align your marketing efforts with a strong SEO approach.

Metrics for measuring SEO success as per the survey are Organic Traffic, Domain authority score, Website visibility on SERP, Bounce rate and average session duration, Page and targeted keyword rankings, Average time spent, Number of pages indexed

As per the survey the leaders of the organization track Google search engine updates on a weekly basis. They monitor SERP volatility and adhere to the latest algorithm changes to ensure their domain authority is maintained. The responses show that Google Search Central, Official Twitter account, and SEO forums are the preferred channels for tracking updates.

SEO Goals for any organization should be Increasing organic traffic, Boosting presence and rankings to increase awareness and appear in search results (for both branded & non-branded terms) to earn more leads, sales, and ultimately revenue, Reducing bounce rates, dependence on paid marketing, and Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC), Strengthening domain authority and increasing active user time spent onpages Improving user and search engine experience with a secondary goal of app installs.

Partnering with an SEO agency and tapping inhouse experts for specific tasks like web development, copy writing, and social media is the general practice. As per the survey, the number of inhouse specialists varies from 1- 6, though larger teams of up to 15 people also exist. We have found that marketing teams in global organizations also have their(central) global team handling SEO responsibilities across geographies.

A planned approach for the marketing leaders is to strategize the content, the strategy involves using scalable topics for content, revising meta tags, and updating onpage content to keep up with advances in the search engine algorithm as per the survey.

The majority of the marketers perform SEO audits on a weekly and monthly basis. And a few on a daily, quarterly, or half- yearly basis. Some best practices for technical SEO include UI/ UX Audit, coverage and core web vitals error resolution, bounce rate reduction suggestions, page speed optimization, website server-related issue fix, indexing, page loading speed, pagination, canonical issue checks, broken links, crawl, JS and CSS errors, and checking SSL certificate.

Research Data on the Importance of SEO
multiple studies have shown the importance of SEO for businesses. Here are a few examples:
According to a study by Bright Edge, organic search is the largest driver of website traffic, accounting for 53 percent of all website traffic.

A study by Search Engine Journal found that 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine, highlighting the importance of SEO in attracting new customers.

Another study by Bright Edge found that the top-ranked result on Google receives 31.7 percent of all clicks, while the second-ranked result receives only 24.7 percent of clicks.

SEO is an essential component of any successful online marketing strategy. While it may take time and effort to achieve results, SEO provides sustained traffic to a website and can be a cost-effective way to attract new customers. During recessionary periods, SEO can help businesses maintain visibility and gain a competitive advantage. For businesses looking to scale and sustain their operations, SEO is crucial for establishing themselves as industry leaders and attracting new customers.