We can all agree that proper SEO can be beneficial for your business, but you might not understand just how beneficial such practices can be for the growth and sustained success of your company. To keep you both informed and entertained, we’ve compiled a list of the best arguments below.

1. SEO has become a necessity, not a luxury.

In the modern business climate, utilizing the Internet correctly is not an added bonus; rather, it’s necessary for the long-term wellbeing of any company.  If you don’t take advantage of the online world to capture new business, chances are your competitors will.  Why would you sit back and let others draw in all your potential customers?  Even if you’re not interested in using Google primarily to drive sales, SEO is still vital because it’s a great way to enhance a company’s comprehensive web presence (for more, see #4).

Your web presence pre-SEO: pale, boring, and lazy.

Your web presence when employing SEO: shiny, dynamic, and in much better shape.

2. It builds trust and credibility.

How often do you ever go beyond the first page of Google?  Rarely, if ever? You’re not alone; most people rarely move past the “Go” to muck around in the “ooooooogle.”  It’s not just because they find what they’re looking for on the first page; people sometimes don’t.  Rather, it’s because people inherently trust results on the first page more.  We know that results that rank highly are probably both relevant to what we need and likely trustworthy businesses (such is our faith in the King of Search Engines).  This is why most people try a different search when they can’t find what they need after the first page or two.  They’d rather try their luck changing the search terms than go on a wild goose chase through the backwoods of later results pages where quality links are few and far between.

Seriously, when was the last time you went to Page 3?

3. It helps ensure a consistently strong message.

Not too long ago, it used to be that you only had to worry about your company’s image on one small plot of digital territory: the company website.  In the modern age of business, however, this no longer cuts it.  In addition to your website, there are all sorts of places where your company’s name can pop up, including (but by no means limited to) Google Places, tons of review sites, directories, social networks, and blogs.  While this can certainly be an opportunity for your company, it can also cause problems for your business’s image if its web presence is not managed correctly.  Poorly filled out directory listings, low social media activity, and bad reviews are just a few examples of this.  An SEO specialist can take care of all of these things for you, finding the various places on the Web where your company shows up and ensuring that the message, wherever it’s found, is characterized by both excellence and consistency.

How did there get to be so many of these anyway?

4. It brings in the right traffic.

Most people understand that SEO helps increase the online visibility of a company, which in turn leads to a greater number of people viewing your site.  While volume undeniably matters, the quality of that volume is also important.  SEO improves the quality of your traffic by targeting the right kinds of consumers, namely, those that are looking for goods or services that your company actually provides.  Websites that bring in more quality customers usually see a corresponding increase in the number of views actually converting into sales.

5. SEO is consistent with the intentions of those searching.

We all know that certain types of advertising, especially on the Internet, can be extremely annoying.  Pop-ups and intrusive banner ads are like online mosquitoes that we have to swat away from time to time.  To make matters worse, the material is usually completely irrelevant to the interests of the person browsing the Web.  Advertisements like these are hardly ever popular with consumers and tend to turn people away from the business in question.

One of the great things about SEO is that it’s a process that’s molded around the desires of the consumer. Instead of pushing your way into the minds of unsuspecting people who just want to leisurely surf the Web, SEO allows companies to welcome in people that already want their services in the first place.  You’re not trying to sell ice to an eskimo.  You’re simply making it very easy for the Eskimo (and the other thousands that desperately need an ice salesman) to find you should he or she happen to run out of ice.

No idea what the polar bear is supposed to be doing here…

6. It helps you take advantage of free advertising.

Google is your friend. The King of Search Engines wants to take your business and show it to the whole world (or at least those people that type in certain keywords), but it can’t do this unless you work with it.  If you’re not, at the very least, filling your website and Google+ Places page  with respectable content and doing little things like optimizing titles, meta descriptions, and other media like photos and videos, you are missing out on valuable, free advertising space. Make it easy for search engines to spot you, and you’ll make it easy for your customers as well.

7. ROI can be monitored easily.

Unlike many other marketing initiatives, the return on your investment into SEO is fairly easy to analyze.  You can make use of software like Raventools.com or www.seomoz.org/plans to track all sorts of data, including but not limited to: increases in traffic to your website over any period of time, the sources from which traffic is coming to your site, changes in search results rankings for specific keyword terms, social media activity, and even bounce rate (the percentage of page viewers that leave your site immediately once it loads).   A good SEO specialist can track all of this data for you and update you via weekly reports. This will allow businesses to see definitive results so that they can understand exactly what they’re getting for their investments.

Ah, progress.

8. Even if your business ranks well on results pages, it might not stay there.

In the unlikely case that you’ve managed to luck out and place highly on Google without any significant optimization, you’re still at risk to lose such a prime position in the future.  Google comes up with cutely named (Penguin, Panda, etc.) updates to its algorithm regularly, and sometimes these changes can cause significant ranking decreases for businesses.  SEO companies make it their priority to understand how these differences can affect search results, and they help their clients adapt their websites to the new SEO best practices. No matter if it’s Platypus, Pony, Parakeet, Peacock, or Polliwog, future Google updates can seriously damage your online presence as a whole and, ultimately, (Gasp!) your sales.  Investing in SEO will allow you to adapt to these changes more quickly and easily.

They’re significantly less adorable when they’re destroying the precious rankings that you’ve worked so hard to build up.

9. Offline sales benefit, too.

SEO doesn’t just generate online sales.  These days, many consumers choose to do some research on the Internet before making a purchase at a traditional brick-and-mortar store.  A recent study found that 89% of consumers utilize Internet search engines to make purchasing decisions.  They won’t learn more information about your product if they can’t find it or if they are led astray by your competition.  Even if page views don’t convert directly to sales on the website, they might soon become sales at your physical store.  Ranking highly is just as important for consumer research purposes as it is for sales. The higher up on the results page you are, the more likely viewers will look into the products and services you offer. This leads to increased sales- in cyberspace and in the real world.  It’s that simple.

10. SEO is a champion of small businesses… and large ones.

As mentioned before, SEO is cost-efficient.  You don’t need to have boatloads of cash to make yourself more visible and more relevant online.  By utilizing free services like the Google Keyword Tool and Ubersuggest, businesses that don’t want to invest a lot of money into SEO can see improvements at little to no cost. Thus, even companies that don’t have Apple-like amounts of cash can still have a chance to be seen and compete for searches relevant to their industry.  Still, if you’re interested in competing long term, you’ll probably want to start paying an SEO expert to link-build for you.  If you do decide to pay a firm to do a more comprehensive SEO job for you, the sales generated from their work should more than make up for the investment, provided you did your homework beforehand.

While the cost effectiveness is something that both large and small companies can appreciate, larger companies also stand to benefit in their own way.  Larger companies often have multiple locations in different regions; this can mean multiple listings on review sites as well as more Google Places, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts to manage.  SEO specialists can help you keep these various sites positive, informative, and updated. Further, as mentioned in #4, they can ensure that the message is consistent across all these locations and pages.

11. It is often more relevant than paid advertising.

I could write a fairly convincing paragraph explaining this, but just click here then come back.  I’ll wait.

If you were too lazy to click, here’s a good summary: organic SEO, which you can do, in part, for free, drives over three quarters of all search traffic, whereas paid search advertising, which you have to pay for, receives less than 25%.

Don’t get the wrong idea about paid search advertisements.  Utilizing paid links can be a good investment for a few reasons.  It can be a quick way to get some Page 1 real estate if your organic rankings are abysmal. Paid search can also be the right decision if the company website has a high conversion rate and/or a high margin on each sale to make up for the money spent.  However, keep in mind that consumers can be wary of clicking on these, as advertisements inherently have agendas, while organic search results (in the minds of consumers, anyway) do not.  Furthermore, paid ads garner more clicks when users know of and trust the brand, so a well known company like Zappos.com or Domino’s Pizza is more likely to have success with this sort of campaign than less reputable and/or less recognizable companies.

12. SEO creates a better customer experience.

This is true for a number of reasons.  First, it makes your business easier to find, which customers appreciate, especially when they’re looking for your company specifically.  Second, optimized sites are easier to navigate, as these sites generally tag content, provide clear, explicit links, and include helpful sitemaps.  Further, well-optimized sites integrate more seamlessly with blogs, social media sites, and directory pages. This allows the user to get a more well-rounded snapshot of your company.

The user on the right had a wonderful experience on a site that was properly optimized for search. The user on the left had no such luck and is now blue in the face from frustration.

13. You can capitalize on slow-to-adapt competition.

Even though the Internet has been around for a while now, some companies still don’t invest in the long term well-being of their web presence.  If you’re lucky enough to be competing with companies that don’t, you can take a lot of potential sales that would have gone elsewhere.  Unless your product or service isn’t really ever sought on the Internet (A lemonade stand, maybe?), your business can make respectable gains in market share by being the dominant online presence in the industry.

14. Experts can do it for you.

If you don’t have the time and expertise to dive into the intricacies of SEO yourself, you can place your web presence in the hands of people who will make it their priority.  Depending on the scope of the project, SEO and related operations can be tedious and complicated.  Why not let the people who know what they’re doing and who enjoy the work just do it for you? If everyone focuses their time and energy where they’re excellent, then everybody wins.

If you still aren’t convinced, check out our LSM Video Testimonials and see what the people we have worked with have to say about SEO.

James on Google+