Why SEO Matters (Even in Crisis)

A quick editor’s note on current events: The last two weeks have been more bizarre than ever. Your traffic and conversion might have completely changed overnight. Your team might have moved to home office, your customers and clients deal with uncertainty. It might seem weird to continue “business as usual” these days but reviewing your digital marketing and online traffic sources might be even important today.

And whilst we want to acknowledge this special situation, we also invite you to think about your overall business objectives and goals for 2020. And where you might stand today, at the end of the first quarter.

Even in these uncertain days not utilizing SEO in all of its advantages just doesn’t make good business sense. The name of the game has not changed: Google search traffic is still massive. A great website with good content and links will still put you ahead of the digital game. And if you agree, then you’re in great company!

Let’s take a look at why expert marketers and SEOs are sure that SEO matters even in this crazy spring and summer of 2020.

1. SEO Is Fair

“With more startups popping up every day, it’s vital for companies to understand the power and importance of search engine optimization. With a consistent, holistic approach, it’s possible to rank next to big players in your vertical. Heck, you could even surpass them! (…) And that’s the beauty of it. The only way to rank is through blood, sweat, and probably a few tears. You might not have the budget of a Fortune 500 company, but if you have someone who is well versed and dedicated to SEO, you can compete for your place in the SERPs.”

Haley Anhut, Content Marketing Manager of Clean Origin 

2. Users Are Going Mobile

“In a mobile-first world, you have less time to grab people, and attention spans are shorter than ever, so video will be used even more to boost rankings. The world is moving to mobile-first or mobile-only, with fewer people accessing the web on big screens. So, everyone is tailoring their site, message, and content accordingly. ”   

Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls

3. You Need Google Maps to Be Found

“When it comes to local businesses, if you aren’t optimizing for Google Maps in 2020, you won’t be found. It’s easy to pay to play (if you have the budget) on search channels where SEO is just too competitive and slow to show results. However, as a small local business, you likely don’t have the budget to pour into paid ads. The single best thing you can do to market your business is optimize your local listing for the over 150 million people that use Google maps. Google maps rankings come down to these four key factors: Ratings, count of reviews, proximity to the user, and category.

  • Ratings and Reviews: The higher the rating, the more Google will favor your listing. However, it’s not enough to have four 5-star ratings. There’s a magic balance you’ll need to strike between the number of reviews while maintaining an above average rating. Some experts say the number of reviews needs to be at minimum, 100.
  • Proximity to user: If a user is searching for a coffee shop, Google won’t return something 30 miles away (unless it’s literally the only coffee shop in proximity). Know that your physical business location will impact your presence in Google maps. 
  • Category: What your business offers and how you describe it (i.e. the keywords you use) in your local listing should correlate directly to how users will search for it. This is not the time to be clever or witty. Select the category that most accurately portrays your business and include those category keywords throughout your listing. For example, if you’re a car dealer, your listing should have ‘Car dealer’ sprinkled throughout as opposed to ‘Automobile aficionados.’ Simple, direct and searchable.”

Shannon Maloney, Director of Marketing of Soapbox

4. SEO Helps With Marketing Strategies

“Implementing strong, quality SEO on a company’s website will always be beneficial to that brand and its marketing efforts. I think that the main reason why SEO matters is because it improves a website’s overall searchability and visibility. But there is more to that. What’s more important about SEO is that it helps companies make informed business decisions. SEO allows business owners to deeply understand customer behavior. This information can be applied to different marketing and sales strategies. Once you figure out your target audience, you can decide how to convert them. You’ll be able to create content specifically geared toward that particular user.”

Oksana Chyketa, Marketer at Albacross

Databox

5. There Are No Shortcuts With SEO

“Following best practices in SEO is more important than ever because Google continually updates its ranking algorithm and how SERPs appear. Your organic traffic affects your brand awareness and influences your revenue, though some sites are better at tying organic traffic to revenue than others. Investing time and resources in good SEO professionals will keep your site ranking well organically and can help improve your traffic. Don’t be fooled by SEO shortcuts. In the long run, they’re likely to hurt you more than help.”

Alice Stevens, Senior Content Strategist of Best Company

6. You Need to Utilize New Google Methods

We are now reaching a pinnacle point where it’s not just about optimizing your content for people typing in a search result in Google. There are a lot of new methods people are using nowadays to get the answers they want instead of just typing it into the search engines. These methods are slowly catching on to become the norm.

These new methods have been around for a while now, but I feel that Google will reward you higher in the SERPs if you make your content user-friendly for the following:

Video: According to Cisco, video will make up 80% of online traffic by 2021. This being said, if video isn’t part of your digital marketing plans then you may want to reconsider this. Google has introduced video snippets which is a great way to get traffic and people to view your content. To do this, it’s important that you categorise your videos into specific sections, upon doing this Google will just play the bit of the video that is relevant for the user. It’s important to also optimise your videos on youtube as it is the 2nd largest search engine. This shows that more people are searching for stuff on Youtube more than ever. Additionally, for people that want to get more traffic in 2020 then they should create content and optimize it specifically for youtube. 

Voice Search: This is the one I feel that will continue to grow. It’s obvious that in 2020, you will see a rise of people optimizing their content so it can be picked up by voice search. The best way for your content to be optimized for voice search is to include a question and an answer in the content. Upon doing this, and if your content is ranking in the top 5 of the SERPS, then there is a good chance it would be considered by the smart device.

A study has shown the following on voice search:

        – 41% of adults perform at least one voice search every day (source)

      – Voice searches performed in Google are up 35x since 2008

      – 20% of all searches on mobile are voice searches”

Adam Green, Web Support at CurrantWeb

Databox

7. SEO Boosts Credibility and Reliability

“In 2020, SEO will be vital because it will boost your credibility and reliability. The main goal of SEO is to get a first page, top ranking in all search engines. Once you have a high ranking, you will continue to stay above the rest of the search results as long as Internet users click your search links. Search engines also take into consideration the user experience. If you are at the top, then it simply means that you provide excellent customer experience. People also trust search engines to filter results for them. That’s why 75% of users stick to the first page of search results.
The bottom line is that SEO will continue to be a driving force in 2020 because it will boost your brand awareness, and it will give you long-term excellent results.”

Jeremy Harrison, Founder of Hustle Life

8. SEO Helps in Understanding User Behavior

“SEO is not just about stacking a pile of words according to content relevancy and user search. To really understand what our users need, how to connect with them and establish a long-lasting positive connection, we need to know the inter and sentiment behind user search and improve the customer journey for product post-buying. This is majorly where SEO jumps in. So, instead of raw “yes” and “no” interactions, it’s necessary to understand user behavior and emotional actions so we can better shape an entire SEO approach.”

Steve Habazin, Content Marketing Specialist for Latana

9. SEO Is Cost-Effective

“In 2020, there is a popular belief that it is easier to start a business than ever. And in many ways this axiom is true; with just a few dollars to launch a website you can bootstrap your way to a large and successful company. One challenge with bootstrapping is that you never seem to have enough money for experiments, with the ebbs and flows of client work you need to manage a relatively conservative budget. These restrictions mean that you may not be able to make the large upfront investment in areas like PR and media buys. Instead, SEO offers an opportunity to invest in marketing at a pace that works for you. From DIY projects to spending a few hundred dollars per month with contracts to eventually hiring an SEO agency, your investment can be kept in proportion to your overall budget and growth goals.”

Alex Cross, Marketing Manager at Library Jobs

10. Google Is Cracking Down

“Firstly, Google RankBrain’s ability to understand different keyword combinations from one piece of text means the opportunities to rank are more plentiful than ever before. Google wants to rank authority articles as high as possible, so identifying as many related keywords and phrases as possible and placing them in the same article gives you an excellent opportunity to rank as a top SERP.

Secondly, Google is becoming more prolific than ever before at cracking down on black hat practices. A large PBN that was exploiting a loop-hole in the algorithm recently got taken down. The emphasis on backlinks is becoming less so, and Google is trying to shift more of the focus to not only content quality, but content relevancy. In 2020, websites will rank for less keywords, as Google tries to define websites more specifically, rather than broadly. Good SEO practice allows Google to understand where to position your website and in what niche/category.”

Dale Johnson, Co-founder & Content Strategist at Nomad Paradise

11. SEO Understands the Importance of a Niche

“Smart SEO is the key to getting your content under the eyes of not just people, but the right people — the customers or clients who are searching for the solution that your brand offers better than anyone else.

Your company isn’t trying to serve every person or solve every possible problem. You’re experts in a certain area, and the job of your SEO is to hear the specific question you’re best positioned to answer. Trying to rank a high volume of content in general, over-saturated keywords will only spread your resources too thin. You’ll be much better served by investing your time in researching your audience, really listening to conversation about the type of product you offer, and tailoring your content to that stuff specifically. This has always been meaningful, but in 2020, there’s more noise to compete with than ever. With well-tailored SEO, you’ll have better conversions and your customers won’t be wading through an ocean of links that only half-satisfy their needs.” 

Quincy Smith, SEO and Content Specialist at Ampjar

12. SEO Can Provide for Your Company’s Future

“SEO matters because it’s a great way to help future-proof your business, and you can do this by building a list from the traffic that you get. Despite the fact that there’s always shake ups and algorithm changes, the fundamentals for SEO still remain the same. It’s powerful to be ranked for specific keywords, but what’s even better is the quality of the traffic that comes along with it. Plus, the traffic comes from individuals who are actively searching what you’ve written about. It certainly doesn’t get any better than that. There’s no better time than no to start tapping into SEO and the quality of the traffic that comes along with it.”

James Canzanella, Isolated Marketing Nights 

13. Free Traffic Is Getting Harder to Come By

“SEO is important because signs point toward social networks sending less and less free traffic. Facebook, obviously, moved towards forcing business to advertise to get traffic a few years ago, and other platforms have made similar changes. Most businesses and website owners who have been marketing on Pinterest have seen a decrease in organic traffic, and it seems likely that this will continue as Pinterest attempts to increase profits. With social networks trending towards more paid traffic and less organic (free) traffic, SEO becomes even more important. Even if your business is successful at getting free traffic from social networks, that could change at any time. It’s best to be prepared by working to maximize organic search traffic now.”

Marc Andre, Founder of Vital Dollar

14. SEO Makes You Constantly Update Your Knowledge

In SEO, everything changes quite fast, and in 2020, you must constantly update your knowledge. You cannot avoid SEO if you want to get good traffic from search engines. To make money from your website it is best to learn SEO and practice it. 

Many people run websites and blogs for the purpose of their monetization. Getting more traffic significantly increases the chances of generating a decent income out of your website, let alone new professional opportunities, bigger outreach, authority and more. That’s why businesses are always eager to increase their traffic and find new sources. 

But traffic is not something solid, it comes from different places, and to increase it, you’ll need to understand how it works. There are many ways to get traffic, starting from the type of content you create, up to using different SEO and other social media marketing techniques. Boosting traffic requires a lot of SEO work, including building backlinks, optimizing your website, enriching content with relevant keywords and so on. 

There are many different sources of website traffic, and you should address as many aspects as possible to grow your business. Implementing different techniques at the same time may bring you lots of traffic, and a good income as a result.”

Tatiana Buyanova, Head of Business Development & Partner Relations at Travelpayouts

15. SEO Proves That Content Is Still King (or Queen)

SEO is still vital in 2020, as optimizing your website for search engines improves the overall visitor experience. Relevancy and authority of content is one of the most important factors to gain high search engine rankings. By posting high quality content, ensuring facts are backed up with source material and appropriate links, and including keywords that are relevant to your niche, you’ll be improving your website and making it more “sticky” for your visitors. Quality content also tends to attract backlinks, which are again an important ranking factor. Aim to create content that can be easily shared through social media, and you can really set yourself apart.”

Chris Moffatt, Senior Marketing Manager at Kent Express

16. SEO Is a Must to Create an Online Presence

“With COVID-19, things have changed drastically. All the businesses are now aware of the fact that their customers are searching for them online. I believe that SEO will play a big role in 2020 because if you want to survive, you have to create a strong online presence to get organic traffic.”

Leo Kangin, Creator of Theta Journal

So, when it comes down to it, there are a myriad of reasons illustrating exactly why SEO matters in 2020. Armed with a few well-researched keywords and high-quality content, you can literally take on the online world! Just remember that SEO is equal parts art and science. Companies use many different strategies, but it’s important to find the one that will help you creep ever close to that coveted Page 1 on Google. 

If you have any questions regarding SEO, feel free to reach out! Or, leave a comment about why YOU think SEO matters in 2020.

Author: Viola Eva

Viola is passionate about digital entrepreneurship, flow, and mindful marketing. As a marketing consultant and SEO, she has worked with clients ranging from individual digital entrepreneurs to software companies to multi-national corporates and government institutions. She is a speaker, educator, and specialist on all things SEO.