Search engines are a relatively new phenomenon – in the context of the business world. We’re so used to them now, but don’t forget that we didn’t really use them 25 years ago. They’ve grown in significance ever since the internet started entering homes. Nowadays, you can barely go a day without loading up a search engine and looking for something online.
With regard to business, search engines play a vital role in determining how successful you are. This seems crazy. How can something like Google determine if your company is successful or not?! It’s mainly to do with the popularity of search engines and the influence they have over people’s opinions and decisions.
Obviously, you’ve heard of search engine optimization. This is a marketing technique that looks at ways of improving your search engine ranking. Everybody swears by it, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself why? Why do we need to devote so many of our business working hours to SEO and search engines?
I’ve been thinking about this question a lot, which is why I’ve created this mini guide to search engines. Hopefully, by the time you’ve stopped reading, I’ll have answered this question for you!
Almost All Online Experiences Start With Search Engines
Think about what you do when you go online. Let’s say you want to buy something, or you’re looking for a particular service. What’s the first thing you do, nine times out of ten? You head to Google, and you search for what you’re looking for.
Everyone does this. In fact, 93% of online experiences start with search engines. This means that most people will start their search for businesses by keying in a phrase into Google. Therefore, if you don’t put a lot of effort into making yourself visible on search engines, then you miss out on so many potential customers.
This applies to all types of businesses as well. It’s common for small business owners to think they don’t need to care about SEO or search engines. If your business doesn’t rely on online sales, then why should you bother? Well, it goes back to that statistic. Only 7% of online experiences don’t start with search engines. You may not sell things online, but people will still use search engines to look for businesses like yours. In many cases, they use them to compare a list of potential companies. If you’re not optimizing your search presence, then you’ll be invisible to people that do this.
People Rarely Scroll Past the First Page of Search Results
It’s clear that search engines basically control how people find things on the internet. But, the search engine rankings are also so critical. Talk to an SEO agency, and they will explain that a whopping 95% of internet users don’t scroll beyond the first page. You can look at yourself as an example – when was the last time you ever moved onto page two of the Google results? It never happens, you don’t even think about doing it.
Why? Because we assume that the first page of results contains all the information we need. If a website isn’t there, then they’re not worth looking at. This causes massive issues for companies with a terrible SEO strategy. If you’re not on the first page, then you won’t be seen. So, it’s not just about getting on search engines; it’s about making yourself appear as high up the rankings as possible.
Generally speaking, the higher up you go, the greater your chances are of being clicked on. As internet users, we’ve been conditioned to think that websites in the first few positions are better than ones lower down. It’s like looking at a league table – the top companies are in the first few spots, and the worse ones are lower down.
Search Engine Ranking Positions Will Influence Your Reputation
The previous point leads us nicely onto this one. As I’ve just explained, users view websites in different lights depending on where they rank. This has a knock-on effect on your overall business reputation. If you constantly appear in the top three results for multiple searches relating to your line of work, then you grow an imperious reputation.
People will recognize your business and associate it with authority. Even if they don’t visit your website, they’ll notice your company as a big player in your industry. So, if you want to cultivate a good reputation for your brand, then you have to put a lot of effort into search engine optimization.
The opposite is true for websites that don’t put any effort into improving search engine performance. If you lag down in the bottom realms of search engine results, then it’s hard to grow a positive reputation. This will impact your sales figures as it’s harder to reel in customers if your reputation is in tatters.
Local searches point people to your business
Last but not least, local searches are crucial for small businesses. A local search is a search conducted by someone looking for businesses near them. For example, you’re looking for a local accountancy business, so you search for ‘accountants near me’. If your device has location services enabled, then you’ll see loads of results for accountants within your area.
Not only that, but many of these results will appear on a map for you to see where the businesses are located. It basically points you straight to their premises. Think about how vital this is for a local business! If you’re not taking advantage of this and improving your local SEO, then you’ll miss out on so many leads.
In conclusion, search engines play such an impactful role in the business world. Everyone uses them, and everyone depends on search engine results to help them find the right company. If you don’t put a lot of effort into developing a smart search marketing strategy, then you’ll fall behind the competition. With an excellent strategy, you can improve your reputation, broaden brand awareness, draw in more web traffic, increase conversions, and influence sales figures.