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Why SEO Is the Best Marketing Strategy for Long-Term Growth


If you've spent any time learning about online marketing, you've likely heard about search engine optimization (SEO). The basic idea behind SEO is simple: use a combination of onsite and offsite strategies to make your site more likely to rank highly for relevant keyword searches by your target audience. With time and effort, you'll increase your brand visibility, earn more traffic, and boost your reputation.

There's a strong argument for SEO being the hands-down best strategy for long-term growth in the marketing world. But what exactly makes this the case?

Why SEO Is a Long-Term Strategy

Let’s start by explaining why SEO is a long-term strategy in the first place. The simple fact here is that it’s almost impossible to see results in your first few weeks of effort. Link.Build, a link building agency, "require[s] a commitment to a sustainable process of 6 to 12 months and beyond for new(er) websites."

There are several reasons for this. For starters, it takes Google several weeks just to index the pages of your site—meaning they’re going to be unavailable in Google search results until that point. To climb rankings, you need to work on a variety of different ranking signals, which means writing onsite content, improving your onsite technical optimization, publishing offsite content, and more. All of these strategies take time to properly develop.

Plus, in Google search results, the top few rankings tend to see disproportionately high levels of traffic; jumping from page 10 to page 1 is associated with a huge increase in traffic, and jumping from rank 10 to rank 1 on page 1 is associated with another huge increase in traffic. It takes time to get there, but once you’ve reached the top, the benefits are lucrative.

The Perks of Patience With SEO

Remaining patient and pursuing SEO long-term grants you several benefits, making it superior to almost any other marketing strategy given a long enough time frame.

  •  Permanent asset development. First, when you’re working on your SEO campaign, you’re often developing permanent assets, or assets that are semi-permanent. For example, you need to create high-quality onsite blog posts to increase your authority and earn more links. But these blog posts don’t disappear when you’re done; they continue adding value to your site indefinitely. This allows you to snowball your efforts over time, seeing better and better results from everything you’ve developed in the past.

  • Reputation and visibility benefits. Over time, you’ll be able to build your reputation, and your visibility will increase. If you’re creating high-quality content that your audience wants to read, your onsite blog will become more popular, your offsite posts will become more popular, and you’ll find your way to bigger, more prominent publishers. That means every piece of content you make in the future will instantly yield more value, because your reputation will give it an immediate boost.

  • Complementary strategies. SEO also works well as a complementary strategy. It has natural synergies with strategies like content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and even pay per click (PPC) advertising. As you build your presence in these other areas, you’ll see better SEO results, and vice versa.

  • Multifaceted traffic generation. Most people pursue SEO as a way to increase their organic traffic—the people visiting their site after finding it in search engines. But SEO is useful for increasing traffic across many different channels, including referral traffic and direct traffic as well.

  • Increasing ROI. Over time, your SEO campaign will become more efficient, allowing you to spend less time and money on the same amount of effort. At the same time, each piece you create will yield higher and higher value, due to being more visible in better publishers and helping you climb to higher positions in search engine results pages (SERPs). Accordingly, the ROI of SEO tends to increase sharply over time. When you first begin your strategy, you may see a small loss, but if you stick with it, your cost-to-benefit ratio will improve dramatically.

  •  Flexibility and versatility. Finally, you should understand that SEO is a highly flexible and versatile strategy. If a keyword gets too competitive, you can switch to a different target. If you’re struggling with offsite optimization, you can focus more on onsite optimization. You can tweak your SEO strategy to better complement your other marketing strategies too—over time, you can find the perfect fit for your organization.

SEO isn't good for providing a short-term boost for your website or generating traffic within a few weeks of your initial launch. But if you're looking at a multi-month or multi-year time horizon, you're unlikely to find a better strategy for your marketing campaign. Just be sure it's part of a comprehensive approach, so you can capitalize on the benefits of many diverse strategies.


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