Search Engine Optimization, digital marketing, and web analytics, in general, can be some of the more confusing and opaque forms of advertising. It hasn’t helped that marketing departments at firms of all sizes have been inundated with made-up metrics and fake ‘engagement’ statistics (Thanks, Facebook) for much of the early history of web advertising.
For many of these reasons, it’s easy for CEOs to be cautious with search marketing and investing in SEO other forms of digital. After all, are you really getting what you pay for or what the traffic reports tell you?
But, there’s a hidden cost to not investing in SEO and organic web traffic, and your competitors might be reaping the benefits of a business’s lack of development of their online presence and brand.
Furthermore, lack of web branding and online problems can quickly spill into the real world and other forms of advertising.
What Do Users See In Google When They Search A Brand?
If a company earns enough business without an online presence, or if an organization such as a nonprofit is able to maintain a digital presence with simply a social media page, it can be attractive to consider not investing in a website at all or any SEO marketing.
But there’s an inherent risk whenever a brand is not in control of its own online marketing and brand when searched organically online. If a competitor, bad reviewer, or literally anyone on earth decides to take a shot at a business or produce negative content referring to a company or organization, there might be nothing that an organization can do to respond.
Are you and your company positioned to defend themselves if the face or poor press or bad reviews?
How Can An Organization Prevent a Lack of SEO Issues?
If a writer publishes an article mentioning your brand in a negative light, that article might be the first search result in Google, Bing, and Yahoo for any search relating to that brand. This, of course, would be terrible for the brand in question, as someone else, possibly not even in a truthful way, will be controlling the online information and narrative about your business.
Investing in a proper website with advanced search engine optimization is the best way to combat many of these issues, as it is the best guarantee that your website or content will be at the top of the results when your company or brand is searched, as opposed to any third party information or referring pages.
Organic and Paid Sources For Branding
Yes, your competitors and business rivals can skip ahead of organic results and in many cases even bid for paid search advertising on other brand terms, even your brand or company. In the early days of Google Adwords (now Google Ads), this was a major way that competitors would try to steal business from each other, mostly unsuspecting companies without a strong digital presence.
An example would be Coke bidding on the term “Pepsi” so that users might see a Coke paid result before they can see a Pepsi organic result (assuming Pepsi would rank above Coke for a “Pepsi” search).
It’s more difficult for competitors to bid on branded terms that are not their own, even crossing some trademark issues, but it can still be a problem on some platforms. The best way to combat any paid branded advertising on an organization’s brand is to have a strong organic and search marketing strategy with a knowledgeable SEO and/or SEM firm. Most agencies will do both SEM and SEO in tandem to combat any of these issues.
Digital Real Estate In The Biggest Market On Earth
Finally, it’s simply ultra-important in 2019 and as we head into the 2020s to have a strong online presence. The fact is, regardless of the business environment or space one finds themselves in, and regardless of their objectives, whether it’s sales, branding or simply getting information and content out at a high volume and to the right audience, any reputable business in the 2020s will be expected to have a robust web presence and a way to contact businesses directly online.
Even if that is not where customers or the public will interact the most with an organization, it is vital to have a web portal of some kind and to be at the top of the search results when those users need to find that brand. Are you positioned in the organic search results for the 2020s?