9 Benefits of SEO for Your Business

Semrush Team

Dec 06, 202313 min read
Benefits of SEO

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website’s visibility to get more visitors from search engines like Google.

In this article, we’ll cover nine benefits of SEO and explain how they impact your website and business. 

1. SEO Helps More People Find Your Website

SEO can be one of the most significant sources of traffic for businesses. In fact, it can often be the number one source. 

For example, after two years of following SEO best practices consistently, including conducting in-depth keyword research around audience pain points, artificial intelligence (AI) startup Flowrite increased organic search traffic significantly. 

A graph showing an increase in Flowrite's organic search traffic over two years

Flowrite went from less than 100,000 visitors a month to more than 1 million thanks to a strong SEO strategy. 

Here’s how SEO helps your audience find you: 

Search engine users type in related keywords (known as search terms) to find answers to their questions. 

"how to make a matcha latte" search term entered into Google

Then, websites related to the user’s query will appear on the search engine results page (SERP).

Google SERP for "how to make a matcha latte" query

Website owners optimize blog posts, articles, and webpages in an effort to rank highly in search results, leading to more clicks and traffic. 

One Backlinko study found the top organic result (unpaid listings on the SERPs) is 10x more likely to receive a click than the content in the 10th spot.

A graph showing Google organic CTR breakdown by position

And more clicks means more people landing on your site. In other words, more web traffic.

Organic search results differ from paid listings, which are ads that have a “Sponsored” label:

Google SERP for "matcha latte" with "paid listings" above and "organic listing" section highlighted

Traffic arriving on your site from ads is known as paid traffic. While organic traffic is the result of people clicking organic listings.

SEO plays a key role in helping to increase your ranking in organic search. This is important because organic search accounts for 62% of all web traffic, according to Marketing Insider Group research. 

Marketing Insider Group's circle chart showing 2022 traffic sources

Image Source: Marketing Insider Group

That’s more than traffic from email, social media, paid ads, referrals, and people visiting your site directly combined.

So, SEO helps you target the largest traffic source to entice as many people as possible to your site.

SEO also helps search engines like Google understand what your site and individual webpages are about. 

Essentially, you want to demonstrate you can answer readers’ questions and meet search intent (the reason behind a user’s query) with high-quality, relevant content.

For example, let’s say a searcher types in “best bars in Venice Beach.” 

Your travel company has written a guide on the “10 best bars in Venice Beach for 2023.” And it contains relevant keywords, up-to-date information, high-quality images, and accurate directions to each bar.

Because you’re in a relevant niche and the content is helpful for searchers, Google has moved it up the SERPs over time. And because it’s more visible, more people have clicked on it. 

Why does this matter? 

Because it has led to more website visitors and more chances for conversions and sales.

Further reading: SEO Traffic: What It Is and Why You Need It

2. SEO Is a Cost-Effective Way to Grow Your Business

One of the most significant benefits of search engine optimization is that it’s technically free, assuming you don’t outsource SEO services or content creation.

In fact, there are many free resources and tools you can use to optimize your website and content.

For example, you can search up to 10 keywords every day using Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool for free to optimize your content:

Keyword Magic Tool results for "matcha latte"

You can also use Google Trends for free to see which topics are trending in different countries around the world:

Related topics and queries in Google Trends

Both Keyword Magic and Google Trends offer data-driven suggestions to help you answer your target audience’s questions in blog posts, articles, web copy, and more.

The cost-effectiveness of SEO can make it more appealing than paid advertising. Especially if you’re working on a budget. 

For example, an ad campaign requires investment in content creation, landing page design, and testing. And that’s before you pay for ad placement itself. 

Here are the average costs of running various ads, from Google to social media, according to Fit Small Business

Fit Small Business's infographic showing how much radio ads cost vs other types of ads

Image Source: Fit Small Business

As you can see, running ads can get costly—and fast. 

But your traffic will also take a massive hit if you stop running ads—especially if paid traffic is your main (or only) source of web visitors. 

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use advertising. Ideally, you can use paid ads to complement your organic traffic and overall SEO strategy. 

3. SEO Improves Brand Awareness

A strong SEO strategy (where you show up in search results frequently) creates the perception that your business is a trusted authority. 

Why does this matter? 

It tells potential customers you’re a credible source they can consider buying from.

For example, say you want to create a new website to sell products. You’re unsure how to go about it, so you type “How to build a website” into Google.

Among the top search results is a guide by website builder platform Wix, like this one:

Wix' result on Google SERP for "how to build a website” query

You’re now aware of Wix. 

Even better? 

The guide is filled with high-quality information and actionable advice. This has created a positive perception of the brand in your mind. 

Now, you want to research website builder options. So you search for “best website builder for small business.” 

In the search results, you see Wix listed as a popular choice.

Wix is listed as a popular choice on Google for “best website builder for small business" query

When you search for “creating a website store,” Wix is on the first page of Google’s search results again. 

Wix' result on Google SERP for "creating a website store” query

By popping up in multiple search results, Wix establishes itself as an industry leader and boosts credibility. 

Wix’s SEO strategy includes optimizing its site for SEO by choosing target keywords and creating helpful content around relevant search queries.

Doing this consistently helps the site boost topical authority. Which makes it easier for search engines and users to trust it on these subjects.

At the same time, Wix is increasing brand awareness through SEO—and making it more likely that searchers will choose them over a lesser-known competitor. 

So, the more searches you appear in, the likelier you are to accumulate the benefits of SEO. Like building trust, credibility, and brand recognition.

You can build brand awareness over time with: 

  • On-page optimization
  • Technical SEO
  • A consistent brand message
  • User-friendly web design and structure

Google also values “helpful, reliable, people-first content.” 

To serve the most relevant results to users, Google judges content by its E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) guidelines.

A visual explaining what E-E-A-T stands for

While E-E-A-T isn’t a direct ranking factor, publishing high-quality content from writers with firsthand experience and a strong industry background can give your site and webpages more credibility. 

So, prioritizing E-A-A-T in your SEO strategy can help you feature more prominently in rankings. 

4. SEO Helps You Understand Your Customers

Search engines want to deliver the most relevant results to users. SEO data and insights tell you what customers want and need so you can meet these expectations and appear higher in the SERPs. 

For example, Google provides free tools to help you understand user activity and behavior to deliver better experiences. This includes Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Trends.

With these three Google tools, you can learn: 

  • How your website visitors found you
  • Where people enter and leave your website
  • How long they stay on a page
  • How many visitors leave immediately
  • Your most popular pages
  • Which pages Google has indexed (and which it hasn’t)
  • How frequently people search a given term
  • Which topics are currently trending
  • Which seasonal trends (i.e., keywords related to annual holidays) apply to your business

As you research this data, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t. You can use this information to improve your SEO efforts over time. 

Here are some insights, from revenue to users per minute, you can access with a GA4 account:

Users dashboard in GA4

Another way to get to know your audience is by researching search intent. 

Semrush’s Keyword Overview can help you understand the search intent behind any keyword. In other words, what a user hopes to achieve when they type a query into a search engine. 

Here’s how to use Keyword Overview:

Navigate to Semrush and open Keyword Overview. Type in a keyword and hit “Search.”

You can see the search intent to the far right of the “Overview” tab. 

In this example, the intent is informational. This means the user wants to learn more about a topic. 

"how to listen to audiobooks" keyword shows "informational" intent in Keyword Overview tool

There are four types of search intent: 

  • Informational: The user wants to learn more about a subject
  • Navigational: The user wants to find a specific website or webpage
  • Commercial: The user wants to research products or services before purchasing
  • Transactional: The user wants to complete an action (e.g., making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter)
Types of search intent with examples

If you understand search intent, you can use keywords and create content that meets your customers’ needs. And potentially rank higher in search results. 

5. SEO Improves User Experience

User experience (UX) is a visitor’s overall experience on your website. One of the advantages of SEO is that it can improve UX and increase conversion rates as a result.

A bad user experience means people spend less time on your website or leave immediately after arriving. This tells Google your site isn’t meeting its users’ needs. 

But if users find what they need on your website and spend time on your pages, this indicates a positive experience. It also tells Google you’re giving users what they want.

Google’s algorithm values: 

  • Website pages that are easy to use and navigate
  • Fast page load time
  • Websites that use HTTPS
  • Mobile-friendly design
  • Internal links that connect related pages
  • Accessibility

Websites that demonstrate these factors make it easy for Google to find and understand pages so it can index them correctly. 

It also helps users find what they’re looking for, which can increase your leads or sales.

UX and SEO go hand-in-hand. If you want to deliver great UX, follow SEO best practices, like mobile friendliness and fast load times.

Further reading: 10 UX Design Examples to Get Inspired in 2023

6. Good SEO Is Good PR

Digital PR (public relations) is all about creating high-quality content journalists want to link to and reference.

And do you know what a big part of SEO is? 

Creating high-quality content people want to link to and reference.

For example, our State of Search 2023 report is what’s known as a linkable asset. The study leverages data from all of our tools and reports to identify search traffic trends across the U.S. from the previous year. 

This includes search traffic by market, percentage of new domains ranking, and average click-through rates:

Search traffic by market showing data for the US, from State of Search 2023 report

It’s based on original research, so it’s a good resource for a journalist or blogger writing about the SEO landscape. 

Other linkable assets include: 

  • Thought leadership content
  • Definitive guides and tutorials
  • Online tools and calculators
  • Infographics 

Semrush’s Backlink Analytics tool shows The State of Search page has 177 referring domains and 7.7K backlinks as of November 2023. 

Backlink Analytics' data for The State of Search page

Backlinks (also called external links) are one of the most important signals for ranking content in search results. 

Search engines like Google view backlinks as votes of confidence. The more backlinks you have from trusted sources, the more Google sees your page as valuable.

For example, one of the State of Search report’s backlinks is from the respected industry news website Social Media Today. 

The State of Search report's backlinks page in Backlink Analytics

Social Media Today has an Authority Score (AS) of 75. That’s Semrush’s metric for measuring the overall quality of a website domain or page. Domains are measured on a scale of zero to 100, with 100 being the most authoritative and zero being the least. 

Getting a backlink from Social Media Today only adds to the trustworthiness and credibility of Semrush’s website. 

At the same time, links from trusted industry sources increase your reach. If a major publication references your content, it puts your brand in front of a new audience and helps you build credibility. 

And it’s great for PR. 

7. SEO Helps Local Customers Find You

The benefits of SEO aren’t only for online businesses. If you have a physical location or serve a specific area, a local SEO strategy can get you in front of people searching for businesses like yours.

Local SEO is the process of optimizing your online presence to increase local traffic and visibility. 

Following local SEO best practices helps you show up for local searches. For example, “restaurant near me” or “coffee shops chicago.” 

Here’s what a local search result looks like on Google: 

Google local search result for "coffee shops chicago"

When a user performs a local search, Google uses their location to recommend relevant and prominent businesses.

Other local SEO tactics include:

  • Claiming and optimizing your Google Business Profile listing
  • Finding keywords people use when searching for local products and services
  • Creating locally relevant content
  • Listing your business in local directories (e.g., Yelp or TripAdvisor)
  • Getting customers to review your business on Google and other directories

Google says 88% of people who conduct a search on a cell phone visit a related store within a week, and 76% visit within a day. 

This is why optimizing for local SEO is so important. 

Local SEO tools like Semrush’s Listing Management (that automatically lists your business in top directories) and Keyword Overview (that discovers the best keywords for your specific location) can help improve your local presence. 

For example, New York-based acupuncturist Morningside Acupuncture went from 1,000 organic visitors per month to 20,000 to 30,000 by listing its business in authoritative local directories, replying to reviews, and targeting local keywords. 

Most of its customers now come organically from Google thanks to local SEO. 

8. SEO Helps You Get Ahead of the Competition

Investing in SEO helps you stay competitive. 

Your competition is likely optimizing their sites to rank for industry keywords. Which means they’re getting traffic that could be yours. 

However, with the right tools, you can analyze your competitor’s SEO strategies to improve your own results. And capitalize on opportunities to outrank them. 

Using Semrush tools, you can find out: 

  • Who your main competitors are
  • How customers find them
  • What keywords they target

You can use this information to figure out what your competitors do well—and what you can do better. 

For example, French bakery Pastreez used competitive research to find out how many companies were competing in the macaron market. 

By typing “macarons near me” into Semrush’s Keyword Overview tool, they found out who was ranking for this term. 

"SERP Analysis" report in Keyword Overview tool for “macarons near me”

They then researched each competitor to see other keywords they ranked for. And used that information to create new pages with better SEO and page speed. 

Pastreez now ranks highly for local searches.

To find what works for your competitors, type their domains into the Organic Research tool, select the desired country, and click “Search.” 

The “Competitors” report summarizes each competitor’s traffic, keywords, and traffic cost. 

The “Competitors” report in Organic Research tool

Click “View…” next to any report to go into further detail. 

Study your competitors to learn how websites like yours attract visitors and use the information to create a more effective strategy. 

Further reading: What Is a Competitor Analysis & How to Do It (with Template)

9. SEO Improves Your Digital Marketing Efforts

SEO benefits your overall digital marketing performance. 

Good UX, for example, can increase sales. And helpful content can bring people to your website from other channels like social media, email, or paid ads.

For example, customer feedback platform Reputation’s Ultimate Guide to Customer Review Management ranks highly on Google for the keywords “customer review management guide.”

"The Ultimate Guide to Customer Review Management" result highlighted on Google SERP

This high ranking means it could be a great asset for a pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign. 

Reputation uses LinkedIn ads to drive traffic to the report landing page and get more eyes on its content.

Reputation's LinkedIn ad for "The Ultimate Guide to Customer Review Management"

SEO tools like Semrush and Google Analytics also give you data on:

  • Who your target audience is (age, gender, income, and location) 
  • What they’re interested in
  • Which keywords are popular
  • What questions people are asking

You can use this information in your digital marketing strategy to reach people who are likely to buy your products or services.

For example, you can answer frequently asked questions in blog posts and videos. Or use audience demographics to send special offer emails to people in a particular location, inviting them to visit your business. 

To get quick insights on your audience, type your website URL into Semrush’s One2Target tool.

Use the “Demographics” tab to get a breakdown of your website visitors by age, sex, and location. 

“Demographics” audience overview in One2Target tool

Toggle to the “Socioeconomics” tab to learn about their household, employment, income, and education. 

“Socioeconomics” audience overview in One2Target tool

Next, find keywords for your content using the Keyword Magic Tool. Type a keyword related to your business into the tool and click “search.” 

Results can be sorted by search volume, intent, or keyword difficulty (KD%).

Click the “Questions” tab to get a list of related questions. 

Keyword Magic Tool "Questions" results for "vrbo"

Targeting keywords or questions with a high search volume and low keyword difficulty can help your pages rank in the SERPs faster.

Reap the Benefits of SEO Today

It takes time and ongoing work to see the benefits of SEO. 

But by following SEO best practices, you can help increase website traffic and get more customers.

Now that you know how SEO can help your business, start with the basics. 

Read our Ultimate Guide to SEO for Beginners to learn how to find keywords and create content that matches search intent. 

Rather get started with SEO right now? 

Sign up for a free Semrush account to gain access to keyword research tools, competitor analysis reports, and much more.

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