Search engine optimisation with a magnifying glass and cogs working together
The thing with trends is they are exactly that, a trend, and in most cases, will disappear after a few years. So, it’s not surprising that the rumour mill has been at work over search engine optimisation and whether it still has a place in 2023. 
Part of the reason for people – well, marketers – questioning whether it still has a place in their marketing strategies is that SEO has seen significant changes in recent years. Couple that with Google’s updates to its search algorithm – 15 major updates since 2010 – not to mention the minor changes their algorithm goes through every day, and it’s easy to think that SEO tactics are no longer relevant. 
It's not SEO tactics that have changed other than businesses focusing more on local SEO rather than traditional SEO. It’s more that Google’s ranking criteria have changed so significantly that what could now be considered ‘old-fashioned’ SEO will no longer work. 
However, in reality, this is one time when the old really does outdo the new. Although how businesses adopt and apply SEO best practices may change and adapt, without search engine optimisation, it’s going to be hard to put your business on the online/digital map. 
A group of marketers sat in a circle while working on a laptop and writing notes in a notebook

What is SEO today? 

SEO has evolved and developed over the years. What was once considered the task of ensuring you used as many relevant keywords and phrases in your online content as possible is no longer the case. 
The more Google got wise and started to gear search engine results to the user, not the business, the more companies have had to learn to be flexible and adapt to new requirements. 
But the online world and the internet have exploded even more, which has driven the changes to SEO and Google’s ranking criteria. Did you know that there are 3.5 billion searches on Google per day? There are around 600 million blogs on the internet, too. There is so much online information that without the use of SEO, how will businesses differentiate themselves from their competition? 
When Google started answering questions on their search page, which negated the need for users to click on website results – this is known as ‘zero-click content’ – the level of organic traffic being driven to company websites decreased. So, you can see why SEO can be viewed negatively. However, the skill is adapting SEO tactics as search engines adapt to the changing trends and demands of their users. 
A search bar inside a magnifying glass

Does SEO still matter? 

In a word, yes, but let us explain why. 
Of all the queries searched on Google, 91.8% are long tail keywords. In other words, users search for terms that Google cannot answer for them. Now, let’s add another statistic; 90% of users click on the front set of search results, i.e. the first page, and on average, a person makes three to four Google searches per day. So, this is why SEO still matters. 
Let’s give you an example; the use of blogs. Quality content is a key ranking factor for Google, so a website that features blogs regularly should, in theory, perform better - not forgetting, of course, that blogs are a primary SEO tactic. A recent study by Marketpath resoundingly backed this up by revealing that small businesses that blog get 126% more leads than those that don’t. In fact, 95% of businesses with a blog reported higher SEO rankings than companies without a blog. 
A lady looking and focusing on her screen

How does SEO work? 

The first point to consider is that any SEO is just SEO; it isn’t. The type of SEO tactics you use largely depends on the size of your business. Large corporations tend to concentrate on traditional SEO, whilst small and medium-sized businesses will target local SEO. That said, many SEO tasks do cross over between the two. 
The second thing to remember is that SEO is an ongoing part of your online marketing strategy. As with any digital marketing plan, it has to be viewed as a long-term investment because, over time, it will deliver a far greater ROI than initial results. 
Looking through a car's wing mirror at a long queue of traffic
So, how will SEO work for your business? There are several good reasons why it is worth continuing with SEO in 2023: 
Drives relevant traffic that converts – for any marketer, the main aim of online marketing is to generate leads that convert into sales. SEO helps to drive relevant traffic to your website. This means that the people clicking on your website are interested in your product/service and are more likely to engage with your company. 
Increases online visibility – the better your SEO, the more you meet Google’s ranking criteria, the higher the search engine will rank your company, and the more likely you will appear on top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). The more exposure you can gain online, the greater the potential for people to see your business. 
Target local customers – using local SEO tactics, like a Google My Business directory and content relevant to your area, will attract local customers. 
Boosts trust and brand awareness – without brand awareness, customers can’t find you and don’t know what your business is about. The higher you are on SERPs, the more potential customers are likely to trust your brand and return. Without trust, customers won’t engage with your company and won’t buy your products/services. 
If you were wondering why you persist with SEO in 2023 and whether you could spend your digital marketing budget elsewhere, we hope the above persuades you otherwise. 
It’seeze is your professional web design company in Bristol that specialises in creating Google-friendly websites for start-ups and small businesses. Together with ongoing expert local support and a range of website design packages, we build high-quality, easy-to-manage, yet engaging websites that are fully SEO optimised for local searches. Call us today to begin the journey to a website that will transform your business. 
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