Craig Dunham, CEO of Lumar
With only two months left in 2022, business leaders worldwide are naturally looking at their plans and priorities for the year ahead. In a time of economic uncertainty around the world, you’re likely revisiting marketing and sales budgets to see which levers to pull to ensure a steady stream of brand awareness and revenue in 2023. And as we face the decline of third-party cookies on paid marketing channels, leadership teams are likely revisiting their plans for more cost-effective organic marketing channels, like their websites. One often overlooked area in the organic marketing space is search engine optimisation (SEO) — but it shouldn’t be. In this article, I’ll shed some light on why your website’s health and performance deserve to be businesswide priorities in the year to come.
In research we conducted with Econsultancy, 89% of marketing leaders surveyed felt that organic search will drive more revenue for their businesses in the future. That makes a lot of sense, as people have adopted a search-first mindset in their daily lives. Think about it: when you have a question about just about anything, what’s one of the first places you turn? Chances are, it’s Google. On an average day, it’s estimated that Google processes somewhere between 40,000 and 63,000 queries per second — combine that number with searches processed by other search engines like Bing, and well, that’s a lot of people looking for answers in organic search! What’s more, that’s a lot of opportunity for your business to meet potential customers where they are and drive brand awareness without the added pay-per-click costs associated with paid advertising channels.
To leverage organic search for meaningful revenue results, you’ll need to pay attention to SEO — and your website’s overall technical health. The technical foundations of your website — including everything from site architecture to crawlability, internal linking, site speed, page experience, and more — play a big role in getting your site’s content ranked at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).
These days, website optimisation goes beyond just keywords and content. Naturally, Google and other search engines want their platforms to be used as much as possible, so it benefits them to promote high-quality websites with not only great content but also fast loading times and a top-notch user experience. And this matters beyond just reaching the top of the search results and gaining traffic and brand awareness — these technical website health elements can also impact your conversion rates. According to Google’s Mary Ellen Coe, president of Google Customer Solutions, a one-second delay in mobile load times can impact conversion rates by up to 20%.
Ensuring your company’s website meets a high standard across the board is integral if you want to take full advantage of opportunities for cost-effective, website-driven growth.
First, you’ll need to make your website a business-wide priority. The operation of a successful, revenue-driving website is not a one-person job — it generally involves close collaboration across multiple teams and individuals, including marketing leaders, content writers, SEOs, developers, designers, UX professionals, and more. That’s why we recommend taking a broader, more inclusive Digital Ops approach to website management, rather than relying on more siloed Marketing Ops or Dev Ops structures to get the job done well. The cross-functional teams involved in your website’s success need to be able to effectively and efficiently collaborate and share knowledge.
Getting the right people and platforms in place is also key to executing on your website optimisation initiatives. The right website intelligence tools can provide insights into why your website content is ranking where it is in the search results — and will help you pinpoint exactly what changes you can make to improve both search results and overall user experience.
Knowing where your site’s technical health is falling behind is crucial for businesses that want to prioritise their website as a primary organic marketing and sales channel. But being able to monitor and prevent traffic-sapping website mistakes can also save your digital teams a lot of time and expense in the long run. Some robust website intelligence platforms, like Lumar, can provide not only fast and flexible website crawling and technical analytics, but also offer high-level website monitoring tools and SEO quality assurance testing automation that helps businesses take a more proactive approach to SEO and website health.
What’s more, having a shared source of knowledge and data relating to your site’s technical health will help cross-functional website teams work together with better cohesion and improved efficiency, whether individuals belong to marketing, engineering, product, UX, or SEO disciplines. A website intelligence platform that can act as a centralised ‘command centre’ for all things relating to your site’s technical health can also help leadership prioritize their budget allocation with a clearer view into opportunities for needle-moving, impactful website optimisation projects.
Your website’s size will also help determine the best tools for your particular organisation — many eCommerce and news media websites, for example, could have millions of individual URLs, and will likely need a very high-speed, flexible website crawler that is capable of handling enterprise-scale websites as part of their chosen website intelligence platform.
While paid ads can provide a temporary boost to site traffic and sales, they generally come with a cost per click. Organic search strategies, on the other hand, still involve some investment in time, people, platform, and other resources, but can often boast longer-term and more cost-effective rewards. Meeting your customers where they are (and aligning your brand with the needs they are trying to meet in their online searches) has never been more important for businesses that wish to build their credibility, authority, brand awareness, and revenue.
With organic search established as a key driver for multiple business functions, you stand to benefit a great deal from understanding SEO and the greater website intelligence landscape. This includes developing an awareness of the available tools that can provide knowledge, efficiency, and collaborative improvements for your teams. Investing time and effort into building a strong Digital Ops structure within your business and identifying the right website intelligence platform for your needs can provide valuable insights for everyone in the C-suite and enable teams across your organisation to succeed in our search-first age.
You likely have an understanding of your wider business ambitions and bigger-picture strategies that can be influenced to some degree by search results — as such, I would encourage more of us CEOs to prioritise our websites’ health in 2023. Our choices as consumers are driven more than ever by search engines, and with new challenges arising in the digital advertising space alongside the decline of third-party cookies, getting up to speed with the world of organic search and the opportunities afforded by a technically sound website will offer a valuable advantage in the long term.