So just how important is SEO? Fair question even if I'm asking it of myself.
After all we are mostly inclined to believe that SEO is to website traffic as Google Analytics is to measuring such traffic.
Truth be told, and my apologies to Google, the latter is not totally accurate.
How Important Is SEO
So migrating away from Google as a tool to measure traffic (please read Tracking User Behavior to learn more), let's focus on SEO and the role it does and does not play.
Or better stated, the role it can play and cannot. We've discussed this a few times but it's worth repeating. SEO is not the end all. There is no magical SEO someone can perform and in months traffic will skyrocket.
Many want to believe that SEO is the secret formula to growing website traffic. Why? Though it may cost money, there is likely a two-fold reason. First, they can defer blame should results not be achieved.
Second, they can ignore things like content marketing, social media marketing, viral campaigns, user experience and more. In other words, SEO represents a shortcut.
But not so fast. Google is pretty smart. And getting smarter. It's why things like meta keywords are almost irrelevant (not focus keywords, meta keywords, the one's used in the head section of a website). Google no longer relies on them. And in reality all they do is tell your competition what focus keywords you are using.
Quality Is Everything'
To Google quality is everything. Why? Because a quality site speaks to users. It answers questions in a fast, secure fashion. A quality site is relevant, always updated with fresh and insightful material.
When you view your favorite site you have no idea how the SEO is behind the scenes. I highly doubt you open the web inspector and look for "rel canonicals" or other fancy buzz words.
No, you visit that site repeatedly because you like it. And when you do visit you stay often. And likely tell friends.
That's what Google loves. Because that is Google's business. It's like razors and blades. Search in many ways is the razor. An essentially free product. It's the blades where Gillette makes money. Just like Google makes money with paid search for example.
So How Important Is SEO
Very important in many ways. But it's more than likely those sites who do little to no SEO and have great results understand one basic, simple rule. Treat your customers right. Provide them what they need, when they need it in a friendly, articulate fashion.
Those who fail to understand that rule really have no right being in business period. And for some, they rely on SEO to make up for a basic misunderstanding of how business works, and why people buy.
So SEO is important. It can play a vital role in your website success. But it's one leg of the stool. Part of the strategy. Success takes time. There are no shortcuts.