Is SEO important is a question many ask. The simple answer is yes. But to claim it is a holy grail is false.
In other words, though SEO plays an important role in search performance it will not make your site engaging. It will not make your site one that goes viral, generating traffic beyond your wildest dreams.
Is SEO Important
So if SEO will not maximize traffic then why bother? And what will drive traffic? Let's first look at what SEO essentially does.
It helps Google and other search engines know that your site exists, how it is formatted and how frequent it is updated.
It's a jump start to the process of being found. Good SEO makes your site easy to read in terms of structure.
It enables you to focus on crawl errors, duplicate content and more. Things that make it hard for search engines to "index" and "crawl" your site. To learn more about this please read Search Terminology.
So What Drives Traffic
At the end of the day, content drives traffic. Whether it is video, written, audio or some other format, content is king. Please read Content Marketing.
Good content is engaging. It answers questions. And anticipates new questions.
Really good content. The best of the best, emotionally resonates with your audience. It touches them on an emotional level. It moves them in such a way they develop a relationship with the website beyond a simple mouse click. Please read Automated Relationship Building for more.
How Do I know
I've written a number of blogs over the years. Some, where I was less interested in the subject matter and the quality of the content showed. Regardless of SEO efforts, traffic was nominal.
Then I've written about subject matter dear to my heart. In such a way that I spoke to the reader. Though the format was text, I wrote as if I were speaking directly to someone.
I would perhaps take a complex subject and break it down in ways I knew they wanted to hear it. Ways they needed to hear the subject to learn it.
I have one particular blog that I do no SEO efforts on. The blog is a hobby. I may write once a week, sometimes even less frequent. And yet traffic is always there.
SEO is more than putting lipstick on a pig. SEO is equivalent to getting the "pig" listed on match.com where it can be paired with interested parties.
It's up to you, the site owner to make that first impression. And then form the relationship after. SEO helps with your communication. And it helps in making that "first date" happen. But after that it's up to you.
You have to engage. Give visitors a reason to return. And an even greater reason to stake their reputation in referring others to you.
You have to emotionally resonate to truly separate from the nearly billion websites we are all competing with.