(If you need a primer on what SEO is, click here!)
If you’re on the Web, you need SEO. If you have a company, you need to be on the Web. Therefore we logically conclude that if you have a company, you need SEO! :-p
Look at it this way: if the only way to find a company was in the phone book (remember those things?) and everyone else was advertising in the phone book and you weren’t – how much business are you going to get? Likely not much.
Right now, there are still a ton of business who aren’t doing SEO for their websites. You can leapfrog light years ahead of them and have your site listed for the optimal keywords to increase your business.
It amazes me how many people don’t even know about SEO, much less how many aren’t do it. They’re leaving money on the table. And when I tell them they should be blogging to increase their business they give me a bunch of reasons why they can’t do that.
SEO, and creating great content, is the best thing you can do for your website. You can outsource this or do it yourself, but I believe the best solution is to work hand-in-hand with an SEO expert; Let him or her handle the arcane stuff, but you need to pitch in as well. This is because no one knows your business as well as you do, and you’re likely the best candidate to write content about it.
If you’re not doing SEO now, you can survive online – depending on your niche. But in the future, as people get more and more savvy about how the Web works, you’ll be dead in the water if you don’t do SEO. Google keeps getting better about weeding out the spammy sites, but the grey and black hat SEOs – the spammers – keep adjusting their tactics as well. It’ll be a constant arms race between Google (or its successor) trying to get better search results and those who want to game the system.
You have to play the game to be in the race.
If you’re in a competitive market, you need SEO even moreso. Lets say you’re an auto dealer. Your competitors are spending tons on SEO. They likely either have someone on staff constantly doing backlinking and adding content. In the case of the major dealers have rings of websites with tons of content that have become high domain authority sites – and they’re all linking back to dealers who pay for their service. (The MOPAR dealers and GM brands I know for a fact do this.)
It’s the wild west on the Internet still, despite the fact that it gets more regulated by the day. However, in SEO terms at least, there are no police except for the search engines themselves. If you don’t do anything to trigger their filters and get blacklisted, you can do whatever you want. The auto market is huge and these guys are spending TONS of cash to help their dealers dominate the search rankings.
More and more, people are becoming used to searching online to find things. The older generation might mainly still turn to the phone book or other means. Baby boomers, they’re pretty hit or miss as to what they do to find things. Generation X has pretty much had internet most of their adult lives and are used to searching online. Gen Y, hell it’s just part of their nature.
So as time goes on, searching for things online will become even more relevant, even more money will be dumped into SEO. You can get on board now or play catch up later. Your business will HAVE to compete online, will HAVE to do SEO to be relevant.