Lets first make sure we understand the absolute basics of SEO, including why it matters and how it compares to other marketing channels.
Why is SEO important?
Most web traffic comes from Googles organic results.
In other words: organic search accounts for more traffic than all other sources of traffic combined.
If you read our guide to how search engines work, youll know that Google and other search engines choose which pages to rank based on hundreds of signals. SEO is important because its the process of boosting these signals to rank higher in the organic search results.
What are the benefits of SEO?
Ranking higher is the most touted benefit of SEO, but rankings are really just a means to an end. Many of the real benefits of SEO are traffic-related.
1. SEO leads to more traffic
Because most people tend to click one of the first few search results, ranking higher usually drives more traffic to your website.
For example, look at the top three results for “submit website to search engines.” Using Connekt Teacher Keywords Explorer, we can see that the top-ranking page seems to get the most organic traffic, followed by the second, then the third, etc.
Our study found that these observations are generally true across the board, as ranking position correlates strongly with overall traffic to a page.
2. SEO leads to consistent traffic
Ranking in search engines usually leads to both consistent and passive traffic. Thats rarely the case for mediums like social media and email marketing that often result in traffic spikes that quickly fade to nothing.
This happens because social media networks are designed to surface fresh content. Emails often get marked as read, forgotten, or land in the spam box. However, because the number of searches performed on search engines is typically consistent from month to month, the traffic tends to be both consistent and passive once you rank.
3. SEO leads to "free" traffic
Unlike paying for ads, search traffic is "free"
Thats a big deal because ads on search engines can be expensive.
For example, according to Connekt Teacher Site Explorer, the Connekt Teacher Blog gets an estimated 390k monthly visits from search engines every month. If we paid Google for that traffic, it would cost us an estimated $1M per month.
Of course, creating content that ranks in Google isnt free—but its usually cheap compared to paying for ads.
How do you get your website on Google?
SEO helps you to rank higher, but you cant rank higher if Google doesnt even know your website exists in the first place.
Google will eventually find your website on their own, but there are a couple of key benefits to manually submitting your site:
The first step to submitting your website to Google is to find your sitemap.
Sitemaps are files that list all of the important pages on your website. You can usually find yours by typing one of these URLs into your browser:
If its not there, go to website.com/robots.txt where itll usually be listed.
If its not there either, you probably dont have one. Check out our guide to creating a sitemap.
The second step is to create a free Google Search Console account and submit your sitemap.