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Small-to medium-sized businesses have familiarized themselves with internet marketing out of necessity more than interest. However, SMBs have also started to see returns on their investments, which inspire future experimentation across today’s most lucrative channels. ContentLEAD recently reported that web users conducted approximately 20 billion core searches in May 2013. People turned to Google most often for information, followed by Bing and Yahoo.

Despite 66.7 percent of searches taking place on Google, and dozens of name brands turning to content marketing for revenue growth, many organizations still fail to understand how SEO fits into their business models. In fact, SMBs may not understand just how effective website content can be for generating website conversions.

Organic conversion rates trump direct returns

Slingshot SEO’s August 2012 infographic highlights some key points about today’s online conversion paths. The graphic’s main thesis: organic search is the most commonly used channel along the path to purchase, yet it is highly undervalued among businesses in every vertical. More, Slingshot SEO also noted that businesses dedicate too much time and money to optimizing web experiences for direct search. Organic discovery occurs 15.8 percent more frequently than direct.

SEO Drives Organic VisibilityIn addition to organic website content discovery being an undervalued behavior, the source found it’s the most effective channel for driving conversions, no matter the industry. The data shows that organic-to-organic generates a 17.9 percent conversion rate, nearly 12 percent higher than any other pathway evaluated by Slingshot SEO.

SMBs must improve SEO to see organic success

SMBs that want to increase referral traffic back to their websites in order to engage prospects and generate sales leads must discover how to improve the SEO value of their blog content and web presences. Consumers actively turn to search engines for a variety of purposes, but hundreds of companies fail to capitalize on engagement that takes place on a regular basis.

Business owners that want to improve the likelihood of showing up in more organic search results must produce a balanced volume of custom content for the web. While daily blogs and news articles can attract consumers looking for trends and tips, SMBs that build landing pages for their core offerings will also appease a different audience – one perhaps more likely to convert. ContentLEAD reported that only 42 percent of SMBs focus on creating effective landing pages, compared to 67 percent of medium-sized and 64 percent of large-sized organizations.

To produce the type of conversion rate outlined by Slingshot SEO, SMBs must take SEO seriously, and write content for the web with the end user in mind.