Why is SEO Important?

Search engine optimisation (SEO) may be the most important way to market your website/business online. This is because, currently, over 80% of all online traffic is achieved through the various search engines. A good ranking for a popular search term (keyword) can bring you thousands of visitors a day.

Today’s search engines operate a lot like the telephone directories of generations past, only on a much larger scale. Through just a simple search on Google, one is able to find thousands of businesses. The scale of it all means that it can be difficult for one to compete with all the competition. A business that relies on the internet to get customers, or hopes to do so, must think about how to ensure that they can be found easily through the various search engines. This is why SEO is that important.

The good news is that the overwhelming majority of Kenyan websites have largely ignored SEO completely. One wonders why…. This means that an opportunity exists for local online entrepreneurs to quickly outmatch all or most of their competitors. A small business in the offline world can suddenly become the leader in the online realm. I do not know how much longer most Kenyans will ignore SEO but as long as Kenyan web designers know only how to make beautiful sites (and not how to make them work and succeed), then even the simplest application of SEO principles will mean that everyone can compete with the ‘big boys’. Everyone can become a big boy, even if only online. Nice, eh?

In more developed countries where the internet is much bigger, SEO is damn expensive, and competitive – because everyone is doing it. But here, it is still relatively easy to rise up the search engine rankings. You do not even have to spend any money.

We recently reported that Like Chapaa had achieved some SEO success. This really boosted our visitor numbers. At that time we were ranking 5th for the search term, “make money in Kenya“. Now, we are ranked second, as you can see below. It is interesting to note that we have not actually spent any money on SEO – our rise has been totally ‘organic’.

Like Chapaa on the Google gravy train. Click for a larger view.

Moving from 5th to 2nd has had an almost unbelievable impact on the number of visitors that we get to this website. You’d think that the effect would be linear but it not even close to linear – our visitor numbers have just shot up exponentially! This makes me think of something I once read concerning the law of accelerating returns as applied to SEO: if you rank number #1 for any search term, you get as much as approximately 10 times more visitors than the #2 rank, who gets as much as ten times more than what the #3 ranked site gets, and so on. Sounds crazy? I thought so too, many moons ago, but now I believe that this theory may, in fact, be reality.

What’s the lesson here? Don’t you dare ignore SEO. In fact, if you are looking to carry out any sort of online marketing campaign then you better think hard about making SEO the center and main focal point of your efforts. At the very least, it is cheaper than anything else and usually it has the highest and longest last yield.

What do you think? We love getting feedback. 🙂

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  1. Hi,
    Great article! The topic is quite relevant to the emerging number of webmasters. But how can one capture relevant kenyan keywords that kenyan surfers use?
    This might be a little off topic but I’ve been dying to ask you.
    What forums, chatrooms and blog communities can one find a high number of Kenyan users who frequently discuss various issues?
    I think these places are suitable for finding a niche that is relevant to the kenyan webspace.
    If you can also suggest offline research place ideas it would be much appreciated. Thanks Kelvin.


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