Recently, a new client asked an interesting question: for all the talk about search engine optimization (SEO), what makes it such an important part of a new web design?

Rather than go on and on about online profitability, increases in visits to their company’s pages, greater competitiveness, and other details, we decided to take a different track and answer his question with a question –

why does it matter where a restaurant is located?

For most business owners, the answer is pretty obvious: because if you’re too far out of the way, no one is coming to eat. Yes, you need good food, a friendly staff, and to have a menu that seems like a good value, but those things only matter if there are people coming through the front door. Even the best eatery is going to go out of business if you have to drive hours from town through winding, unmarked roads to find it.

That’s about as good an answer as we could give you when it comes to SEO – without good, optimized content, it’s going to be hard for people to find your website. It won’t matter what you sell, how you price it, or who you’re trying to sell it to… none of that is important until you find a way to attract Internet traffic.

Effective search engine optimization is like taking your business, virtually speaking, from an empty side street to a bustling metropolis. Regardless of what you sell, it can help you bring many times more customers to your front door. In fact, it’s even better than a prime location, since it only brings you visitors who have indicated (by what they’ve put into the search engine) that they have an interest in what you are offering. In other words, it’s not just about getting more potential customers or clients, but better ones at the same time.

If that wasn’t enough of a reason for you to be interested in search engine documentation, consider this: it doesn’t only help new customers find you, but existing ones, too. To go back to our restaurant analogy, what if your favorite place to eat moved to a new location? You might continue to go there if you knew the address, but you also might not – especially if there were dozens of other very similar restaurants you had to drive by to find where it had gone.

Knowing how important it is to bring visitors to your website, the key question might not be why it’s so important to have search engine optimization be a part of your new design, but rather whether any website could even be a good investment without SEO. After all, a business with no customers is sure to be a losing proposition, so doesn’t it make sense to do everything you can to keep the buyers showing up as often as possible?

What it really comes down to it, search engine optimization isn’t just about web design, it’s about marketing – and that’s something every business needs, online or off, to keep the cash register ringing.