Search engine optimisation (SEO) is all part and parcel of owning a website. SEO is so crucial to the success of your small business website (and subsequently the success of your enterprise) that it's something you should be planning out about before your site is published. When you consider SEO while developing a website, you will end up with a product that is intuitive, as well as fast. Site speed and delivering a great user experience are two critical factors for Google ranking.
In 2020, a well-optimised site is essential to increasing revenue and attracting new customers. However, many small business owners have yet to realise how digital marketing, and SEO, can help with growth.
Regardless of the size of your marketing budget, a portion of it should be funnelled into improving your SEO for small business strategy. Your website can always do better in the search results. There are always new keywords to target, new content to create, and old content to update and improve. You can also be sure many of your competitors are actively engaging in SEO and trying to outrank you.
There's a lot going on behind the scenes in small business SEO. You have on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO, and there are probably a lot of terms that are new to you. And if you are venturing into e-commerce, things can get even more complicated.
Your first goal with SEO for small business is to set out what you want to achieve and then work on developing a strategy that will help you reach your goals.
If you're still wondering about the value of an SEO strategy, then we've got ten excellent reasons why you should add it to your marketing strategy as soon as possible.
With traditional advertising, you can be sure there's a large portion of readers who are not interested in your message. Things are a little different with SEO. People who come across your site in the search results are actively researching a solution, or looking for information or a product your company can provide.
When your site is optimised for the right keywords, you will be getting your business in front of customers when they need you the most. If you aren't ranking for the keywords your prospects are searching for, you will have no chance of attracting highly lucrative Google traffic to your business.
Increasing organic traffic is the goal of every SEO marketing campaign. Organic traffic refers to any visitor who arrives at your site through a search results page link that is not from paid advertising. Traffic is the lifeblood of any website. Without it, there's not much reason for a site to exist.
Traffic is valuable for many reasons, and not just because of its potential for attracting new leads and increasing conversions. The traffic flowing through to your website from the search engines can provide you with key insights, including:
* Indicate how well your marketing is working
* Create valuable data about how your audience behaves on your site
* Improve your site's authority
When SEO is done right, the visitors landing on your web pages are more highly qualified than those arriving from paid ads, or traditional marketing campaigns. As we mentioned previously, searchers are actively researching a solution, which means they are more likely to be in a buying frame of mind.
Increasing brand awareness is about being more visible in the marketplace. When searchers consistently see your name on the first page of the search results, your brand becomes more visible, and it will be the one people are most likely to think of when considering products or services related to your industry.
SEO can be a great equaliser, as even smaller brands can easily outrank larger corporations with a well-optimised site and proper keyword research.
Small businesses operating without a website are putting themselves at a considerable disadvantage. Sixty-eight per cent of online activity starts with a search, and almost 93% of search traffic is delivered by Google services, including Search, Maps, Images, Google My Business, and YouTube.
All these numbers add up to missed opportunities if your SEO is lacking. Plus, you can be sure that many of your competitors are siphoning off new business from the search results.
Quite often, small business owners will state they don't have time to run a website, let alone invest in an SEO strategy. Unfortunately, it's a costly mistake to ignore SEO, which should be considered an investment rather than a liability.
A well-run SEO campaign can provide one of the best returns on your marketing dollar, as well as significantly improve your market exposure and attract new leads.
SEO strategies often result in a conversion rate of around 15%. Traditional advertising campaigns are considered successful when conversion rates score around 2%. What these numbers tell us is that searchers on Google are eager for a solution to their query, which indicates they have higher transactional intent and are more likely to become a paying customer once they click through to your site.
Google has built its business on providing a great user experience, and they expect the same from the sites they feature in the search results pages. Websites that don't deliver an excellent user experience lose their ranking power and are quickly replaced with those that do.
Google uses many on-site metrics to determine if your site is providing worthwhile user experiences. If the search giant finds your website lacking in any way, it will soon penalise it in the search results, most likely to be replaced with one of your competitors.
As well, a visitor who has a pleasant experience on your website is more likely to convert because a usable site is a trustworthy site.
SEO for small business strategies require an investment of time and money, but once you are rewarded with a front-page ranking, it's possible to retain that position for years to come without significant further investment.
Compare that to traditional advertising or paid digital marketing, where the traffic dries up once the paid ads have run their course.
The first search engines weren't all that sophisticated and could easily be gamed by those who knew how to take advantage of their flaws. Times have changed, and it's now a lot more challenging to rank a site by 'cheating' the system.
Google's algorithm is now sufficiently advanced that it can sift out the rubbish sites from the quality and consistently deliver relevant results for searchers. Websites that do manage to rank by breaking the rules, rarely do so for long.
When people trust Google's results, some of that trust filters through to the sites that are featured on the first page of the search results. After all, if Google trusts you, then you must be worthy.
It's now almost effortless to measure your SEO results. Google themselves provide an invaluable tool for website owners which offers a seemingly endless stream of metrics that can show how well your SEO efforts are paying off. There are also many free and paid tools available that can provide even more insight.
These tools can show you what keyword phrases are bringing in the most traffic, new keywords you should be targeting, and how people are behaving once they land on your site. You will also see which pages are performing the best and mobile and desktop issues that need to be rectified.
The devices people are using most to find your business are also shown. In the right hands, this sort of information is extremely valuable for fine-tuning and improving your SEO efforts and bringing in even more organic traffic.
Businesses that focus on improving their SEO efforts will be the ones most likely to succeed in 2020 and beyond. By continually working on your SEO, you will enhance your customer experience and gain Google's favour as a valuable resource for people using its search engine.
People who arrive at your site via the organic search results are there because they are intensely interested in your offer, which means SEO is uniquely positioned to provide one of the best ROIs over any other marketing strategy.