SEO is a topic that creates debate in both the marketing world and among small business owners. Some people think that SEO is the same as it was 20 years ago: tricking search engines into delivering content that may or may not help the user. It is true that during the early days of the internet, SEOs manipulated search engines to benefit them. Now, search engines have many rules in place to weed out bad websites. They encourage SEOs to optimize websites that will deliver a better user experience. Another assumption is that SEO is “automatic” and does not need any strategy or attention. This assumption is incorrect, also. Small business owners who think that SEO is “automatic” and they do not need any type of SEO strategy, are making a major mistake. The primary intent of SEO is to increase search engine visibility while showing helpful content to the right users. A third assumption is that since WordPress can create SEO-friendly web pages, this is sufficient to drive traffic. Although a lot of CMS create SEO friendly web pages, this doesn’t help a website stand out among other websites on a similar platform. Many small business owners quickly discover that SEO needs to be an ongoing strategy that requires significant effort put into it. Without SEO, customers are not able to find your business. Businesses in highly competitive fields suffer from not having an SEO strategy, particularly.
Why Do I Need SEO?
The most important reason why SEO should be a small business marketing strategy is most searches produce organic results. Since a significant portion of searches come from organic searches, this means that your ROI is higher. Why would you miss out on an opportunity to reach such a large audience? Web sites with the highest traffic are using SEO strategies to beat out their competitors. If you are not capitalizing on this strategy, you might not be able to compete against your competitors.
Learn more about Why Small Businesses Need SEO.
SEO Takes Time But Its Effects Are Long Lasting
A concern many business owners have about SEO is the length of time it takes to be effective. SEO strategies take longer to be effective but the effects are long lasting. Some strategies, like email or paid search, stop being effective the moment you end the campaign. The traffic and rankings you gain from SEO last longer. You can think of SEO as a traffic investment that may not show results immediately but will result in higher traffic over time.
In addition, SEO attracts a specific group of users. SEO campaigns usually target long-tail keywords, which are phrases that users type when they are looking for a very specific service or product. What this means is that the users that you will attract will be users who are closer to contacting you or purchasing your services. The closer the users are to contacting you, the more likely they are to purchase your product or service. This strategy results in more sales, more quickly for you, over time.
SEO Spreads The Word
Without SEO, search engines may not know what your website is about. Your brand name may mean a lot to you, but without context, search engines have no understanding of your brand. There are traditional marketing methods that can be used offline to attract an audience. Using the internet is much faster, however. SEO can help you rank high for your brand in search engines. SEO will associate key terms with your brand, also. As a result, this will increase traffic and attract users to what you do best. The internet is a general resource and tool. Other websites might discover your website through search and give you some exposure by linking to you. Search engine visibility could lead to your website becoming known as an authority in your field.
The Internet Presents Many Choices
In the digital world, there are many choices and brands to choose from. Users like to compare different brands and investigate brand reputation before they make purchases. Directory sites such as Yelp, YellowPages, and Manta have grown in popularity to meet the demand for business reviews and word of mouth. If a business isn’t monitoring their reputation online, this can result in decreased sales. Online review sites can be an indicator of a business obstacle or oversight. Customers are more likely to go online to write a bad review, rather than writing a good one. They are more likely to write an anonymous review online than call a business. This makes monitoring online reviews even more important. SEO can help you gain control of your online reviews. You can create online review site profiles and encourage customers to leave reviews on them. Learn more about How to Get More Customer Reviews.
SEO Means Measurable Progress
Many business owners are skeptical of digital marketing, with their primary complaint being “How will I know this is effective?” A good SEO agency can give you metrics and reports so you can measure the progress of your campaign. You could track the statistics yourself, but this would take money and time to setup. Most SEO tracking tools cost a subscription that may cost more for you individually, than if you went through an SEO agency. You can use an SEO campaign to track your progress against your competitors. In addition, you can discover new competitors through many SEO tracking tools.
In business, knowledge is power. Small business owners may not have all of the information they need to attract customers consistently. One overlooked the benefit of SEO is it can help business owners discover how customers are finding businesses similar to theirs. During SEO competitor research, competitor lead sources are discovered and other lead generation sources. This can be a more effective way of finding customer lead sources than using traditional marketing methods.
Early Bird Gets the Worm
Not only do small businesses need SEO. It is important to consider when the SEO strategy is being implemented, too. Ideally, the strategy should be considered before the website goes live. There have been many circumstances where a website was developed without attention to SEO. A result of this is the website design might not be easy for search engines to scan. Another result is the website might not be user-friendly. When this happens, it may take significant time and money to redesign the site to be SEO friendly. It is advisable to think about SEO before the website is developed, even if the strategy does not begin until later on.
As you can imagine, increasing visibility and making sure your rankings are attracting valuable traffic is no small feat. There are many factors to consider when brainstorming and maintaining an SEO strategy. One thing is for certain: without an SEO strategy, your competitors may leave you in the dust. It is so common to have SEO strategies these days that there are many conferences dedicated to the topic. There are many benefits of SEO, as outlined above. You can try to take this on yourself. There are many SEO resource pages on the internet that can get you started. However, many small business owners quickly discover that SEO work takes significant effort that they may not have. In this case, you will want to contact a digital marketing agency like Momentum to run your SEO campaign.