As I work with small business owners who are trying to grow their businesses, they always ask why they need to invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Through this blog article I will unpack some of the key concepts surrounding SEO, and why it is so valuable to every small business.
Perhaps you are "old school" and never felt that a website was a key to your success as a small business owner. But then someone, maybe a customer, maybe your kids convinced you to get a website, and it didn't seem to have made much of a difference to your overall business.
When I hear this from a client, I say to them, what are you doing to get people from the street into your door? Having a website is a great first step, and I always compare it to having a storefront on the busiest highway in the world.
A location with a lot of potential traffic is great, but unless people get into your virtual storefront then you will never convert that potential into sales! This is where SEO comes in. SEO is what takes that traffic in front of your store, and guides them inside where you can talk to them and start building a relationship.
What is SEO?
Moz.com defines SEO as a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines.
How can good SEO effect my business?
Say you are the owner of ABC Construction, a very reputable business that has lots of happy customers who regularly refer their friends and families use your services. So they hop on the nearest computer, or search on their cell phone and search for ABC Construction. But unfortunately because your page is not optimized, they find BCD Construction instead, and hire them for their construction needs. These are YOUR customers that you earned by delivering good service, but you missed out because they could not find you.
So what can I do to improve my search ranking?
Search engines have one simple goal in mind. They want to provide searchers with the most relevant results to their search query. So if you want to rank well, you need to make sure that your site is full of relevant and useful content to the searcher. There are many different things that can be done to optimize your website for search engines.
How else can I use the popularity of Search Engines for my Business?
You can also leverage Search Advertising. Search advertising, also called pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, is a way to advertise your business or product directly on search engine results pages, where the advertiser pays only for each click on their advert.
I will continue the ABC Construction analogy to help explain how a PPC campaign works. When a user searches for construction services in your area, the top spots are auctioned off, and you can bid on the top spot as an advertiser to put your message right in front of them. As with any auction, the more competition you have for that search term, the more you would pay.
Now, there is also one more wrinkle to the auction. The more relevant your webpage is to the search terms or phrase, the cheaper it will cost you to acquire that searcher. A best practice is to include the search terms in the ad copy, as this will let the searcher know that you have what they are looking for, and that you can deliver value to them. In this way, the same strategies that help with SEO, will also reduce your cost in Search Engine Marketing.
I'm not going to lie, and say that good SEO is easy, or that creating a PPC campaign will guarantee sales, but when you invest in these strategies, I have seen first hand how lucrative the returns can be.
If you are looking to increase your search ranking, lower your SEM costs and gain more customers then contact us today for a FREE consultation!
Fishkin, R. (2015, December 18). What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Retrieved February 19, 2016, from https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo
Stokes, R. (2013). EMarketing: The essential guide to marketing in a digital world (5th ed.). Cape Town: Quirk eMarketing.