Are you a small business owner? If so, then you are well aware that managing your business has its fair share of challenges. In the past, these may have been managing healthcare for your staff, complying with government regulations, filing federal income taxes, and managing cash flow effectively, to name a few...
Today, small business owners still have to cope with all of these. However, they must also roll with the punches that come with economic uncertainty. And that’s not to mention having an online presence—a challenge that is unique to the 20th century. Many businesses have found that their success heavily depends on it. That’s because we live in a world where information is available at the click of a button.
For consumers, it is easy. First, they will type a few keywords into their favorite search engine. Within seconds, a list of search results will appear. All that the consumer has to do is click on any one of those links. In no time at all, they will have found what they are looking for.
How about small businesses? That is where things get a little tricky. How will consumers find you? Some customers may already know your website or social media account. However, for your business to thrive, you will need to grow your client base. And for that to happen, you must generate traffic to your website. That is where SEO, or search engine optimization, comes into play.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of SEO services for small businesses, regardless of the state of the economy.
Why Improve Your Small Business’ Search Ranking?
In the previous paragraphs, we talked about helping consumers find your small business. How does your small business compare with the competition? A simple test will show you how. Choose a search engine like Google and type in one of your products or services. Where does your business rank in the search results? Your business is probably there, somewhere.
The truth of the matter is that consumers won’t actively seek you out. Only rarely will a client continue their search to include the second page of results. And there are many, many pages out there. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that your small business is featured on the first page of your search engine’s results—ideally near the top.
How can you get your small business to improve its search ranking? You must have a website that is solid, fast, and user-friendly. You also need to build awareness for the brand that your small business represents. Why? A website that delivers a quality user experience will have a higher ranking in search engines. In turn, more customers will be brought to your site. This can eventually help increase your site’s conversion rates. As for brand awareness, this will give your business more credibility to consumers. Research has found that people are more likely to trust businesses that appear within the first few listings of a search results page.
The Benefits of SEO
Yes, search engine optimization has an important role in building a stronger online presence for your business. Making good use of SEO also helps you stand out from the competition. As a result, your website will attract more visitors. These, in turn, can become clients that will help your business grow.
Let’s talk in further detail about the benefits that SEO can bring to small businesses.
A Better User Experience
SEO is traditionally known for optimizing keywords for search engines. However, the definition of the term has become much broader. You see, SEO is also responsible for improving your website’s readability and user experience. How can you build a user-friendly website for your small business? It should follow an organized structure, have a clean interface, and be free of clutter. Content on your website should also be relevant to your small business.
All of this is done with the goal of keeping a client on your webpage. The longer a consumer stays on your website, the more likely they are to find what they are looking for. This can be achieved through high quality and engaging content, such as sales pages and blog articles.
A Larger Customer Base
Gone are the days where marketing was limited to cold calling and going door to door. Today, your website or blog is one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal. There are good chances that you’ve invested time and money into creating your site. After all, a good website will help you stand out from the competition. Small businesses have found that they have gained customers up to twice as fast as those without a website.
What makes SEO so efficient in terms of marketing strategy is this. Not only is it cost-effective, but it also helps you manage your time better. Why? Because you are focusing your efforts on a specific group of consumers: your target audience. Rather than seek out individuals that might be interested in your product or services, SEO brings potential customers to you! In other words, SEO matches your small business to consumers who are in need of what you have to offer.
Better Conversion Rates
Earlier in this article, we mentioned the importance of readability. Consumers are using the internet across an array of devices: desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and cellphones. A common mistake that small businesses make is developing a website that only works well on a computer.
That is a problem because a growing number of consumers are looking up information using mobile devices. If your website is taking too much time to load, has poor readability, or is difficult to navigate, it will not display properly. This, in turn, will cause visitors to your site to look elsewhere.
Proper use of SEO, however, will grab and retain a reader’s attention. Better yet, it will increase your chances of getting new customers or subscribers.
More Brand Awareness
There is a reason why readers are drawn to lists such as a “Top 5” or “Top 10” of a given category. These lists are informative, easy to read, and help people find what they are looking for. Similarly, a business’ ranking on a search engine result page lists websites that also share the above-mentioned criteria.
Another advantage that comes with being ranked on the first page of a search engine is that it helps people become more aware of your brand. Small businesses that feature on the first page are thought to be more credible. This, in turn, builds trust in your products or services.
Stand Out from the Competition
If you are an entrepreneur who is wondering how you can stand out from the competition, invest in SEO services for small businesses. Research has found that websites that have been optimized attract a greater number of customers than websites that are not optimized. This is true, even if there are other businesses offering similar products and services as you are.
This is great news! Why? The answer is simple. A lot of business owners just don’t consider the importance of SEO, so they ignore it completely. Especially for local service industries, competition can be extremely low. Proper use of SEO will give your small business an advantage over other small businesses. As a result, you will be more likely to attract customers and help your business grow.
Is SEO Worth Investing in Today’s Economy?
At this point, you can see how SEO services for small businesses are essential. Is this also true when the world is experiencing an economic downturn due to a global pandemic? Yes, it is. More companies than ever before are experiencing economic hardship. Therefore, they are looking to cut expenses wherever they can.
Interestingly, it is in your best interests to continue investing in SEO. That’s because this is a long-term marketing strategy. In the next few paragraphs, let us show you how SEO will not only help your small business through this economic downturn. We will also explain how SEO will help your business when life returns to normal.
SEO Helps You Continue Making Money
During such challenging times, some small businesses are faced with no other choice than to close their doors. SEO, on the other hand, will help yours stay afloat. Why? Because search engine optimization is a marketing strategy that can generate income. This is achieved by presenting your website or blog to potential consumers who are in need of your products or services.
This can result in a casual visitor converting into a prospective customer. And if the consumer has found what they are looking for, this can even translate into a returning customer!
SEO Helps You Keep Track of Analytics
Another advantage of using SEO during these times of uncertainty is having a marketing channel that you can track. Our SEO services for small businesses includes keeping track of your website’s conversion rate, generating revenue, or search engine traffic.
This provides your small business with concrete data that will help you keep track of your financial goals. This data also allows you to make necessary changes or adjustments to keep your business listing at the forefront of search result pages.
SEO is an Affordable Marketing Strategy
Let’s compare how SEO costs to other marketing channels such as TV, radio, and print advertising. Running a 30-second ad on TV may cost $5 to reach about 1,000 customers, but that cost doesn’t factor in producing costs which average over $1,500 on top of an hourly rate if using an agency. Producing a radio commercial will also cost about $1,000, and you can expect to pay at least $200 to reach 1,000 listeners a week.
As for print advertising, this can also be very costly. Not to mention that print is slowly becoming obsolete. How about traditional advertising? Billboards, mailing campaigns, and telemarketing have their own fair share of expenses. And if you think pay-per-click advertising can be a good deal, you are partially right. However, it offers you no way of continuing to generate income when you stop paying for it.
What differs SEO from these old school methods is the long-term benefits. With a billboard or TV ad, once you stop paying, the ad immediately comes down. Once you establish yourself on the first page of the search engines, though, those rankings will last a long time with minimal additional investment.
SEO Helps You Connect with Consumers
In today’s world, people go online to find answers to questions or to search for information. The internet keeps consumers connected, where all they have to do is hit the refresh button for news updates in real-time.
Let’s take the global pandemic as an example of this. Everywhere on social media, people will hear about panic-buying, empty grocery shelves, and shopping trends. When consumers cannot find what they are looking for in-store, they will turn to online shopping. The same also rings true when it comes to staying posted on how the virus is affecting industries and consumer services.
As a result, search engines are experiencing an increase in volume, especially with certain keywords. Again, this is where SEO services for small businesses can be helpful. Do you remember how we explained earlier how SEO can be adjusted with changing circumstances or trends? Small businesses can use SEO to their advantage by targeting keywords that line up with the current state of the local economy.