The Importance of SEO for Small Business Websites
Small business websites can find it hard to compete against the bigger competition, but there are a few ways in which you can get more eyes on your content with a bit of time and effort.
One of which is through SEO (search engine optimization) marketing. Creating content, optimizing it, and making sure your website is technically sound can help get your website to rank higher on search engines like Google. SEO should be an important part of any small business marketing strategy.
What is SEO?
If you’re unfamiliar with the term SEO, it stands for search engine optimization. It is the process of increasing your content and website’s visibility in search engines through keywords, backlinks, and other factors. This increased visibility means your website will rank higher up in search engine search results and has the potential to be seen by more people.
Why SEO is important for your small business marketing strategy
As a small business owner, it can be hard to figure out where to place your efforts to get the best results. All businesses want to be successful, have tons of traffic, and create a never-ending revenue stream, but that’s easier said than done.
Knowing where to put your money and time can make or break a small business, but one thing that many companies, no matter how big or small, should focus some of their efforts on is an effective search engine optimization strategy.
It’s one of many factors of an online marketing strategy and comes with more than just search ranking benefits.
Related: New to SEO, take a look at my SEO guide for beginners.
1. SEO can increase traffic to your website
Where do you go if you want to find new business tools or find out information on how to do something?
Many would have answered Google or your favorite search engine. You type in a query, and you get a list of results back that the search engine has decided are the best for what you’re searching.
Guess where you want your website to be. That’s right, at the top of those results, or at least on the first page. Get there, and you’ll see a considerable improvement in how much traffic you get to your website.
In fact a number one spot can drive 39.6% CTR (click through rate), compared to a 18.4% CTR for number 2 spot, that’s over double.
How do you rank at the top of Google and other search engines like Bing and DuckDuckGo?
You invest time and effort to write quality content, target specific keywords, and ensure your website passes an SEO audit.
2. With increased traffic comes increased conversions and sales
The more traffic you get to your small business site will lead to more conversions and sales.
Even the least optimized website can convert if you throw enough traffic at it. But with a high converting website design that offers a good user experience, an increase in traffic can boost your revenues tenfold.
To make the most out of your increased views, you’ll want to make sure that you produce helpful, quality content tailored to what people are searching for.
Depending on what action you want your visitor to do, whether it’s capturing an email address to send promotional material to later or wanting them to buy a product, a clear CTA is vital.
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3. Brand recognition and engagement
When a customer searches for a specific term and your business website shows up at the top of SERPs, it creates a recognition that your website is worth taking a look at.
Of course, if they click through from search to your website and can’t find what they are looking for or have a bad user experience (UX), it can work against you. Search engines will be quick to relate that back and drop your page in the rankings.
Continually showing up at the top of search and having useful content, whether it’s a written article, a video, infographic or a specific online tool, will increase your brand awareness with those customers.
With customers more likely to purchase from a brand they know and have confidence in, it’s worth making sure that your SEO efforts aren’t put to waste by producing low-quality content.
4. SEO helps small businesses compete with big businesses
Many small businesses can’t afford to spend thousands on effective paid advertising campaigns, especially if they target a competitive niche.
This is where SEO comes in. It can help level the playing field and give a small business a competitive advantage over the bigger companies.
You’ll be able to target specific keywords with your content and focus on your content strategy to help boost your rankings. Appear ahead of your competitors for your targeted keywords, and you’ll drive more customers towards you and away from them.
Top tip: It’s not always a good idea to compete for head terms (short, broad keywords like ‘SEO’ or ‘SEO Benefits’). Instead, employ a good long-tail keyword strategy (a short term or phrase like ‘The benefits of SEO for small business’) which might drive less traffic for a single word, but combined, provide you with a variety of traffic for your given phrase.
If you’re offering local services or have a local store, targeting local keywords like – ‘oak furniture restorer in Delaware’ can help bring your online traffic to your physical store.
The importance of continuing your SEO strategy
Unfortunately, after you’ve completed an SEO audit, fixed any technical issues, optimized your content, and ranked high on search engines, your work isn’t finished there.
Reaching the top can take months of continuous effort to build your website’s authority with Google and other search engines. Staying at the top isn’t easy either, as your competitors will be trying to find ways to knock you down a rank or two.
SEO isn’t a one-hit-wonder.
It needs you to put the work in now and in the future as new search engine algorithm updates continually change how content is ranked. One day you might be riding high at the top of the SERPs; the next, lost to page 10, never to be seen by your customer base.
You’ll need to revisit old evergreen content to bring it up to date and run SEO website audits to find any broken links, missing meta descriptions, technical issues that can creep in from time to time, and find the keywords your customers are searching for.
Compared to PPC advertising, SEO is a slow burner that takes knowledge, skill, and the right tools to make your life easier and guide you in the right direction.
With PPC, you’ll be able to create an advert, launch it, and see results, but that needs a big budget that many small businesses don’t have. SEO is an effective, budget-friendly alternative that takes time but can drive impressive results for months and years if done right.
Top tip: Trying to manipulate search engines in the short term can have long-term repercussions. Play it safe, do the grunt work and stick to SEO best practices.
SEO Tools that can help with your SEO Marketing
Reading this post, you already should know that having a search engine optimization strategy is important in driving success for your online business.
But how do you get started? And what tools are there to help you out?
If you’re not technically minded or have no interest in learning SEO, then these tools aren’t going to help you. You’re better off hiring an SEO agency or using freelancer websites like UpWork to hire an SEO freelancer.
If you like to get your hands dirty or don’t have the cash to splash on hiring someone, then a few good SEO software choices can help. Here’s a few of the best SEO software to get you started.
Other types of online marketing to consider
SEO is just one strategy to help gain more traffic, retain customers and improve your sales metrics. Combine this with other forms, and you’ll have a well-rounded marketing machine that can help prop up your sales if one revenue stream disappears.
- Email marketing – helps build brand loyalty, gain trust and increase customer retention
- Social media marketing – can increase engagement with your brand, brand awareness, and be used as an effective customer support tool
- Video marketing – diversify your content marketing strategy by creating videos and hook into YouTube, another popular search engine for videos
- Paid advertising – PPC campaigns and other forms of online advertising can help drive traffic, but costs to do well
- Affiliate marketing – let others drive traffic to your website in exchange for commissions
Is SEO important for your business?
I certainly think so.
It’s not easy, it takes time, and your efforts can often feel like they could be spent better elsewhere. Stick to it, though, and in the long term, your SEO strategy will help you gain better brand awareness, more traffic, and more sales.
Focus on targeting those long-tail keywords and concentrate on areas your competitors aren’t. This will help you see more significant gains in a shorter time frame.
Use the SEO tools to see what’s working for your competitors and what’s not to build your content around various informational keywords and transactional keywords that you’re missing out on.
Whatever niche you’re in, whatever type of online business you run, SEO should be part of your marketing efforts from day one. It’s never too late to start, so get out there and make it work for you.
- Best SEO WordPress Plugins – integrate SEO into your CMS
- Fast Website Hosting – a speedy site is better for SEO
- Best Content Delivery Networks – speed up & secure your website