SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization and is likely one of the most misunderstood and underrated terms in the world of marketing. Small business owners ignoring the benefits of SEO is rather unfortunate because SEO has a very viable marketing strategy that can generate more qualified leads for your business. Studies have shown that SEO has a better ROI when compared to other traditional forms of marketing such as TV and print ads.Like most marketing methods, SEO isn’t exactly a magic wand but it certainly provides your business with the required visibility, branding, web traffic, a high ROI, credibility, and insight into customer behavior. Let’s discuss each of these in turn, as well as what you must do to have a higher SEO ranking as a small business owner
SEO improves Business Visibility and Branding
When people search for your business name, products, and services, you want to appear as high in the search engine rankings as possible. Because who really has the time to click page 10 of the search results on Google? However, the reasons for striving to appear high up on the search engines are more than just because you want people to click through to your website. In fact, there is a certain amount of value attached to simply appearing in search results for terms directly related to your business.
Let’s take you for example, when you search for a keyword like “Pizza” perhaps and site “A” pops up in the first five results, then let’s say you refine search at some point to “How to throw a pizza party” and site “A” pops up again, if you rephrase your search to “How to make crusty pizza” and site “A” pops up yet again, you would instantly make site “A” your go-to place for all things pizza. So what does this mean for your business? It means that if you can continually show in all the search results relating to your business that you would be gaining more and more mindshare with each potential customer. Chances are very good that they will eventually click through to your website, and since you continually displayed in all their search results, they will trust you that much more. Which brings us to the next reason why SEO is important for your business?
SEO Give Credibility to Your Business
Like we said in the last key point; if a site “A” continuously pops up it becomes your go-to site for all things pizza. Searchers naturally make mental notes of the rankings for the terms they search for on Google and other search engines. The searchers…this means you and I may not consciously realize it, but we do memorize our sites. Ranking tops of Google search engine for your niche is a vote of confidence. It’s more like “Google says this business is cool, so yeah I’m giving them my money” This may sound a little far-fetched, but think of it like this: back in the days of the yellow pages (if you weren’t born then…these were lifesavers…you have no idea), if you were looking for a plumber, you would feel more confident in calling the guy on the first page instead of the guy on the seventh page of the listings. Your customers and in some cases, you may not realize it, but high search rankings make you more credible in their eyes.
SEO Brings Traffic to your Business
Okay, it’s true that by itself, traffic is probably not going to earn you a lot of money. But would you rather have your store set up on a backstreet in Davenport, Iowa or right in the middle of Times Square? All those people walking around in Times Square day and night by themselves aren’t going to just give you money for free, but there is a chance that a few of them will eventually patronize and become your customers. Just as it is with our analogy of Times Square, you certainly have to put in your best effort to sell to your customers once they are on your website, but the task of selling is a whole lot easier when you are doing business on a crowded street corner than it is when your shop is on a deserted island.
Oh and even better is the fact that SEO is usually a better, more affordable deal than store leases in Times Square. More importantly, your site visitors are almost all qualified leads… they didn’t just stumble on your site, they were searching for businesses like yours then they found you, so they already have a need or interest in your products or services…which brings us to our next point.
SEO has a much better ROI’s than traditional Advertising
SEO has more rewards for your business for the efforts you invest in it at a higher rate than the traditional forms of offline advertising — the same can also be said for almost all types of internet marketing. This is basically because SEO is an inbound marketing strategy; this means, it allows you to sell your services and products to people when they are looking for what your business provides.
You don’t have to put up adverts on their TV and then interrupt their favorite TV show (which from a personal perspective, I never buy anything that interrupts my shows); neither do you have to take up space on a page where they are reading a news article. You just show up when they are looking for businesses like yours. You don’t have to struggle with the task of convincing them that they need your product or service; you just have to convince them that you are the right person in the business to purchase from. In other words, with SEO, half the battle is won before it even starts.
SEO Gives You a well informed Insight about Your Customers
As we have previously established in this article, SEO generates valuable traffic. This traffic is in turn tracked by an amazing tool called Google Analytics tracks. The data and metrics of Google Analytics are valuable because they give you a well-rounded insight into your customers: how they search, how they browse, the language they use, the technology they use, the region they live in, the days they are most active, the times of day they are most active, you name it. This is extremely valuable because it can help you make more informed decisions regarding your business and its strategies, both online and offline.
In our fast-paced, digital world, few things help small businesses the way a local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can.
Search engines may get better, but that doesn’t affect the importance of SEO. Your business will lose out to competitors if you’re not working to keep it in the public eye.