Having a strong online presence has become more and more important for marketing success over the last decade. However with the current global pandemic, the world of digital marketing has seen an unprecedented boom. In fact, a recent study showed that approximately 80% of consumers turn to online shopping when purchasing goods.
Consumers are wary of visiting shops, with many still shielding to protect themselves and loved ones from possible infection. This, coupled with commercial landlords cracking down on rents and employee reduncies rocketing, has called into question the importance of having a brick and mortar business.
Whether you are operating from a physical retail space, are completely digital, or both, the fact is that competition is fierce on all fronts. And with more and more shoppers hitting the online shopping trolley queues, making sure they know where to find you (and that you’re ranked higher than competitors) is essential.
This is where SEO comes into play. Optimizing your website and social media presence guarantees your visibility to potential clients. The problem for many small businesses is finding the capital to invest in these services. After all, you’ll want nothing but the best for your company – and when it comes to SEO, the best often isn’t cheap.
It’s true that there are other advertising methods you could be putting your money into. However, they simply won’t generate the long-term success that SEO can (if it’s done right, that its).
Here are ten amazing things that SEO can offer a small business:
- It will help new customers find you
Your website may be beautifully-presented and laden with personal touches. However, if it isn’t attuned to the finer details of search engine ranking, it simply won’t show up. Without relevant keywords, headings, meta descriptions, image alt tags etc, your website can easily slip through the digital cracks – meaning when clients run a search for products or pages similar to yours, you’ll miss out on that traffic.
Professional SEO services can check – and enhance – all of these key areas, greatly increasing your chances of showing up in Google search results!
- It will hold your visitor’s attention
It’s often said that while PPC is paid traffic, SEO is organic traffic – and organic products are always touted as being the most sustainable option. This really does apply, especially when it comes to making your website user-friendly.
Pop-ups, slow loading times and confusing layouts are likely to make organic traffic perform a swift U-turn on the digital highway. SEO services will work to improve your website’s usability and keep the bounce rate blues at bay!
- It will improve your website’s performance
Performance is another important factor that SEO can help you with. For example, your website may work great on a desktop, while it fails to inspire when viewed on a mobile screen.
As a small business, you’ll want to attract as many customers as possible. This means your website needs to be as accessible as possible! SEO can help achieve this, and will ensure your website performs beautifully across all relevant devices.
- It will improve your social media presence
Many small businesses have social media accounts on at least one or two major platforms. However, these profiles can sometimes appear to lack finesse, are poorly managed and fail to generate interest. Optimizing your social media presence via SEO will help you reach out to and connect with other businesses similar to yours. Liaising with each other can help build links, which means more leads for everyone!
- It will boost your search engine rankings
Investing in SEO not only ensures your website a spot on the search engine pages – it can help earn you a spot on Page 1 of its results!
Using optimization power moves such as domain availability, metadata descriptions, image alt tags and keywords, can help small businesses rank higher than the competition in search results. This means that every time a potential client runs a Google search using similar keywords to your website description, they’re more likely to find you first!
- It will help build brand credibility
Small businesses, especially in niche pockets of the market, often struggle with initial visibility. If clients don’t know you, chances are that they don’t trust you, either. Even if you’re ranked above a local competitor on search engine results, if your competition has more clout (for example, they may have been around longer), users may bypass your webpage in favour of theirs.
Every SEO feature that is addressed during a comprehensive audit works towards building a website that users can trust. Whether it’s creating a Favicon, building links to your customer reviews in places like Trustpilot, or showing your business directory listings, you name it – it all matters, and it all works together to establish your brand as a reputable option for potential customers.
- It will help you choose a target audience
You may think you have a clear customer profile in mind when framing your sales approach. Often, however, you can be casting your net a little too wide – or vice versa.
Small businesses aren’t often in the position to accommodate every type of client that comes under the umbrella of their target audience. They’re usually operating on a smaller budget with a skeleton team, no warehouses laden with stock, and often only one or two (if any) investors.
All these factors make finding the right initial audience for your product absolutely essential to success. This is where SEO comes in. Choosing specific keywords, phrase and content will help you fine-tune your niche, ensuring that your website is attracting prime leads with the best chance of converting into sales!
- It will help you play the long game – and win
As a small business looking to take off, it can be tempting to go down the quick-fix route of PPC (pay-per-click). While paid advertising certainly has its merits in terms of short-term gains, SEO is all about the ‘slow and steady wins the race’ approach.
The simple fact is: PPC creates a temporary spike in leads, increasing traffic to your website. This kind of promotion can be great for short campaign bursts. However, most small businesses are looking for sustainable client base growth. The organic traffic that SEO brings in will keep on coming as long as you keep updated to agency best-practice standards!
- It’s cost-effective.
Unlike other paid lead generation methods, SEO can actually be a DIY job. There is a wide range of audit tools available on the market, some of which are free to use while others charge a reasonable monthly fee.
Small business owners can run an SEO audit on their own website using these tools, assess areas that need improvement, and act accordingly.
Once you’re able to increase your marketing budget, you can outsource this to an SEO agency, but in the meantime, there’s a plethora of cheap or free options to make use of!
- It will generate leads
This is the most important benefit that SEO can offer budding companies. It’s really a culmination of all the previous points mentioned above. The ultimate goal of SEO is to create leads for your business that your sales team can then convert into customer transactions!
SEO will save you and your employees a wealth of time and effort. When implemented correctly, it can tackle the often-challenging task of drumming up fresh business for your fledgling company.
Once you start getting website traffic, you’ll have a list (however small to start off with) of people who you know for a fact are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. This eliminates the bulk of the grunt work when it comes to marketing outreach!
Let’s be honest: small business owners and entrepreneurs have to work twice as hard as standard corporations to grow their brand. Adding the burden of trying to manage every single SEO element out there is another hassle you don’t need – not mention that, unless you become a search engine optimization whizz overnight, all that effort could prove ineffective.
You don’t have that kind of time to waste right now.
We know that SEO is only going to become more and more crucial to company growth in the future. Digital marketing is a competitive realm, and it pays to think of an investment in SEO services as kitting your company out with everything necessary for success.
It’s true that it can be a struggle to budget for SEO, especially when you’re just starting out and don’t have a lot of capital to spare. However, it might be more affordable than you think!
In the UK, for instance, the hourly rate for an SEO expert can vary between £50 and £200. Most agencies offer monthly plans as well, usually at a base rate of £800 – £1000 pcm. Others charge a flat rate, then base future payments on your lead generation R.O.I.
The most reputable agencies (Pearl Lemon is one example of a company who does this) will let you book a no-strings, free consultation to discuss your needs and help decide on a plan of action!
Whatever package you choose to take on, rest assured that you won’t regret it. Investing in the services an expert SEO agency can offer is the smartest financial move a small business can make!