When you’re a small business, SEO can be a daunting task.
Reading articles talking about the incredible results achieved for businesses whose websites are already bringing in hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors can be inspiring, but if you’ve been writing blog posts and tweaking meta descriptions for months without seeing any results you might start to wonder:
Can small businesses really benefit from SEO when there’s so much competition around?
While it’s true that SEO isn’t always going to be the right choice for every small business, there’s still plenty to be gained by having an effective SEO strategy.
We’re going to take a closer look at some of the reasons why SEO is important for small businesses.
But first, what actually is SEO?
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation and is the art and science of optimising websites to help them appear for relevant keywords on search engines like Google and Bing.
The higher a website appears in these search engines, the more traffic there will be coming to the site, so an SEO’s job is to help get your site as close to the top of the search results for as many relevant search terms as possible.
Most business owners have probably heard of SEO, but very few understand the impact it can have on their business, and how to go about getting started.
It’s not about writing 500-word blog posts or picking a couple of phrases to throw on your product or service pages.
Here are the main benefits of SEO for small businesses.
The biggest advantage of SEO is that it brings a steady stream of traffic to your website.
Around 3.5 billion searches are performed on Google every single day, so it’s pretty safe to assume that your potential customers are already looking for the goods and services you’re offering.
SEO helps you get your website in front of those potential customers.
And because those customers are already searching for the products or services you’re offering, they’re already further into the buying process than the customers you’d be reaching with other forms of advertising.
While it’s entirely possible to drive large volumes of traffic to a website, that’s not the goal of SEO - the focus should always be on driving relevant traffic.
After all, it’s better to have 100 site visitors that want to buy your product than 10,000 site visitors who don’t.
When business owners hear the words “SEO” they usually think of one thing - a blog.
From a business perspective, investing in a blog might seem like a waste of time, but the long term impact a blog can have on a business is huge.
Targeted traffic from blog posts helps Google to establish what your business does, which allows it to get a better understanding of what search terms your site should be ranking for.
An effective content strategy will mean you create content that targets customers at each stage of the buying process, helping to familiarize them with your brand, and putting you top of mind when the time comes for them to buy.
Building this solid foundation of blog content also helps to improve your site’s overall authority, and if you set up things like internal linking correctly your sales pages will begin to show up much higher in the search results for much more competitive search terms.
It’s common for small businesses to see SEO as an expense, rather than an investment, but a quick comparison with a PPC campaign will help to show why SEO can be such a powerful option.
With a PPC campaign, you’ll get immediate, relevant traffic to your website, but that traffic will stop coming to your website the minute you stop investing.
With SEO, on the other hand, although you probably won’t see any traffic increases in the short term, the impact tends to compound over time and your site would continue to bring those relevant users to your site for months, if not years to come. You’re not only generating customers but also building your brand.
Both PPC and SEO have their merits, and more often than not we work with clients who invest in both at the same time - investing in PPC to generate results in the short term while simultaneously working on improving their SEO and content strategy over the long term.
So, is SEO worth it for small businesses?
While there are some instances where it’s not the right channel, most small businesses will see great results from an investment in SEO.
As with all marketing, what works for one business won’t work for another, so while it’s likely your business would benefit from SEO it’s worth speaking to someone about your entire digital marketing strategy to get a better understanding of the channels you should be using.