Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing websites for search engines, like Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
Then the question is of what importance is SEO to small businesses?
The benefits of SEO for small businesses are many and the key among them would be discussed in this guide.
For small businesses, SEO might be a form of digital marketing that they haven’t tapped into yet, but which they should consider to catch up with their potential customers on popular search engines.
SEO can be done at all levels.
But for local businesses, local SEO is what you can use to drive local customers to your products or services via the search engines.
The only thing to do now is to attract their attention and get them to find what they’re looking for.
What makes SEO advantageous for local businesses?
For one, it can drastically improve their visibility in search results. A lot of it has to do with the quality of the web content that is already published on a site.
Search engines like Google recognize websites that are search-engine optimized and user-friendly and essentially “reward” these websites by ranking them on the first page on the SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages based on hundreds of factors.
Google wants to make the search experience as easy as possible for the user.
For businesses, this means that they have to figure out what these factors are and make the necessary improvements.
This is key for them to grow their customer base, boost site traffic, have better conversion rates, establish their brand, and implement effective marketing techniques.
Benefits of SEO for small businesses
No matter how important SEO is in the digital marketing landscape, it is the last thing most small business owners ever wanted to consider. Yet they struggle for customers online but don’t know what to do.
Before your business can gain a massive online presence, you need to know why SEO is important for the survival of your business.
Hence, here are some of the benefits of SEO for small businesses you should know.
Gain new customers
As mentioned, SEO works by improving your website’s ranking to make it more visible and searchable by the users.
With a visible website, this gives you a better chance to attract the attention of search engine visitors, improving website traffic and therefore, gaining new customers.
For businesses that are having difficulty getting people to buy their products or avail of their services, SEO is one of the best ways to fill these gaps.
When Google recognizes that your site is conform to their standards, then they’ll see it worthy to rank on the top spot.
As potential customers search for keywords related to what your business sells/provides, they are more likely to come across your site, thereby reigning in new customers to your small business.
Boost website traffic
In SEO digital marketing, there are different types of traffic, depending on how a site visitor encounters your website.
These types are classified into the following:
- Organic Traffic – Refers to the number of visitors who visit a website after clicking on one of the links on the SERPs, or after searching on your chosen search engine.
- Direct Traffic – Indicates how many of your site visitors directly typed in your website URL into their browser bar. This may also refer to the number of people who clicked on a link to your website through a non-indexable document or email.
- Referral Traffic – Traffic generated through clicks on backlinks on different websites. Link-building is an SEO strategy that focuses on earning or adding more backlinks to your site.
- Email Marketing – Traffic gained from sending out targeted emails to website visitors. This will usually include engaging content that will encourage recipients to visit a link to a specific website.
- Paid Search – The opposite of organic traffic, paid search traffic comes from clicks to paid ads found on search engine results. These will usually appear on the top or bottom of the first page with an “Ad” symbol on the metadata.
Ultimately, you’ll want to drive more traffic to your website through these techniques, and implementing SEO strategies is one surefire way of doing that.
Establish your brand
When people are searching for terms that are relevant to your business, your website will become more visible to them.
If you’re a new business that has just put up its website, local SEO is one way of establishing your brand online.
With brand awareness, it’s much easier for people to associate services and products to your local business. This is also a practical tool to facilitate word-of-mouth marketing, improve customer loyalty, and ultimately generate revenue from sales.
Combined with other brand awareness campaigns. SEO can make your business become even a local household name.
Even just a simple mention of your company name can already be the key to achieve your business objectives and broaden your audience reach.
Better conversion rates
A conversion rate is defined as the rate at which the number of your website visitors are “converted” into customers — i.e., through purchasing a product (e-commerce) or contacting your business number to inquire about a particular service.
This is calculated by dividing the number of actions performed on the page by the number of visitors.
The result is then multiplied by 100 to get the percentage.
In SEO, there are various ways of improving your conversion rates.
This can be done by consistently uploading high-quality content that will be useful for the visitor.
Developing landing pages for example, with the sole goal (Call to Action or CTA) to improve conversion rates and generate leads is also one of the best options.
A small business can outrank its competitors in google search by knowing which methods others are using.
This is done by using tools that help a small business to know which keywords, implemented strategies used by its competitors to rank higher in search results, and increased its organic traffic.
Ranking higher in search results helps a small business to identify which competitors rank the highest using a set of keywords.
Various tools also help small businesses in getting information that will help them determine which part of SEO strategies their competitors are lacking.
To give more insights on how a small business can outrank its competitors using SEO, here are some examples of strategies that can be implemented.
- Content strategy – Creating content regularly is a way for a business to make its online presence attractive and boost its organic traffic. To do this, a business should know their potential customer’s ideal research-based profile through key performance indicators. Using a buyer persona, a business will have an idea of what type of content works best for them and will keep them coming back for further interactions with your business.
- Organic content – High-quality content without the intent of targeting specific keywords is one of the most important things to remember if a business wishes to outrank its competition. Google updates its system frequently to a certain point that it is more friendly to users than the businesses themselves. Therefore, when it comes to sharing organic content, your online presence must aim to focus more on providing information that people are looking for, more than how you could gain profit easily.
- Niche specializations – If your business aims for a specific niche or what your business is all about and its position within a market, knowing what set of keywords are already dominated by larger businesses, works well to rank a business in search engines. To go further on how it works, a small business should know how to make itself different from the rest of the competition and at the same not going too far from its category.
- Cultivate online community – Similar to brand awareness, a community of customers satisfied with a business can establish brand loyalty. However, this strategy requires the business to be proactively building a relationship with the customers. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more are some of the best examples to communicate with your customers.
Overall, a small business will understand its competitors’ methods in ranking itself in Google search.
Utilizing the most out of local SEO will give small businesses the opportunity to arrange strategies that would give them a huge advantage against their competitors.
Credibility and trust with the target audience
Google Search results are frequently the reference of the audience to determine if a website is trustworthy and worth their time to proceed with further interactions.
As I mentioned earlier, finding the right set of keywords for your website contributes significantly in search engine rankings. Having the right keywords also helps you get your target audience who are also your potential customers, before even getting your business into SEO.
It is not a secret that credibility and trust cannot be reliably gained anymore from traditional marketing if a small business wants to thrive on a larger market.
Most of the time when we need information of certain products and services, the first thing that comes to people’s mind are the readily accessible search engines.
It is accordingly important to understand how can a business increase its credibility and trust through search engine optimization.
To do that a small business should first understand the following types of credibility;
- Presumed credibility – As part of measuring a business’s credibility, online users rely often on how big your online presence is in other platforms. Showing to your target audience how big your online presence is, creates an assumption that they will keep as a reference to your website’s credibility.
- Reputed credibility – Essential part of users’ foundation in measuring the reputation of a business is how effectively it had served others. A business can acquire reputed credibility through positive reviews and feedback from a third-party referral such as families, friends, and someone that an online user knows. Their testimonies alone are persuasive enough to build your online reputation.
- Earned credibility – A website’s consistency is another key factor to acquire earned credibility because it shows your audience what your website is all about and provides appropriate information that they need. It will gradually establish familiarity with customers which is what a business is looking for.
- Surface credibility – Impression from the users is also important if a website wishes to thrive using search engine optimization. Choosing the most effective design that will convince the users to engage in your online presence with confidence rather than doubt.
Building trust with a target audience through SEO is a long-term effort.
It will help the website to provide the appropriate information to a target audience most importantly if a website aims at a specific niche and frequent visitors who are looking for information that is essential to their needs.
Once a small business dives into SEO, it will gain access to information on how potential customers behave organically by looking at raw data.
It includes the behavior of potential customers and can be compared to give a bigger picture of how they can work their strategy within a time frame.
Using segmentation, a small business will be able to identify the problems from his SEO campaign, break them down into tangible information that can be analyzed, and help draw conclusions that will help to identify which strategies or decisions that will serve a business best.
Because of segmentation, behaviors of potential customers to your business can be analyzed profoundly by looking at some SEO metrics giving more insights on how customers behave to a business and its competition.
Overall segmentation can give a small business powerful insight into its performance and can be compared to its competitors.
If you own a small business, then you should try as much as possible to learn how to do SEO for your business. This is because, SEO is one of the most effective marketing techniques out there.
Local SEO is the key for your brand, services, and products to become more visible to potential customers online.
As discussed, some of the benefits of SEO for small businesses is to gain new customers at unprecedented rates, increase your conversions, boost traffic to your site, or simply make your brand a household name.
Leverage this marketing tactic to gain long-term and visible results for successful business outcomes.