If your small business just got off the ground, you need to make yourself noticed. Frankly speaking, since you’re a small business, you probably don’t have the resources for big-budget marketing campaigns.
This is why you should start small and work with what you’ve got. Internet is a great place to begin your marketing conquests and it’s not so costly at all. Note that, to get the most of the online world and use it as a marketing tool, you need to invest quite a bit of time into learning the magic of SEO.
What is SEO
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. It is the art of ranking a certain webpage on the first page of a search engine’s organic results for a given keyword.
How Does SEO Work
There are many SEO strategies that can help your website get on the first page. However, it’s best that you combine all of them. SEO includes important tasks, such as:
- Keyword research and content creation. This makes sure that the webpage contains the words and phrases you want your website to rank for. Content marketing is its own branch in the digital marketing and might be by far the most important piece of the SEO puzzle.
- Link building. Though open to debate, it is a fact that the more backlinks a website has, the better its chances are to rank on first page. Of course, it all depends on their quality and the quality of the pages that link to your page.
- Competition research. Each word and phrase that is displayed on the search engine results pages has a different competition for you to overcome. So, it’s a good idea to start your research here in order to know with whom you can afford to compete and where you shouldn’t waste your time optimizing.
More detailed strategies come out just about every day and, as long as they are classified as White hat SEO tactics, you’re free to experiment. Of course, nothing stops you from adopting some Black hat practices, though sooner or later the respective search engine will find out about this and give you a severe penalty. It’s also a good idea to pick a few SEO blogs and religiously follow their posts to always stay on top of the latest updates and tips.
Advantages of SEO
There is a whole world of strategies you can come up with when you start your website optimization. The most notable benefits of SEO are:
- The higher the search engine rankings, the more sales. If your website offers a certain product or service and it appears on first page, especially in the Top 3, many people will instantly learn about your business. An increase in traffic can bring you more sales and also move you closer to that sweet top 3.
- It’s free advertising. Honestly, if you know what to do, you can do the whole digital marketing strategy yourself without having to pay anyone. And if your competition isn’t that strong, this will be all you really need. There are cases when you’ll find out that you might need to pay a one-time fee here and there, but it’s still way less than what you would usually pay to freelance marketers.
- Social media engagement. Let’s face it – the whole world is crazy about social media, and that includes your prospective clients. A well optimised web page would be very easy to share on Facebook, Twitter, and every other social media, especially if your website has a blog. Most of the time, you wouldn’t even be the one doing it, but your visitors instead.
- Helps you connect with your customers. In order to get instant feedback about your business, you must provide a comment section, an online form, or a chat feature on your website. You can get to know your customers more easily, find out what works for your business and what doesn’t faster and, ultimately, provide a better service.
- SEO builds credibility. Search engines are basically automated algorithms, programmed to detect high-quality websites. If a search engine decides that your brand is credible, you are certain to stay ahead of your competitors for years on end. In short, it has a long-term effect.
- SEO drives offline sales. In many cases, a user may notice your website but not even click on it. If your website and brand are easy to remember, you will be recognised outside the Internet.
- You can measure it. SEO is not subjective at all. Everything can be measured and placed in a report at the end of the month, so you can easily compare your revenue and see what has changed.
- It’s better than paid traffic. A lot of business owners prefer not to waste their time and simply pay a fee to a search engine so that their website can land on first page. However, we all know that these websites are placed with a tag saying “Ad”. Unfortunately for them, very few people click on ads. Organic search results is what search engine users trust the most.
Disadvantages of SEO
Unfortunately, there are some obstacles that may keep you from performing well in SEO.
- SEO is time-consuming. To get things right, you’ll have to spend a lot of time in front of the computer, doing research on competition, finding the right people to reach out to, and writing your content. In addition, your results will only become visible in about six months, sometimes even later.
- SEO must be learned on the go. If you know nothing about SEO, you will have to spend additional time honing your skills. The good news is that you don’t need to pay for courses as you can find all the information you need online. The best way to learn SEO is by trying every idea you come across. Some would be good, others might be hit or miss, but this is the bumpy road you will have to walk until you can reach your ultimate goal. Once you find what works for your website, things will become much easier with time.
- You might need to hire a whole team to get the best possible results. If you find that you are unable to cope with all demanding aspects of SEO by yourself, you will need a team to do it for you. Bigger companies can afford to hire a whole SEO department with over 40 people.
- Rules change every year. Since its inception, SEO has been constantly changing its rules. You’ll have to subscribe to SEO communities and get information on everything that has to do with search engines. It’s an ongoing process and you will need to know all there is to it.
- To keep expanding, you will have to invest some money. If you managed to keep up with all of this and if you tried everything that does not need any financial investment, you’ll eventually get to a point where the only way to move forward is by getting some paid digital marketing services.
Why Is SEO Important for Small Businesses?
All in all, what did we learn from all of this? Why should we invest our time in SEO? Because:
- Most customers will find you online. The world is getting more digitalised with each passing year and you need to keep up with it. If your brand is easy to find online, your business will thrive and have it fair share of customers.
- It builds your brand. Your brand name is guaranteed to be well known offline, as long as it’s also popular online.
- It’s an affordable option that delivers great results. When you lack the financial resources for paid marketing, SEO is the best tool you have at your disposal.