Why SEO is important for small business
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing term that is often misunderstood or often ignored. Defined simply, SEO is the way that search engines indexes, or evaluates, your site resulting in where you appear on search engine results pages (SERP’s). SEO is a method of internet marketing that, when implemented into your overall marketing strategy, can be highly beneficial for all types of businesses. The main aspects of SEO involve content marketing that delivers relevant and interesting information to your current and potential customers. This means that your website needs to have content that is of interest and is relevant to the reason that one would find your site. Sounds good, right? SEO is not internet voodoo or magic, but can be accomplished by following some important rules and principles.
1. SEO helps you achieve higher ranking on search engines (which helps you reach your target market)
Basic search engine optimisation (SEO) is very important to the start of any online branding. SEO helps position your site properly to be found at the most critical points when people are searching for your products or services.
The fundamental goal of SEO is to:
- Create a great, seamless user experience
- Communicate to the search engines your intentions so that they can recommend
I read a good article that said to think of your website as a layered cake. SEO is the filling that binds the layers of the cake together. The layers of the cake are made up of:
- Your first layer is the Content
- Second is Information Architecture
- Third is Platform/CMS (such as WordPress, Drupal, HTML5, etc)
- and last is Infrastructure
Links and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), through things like Adwords and PPC, act as the icing on the cake! NO one wants to eat cake without icing. All of these layers, filling, and icing make the cake. Without them it would be boring or just fall apart. The SEO not only adds that sweet filling between the layers, but it also binds the website to the search engines. As great as technology is, search engines aren’t human and can’t interpret what is not there. They can’t see that cute cuddly orange striped kitten image for what it is, unless the keywords, title, and alt tags are there to describe it to the search engine. Even so, search engine algorithms are designed to have preference. They want that pristine, well baked and well designed cake, with clean code and infrastructure over one that was sloppily designed with no SEO to describe content.
So basically if you don’t have a well formed cake, and it looks sloppy compared to another, which one are you going to eat first? If you have a website that is poorly developed with sloppy HTML and no structure, compared to one that uses current semantic coding standards and conforms with W3C, the search engine will prefer the latter. Which do you think the search engine bots will rank higher?
What we learn from this is that you can have a pretty website on the outside, but if it isn’t developed properly, utilizing web standards and SEO, the search engines may still give it a lower rank and you may not reach your potential market.
2. Cost-effective marketing with trackable ROI.
Small businesses sometimes run on a small budget. Marketing often gets pushed aside because it is hard to track ROI. However, with SEO campaigns through Google Adwords, social media, or email marketing, it is easier than ever to track analytics. The best thing about such campaigns is you generally only pay when someone clicks on your ad or promoted post, so you only pay when it works. Also, you can set a daily budget so that you don’t exceed your limit.
SEO is an inbound marketing strategy; that is, it allows you to market to people when they are looking for the products and services your business provides. You don’t have to interrupt their favorite TV show, you don’t 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.
—First View Online
If you have a good landing page that is relevant to the ad they clicked, they will most likely stay on the page and browse, possibly even make a phone call, bookmark your site, or make a purchase.
SEO has proven to have a better and more easily measured ROI than more traditional marketing such as direct mail and printed ads. Analytics play a huge part in tracking ROI – make sure you have Google Analytics tracking on your website.
3. Branding, visibility, and credibility.
SEO gets your website and information in front of people. When people search for products or services similar to yours, you want your business to be seen, right? Well, search engine optimization is the best way to get there. If you decide to use Adwords, a campaign that uses multiple ad groups and keywords will help your site show up in as many searches as possible. Having a good ad rank will allow your site to show up on either the top or right hand side of search pages. Those positions are more likely to get clicked. If Google tells a person searching that your website is relevant to them, you just became more credible!
4. Content, content, content!
Many businesses simply don’t have the time to maintain a social media presence, blog or even their own website. However, good search engine rank requires dynamic content that is not only relevant to your audience, but also constantly updating. Websites with static, unchanging content will be penalized by search engines by getting a lower rank than other sites that are updating often through blog articles, social media, and adding content. Today, searchers are looking for interaction and if they see no updates or changes, they may pass by for a competitor. Another advantage to posting to social media and blogs, is that your viewers will share your content, which creates backlinks to your site. Quality backlinks increase credibility and rank as well. Make sure you stand out from your competition by maintaining your website content and growing those backlinks.
There are many more aspects to SEO, which we will expand upon in future articles. To summarize, for small businesses, SEO is an excellent marketing strategy because it is effective, easy to track, and it drives traffic to your website. Forbes Magazine says that investing in SEO is “more important now than ever before.” Most of the world is online, that is where you will reach the mot potential customers, so do your best to increase your online presence!