Building your online presence as a small business isn’t easy – especially if you’re not an internet native. You’ll across dozens of strategies and algorithms that will quickly have you questioning the process. The most important of these is SEO. SEO is a long-term strategy that small businesses can benefit from. It that takes time to build, but it will bring your small business results that will help create sustainable growth.
Before conducting SEO an programme, we would highly recommend high-quality web design beforehand, like Pay Monthly Website Design.
We’re exploring what SEO is and why every small business needs to have an SEO strategy. Without SEO, you’ll struggle to build brand awareness and scale your business to the next level. We’re breaking down the importance of SEO for small businesses and the steps you can take to start building your SEO strategy today.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimisation” and is one of the most misunderstood concepts within the world of digital marketing. It’s not a strategy that will make you go viral overnight. Instead, it’s a long-term strategy that will help you scale your business for the future. As a small business, SEO is your best friend and a major tool to compete against larger and more mainstream companies.
While SEO won’t be the only tool your small business will use, it feeds into every aspect of your digital marketing strategy. If you utilise SEO and produce high-quality content, you’ll see a high ROI in sales growth or more clients.
Why SEO is Important For Every Small Business
SEO is about creating organic growth for your company, instead of relying on cost-per-click advertising. As a small business, you may not be able to afford the conversion rate of Google and Facebook advertising. SEO is a more affordable alternative and evolves with your business to help you continue to see results long into the future.
Did you know that 45% of small businesses don’t have a website? That’s the first mistake that businesses make. In the 21st century, you can’t afford to not be online. That’s where your customers are.
Research shows that over half of consumers research their purchase before buying with almost 75% of this traffic going to websites. If you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on putting your product in front of the people looking for it.
As a small business, you can localise your SEO to build brand awareness within your region or city. 97% of people research local companies online when looking for a product or service. The days of relying on ‘word of mouth’ are over.
Even if you’re not an e-commerce business, you need an SEO strategy to promote your company locally. You want to show up when potential customers are searching for your business. If you’re not there, they’ll go to your competition.
But how do customers find you when they go online? That’s where SEO kicks in.
How often do you go onto the second page of Google or your preferred search engine? Probably not all that often. The purpose of SEO is to drive organic traffic to your website by boosting your ranking on search engines. SEO is a multi-layered strategy and focuses on different elements, such as keywords, search terms, and building authority with search engines.
How to Start Building Your SEO Strategy
SEO has lots of layers to it. Your SEO strategy builds on itself throughout time. If anyone tells you SEO is a quick fix, it’s usually a red flag. While SEO is a long-term strategy, it’s the key to sustainable growth for small businesses.
Get your SEO right, and you’ll have a consistent ROI that materialises as higher profit and more clients or customers. It’s important to note that you have both on-page and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO refers to everything on your website – from the meta-descriptions to the loading speed and the images you use. By comparison, off-page SEO is everything that feeds into your website, including backlinks and social media.
A third type of SEO that is often overlooked is technical SEO. It’s the back-end systems that keep your website running smoothing, including its useability on mobile devices. With all of these, you want to be considering your local SEO. As a small business, your local SEO is where you want to excel at.
If you have a small e-commerce business, your SEO strategy will also be tailored for this. You’ll need to include other elements like product description optimisation, category pages, and user-friendly URLs.
Be Aware: Black Hat SEO vs White Hat SEO
As a small business, you want to be aware of the difference between black hat SEO and white hat SEO. The value of SEO to businesses makes it no surprise that there are people who manipulate the system with ‘black hat’ tactics that can do more harm than good.
Google are transparent about SEO – how it works and what doesn’t. If their internet crawlers notice that your website is using black hat tactics, it could spell disaster for your online presence.
What is black hat SEO? It is tactics used by agencies who typically over promise and cut corners.
Stuffing keywords into content in a way that makes it difficult to read is one example. Your content needs to be high-quality to get results but black hat SEO will usually rely on plagiarised material or produce content that relies too heavily on keyword stuffing and doesn’t provide value to the reader.
Links are a way of building your website’s authority online. Instead of developing this strategy organically, black hat SEO agencies will buy links in bulk – the same way they’ll buy Instagram followers.
What your small business needs is white hat SEO. It’s the strategy that understands how the system works and the different pillars of SEO. As a small business, you want to work with a reliable agency that will nurture your SEO strategy and create content that scales your business to the next level. If you want to invest in your company’s future, SEO is a strategy that will give you a return on your investment for years to come.