I used to think Search Engine Optimisation was some sort of arcane digital marketing wizardry, a mysterious code more difficult to unlock than the Beale Ciphers. Not so! For sure, the well is deep, but you can paddle in the shallows and still reap rewards. So small business owner, how can it help you? Here are our top 5 benefits of SEO for small business. Check it out.
“I know what happens after you die! You… are… found” – Norm MacDonald.
Irrelevant Norm Macdonald jokes aside, the number 1 benefit of SEO for small business is clearly… getting found. A search engine like Google uses an algorithm that operates a bit like a set of rules for a digital popularity contest. SEO best practice is a list of stuff to help you win some much needed popularity. There are 1.7 billion-ish websites, so as they say, if a website doesn’t employ an SEO strategy and no one ever finds it, did it really exist? Yes, but who cares.
Example: The mighty backlink. If another site with a high level of authority links to yours, this signals to the search engine that you’ve got the right stuff.
So, we know SEO can help people find you, but who are those people? Rather than wandering aimlessly into the content marketing wilderness, an effective SEO strategy will teach you to optimise your content for the audience you seek. Target the right audience and you’ll convert more of that tasty, organic traffic into new customers. Don’t forget about your conversion rate!
Example: Good old-fashioned keyword research. Rank for the keywords you want to rank for. Find terms you can compete on and use keyword research to inform the direction of your content. Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past though, remember that quality content is king.
Any successful SEO strategy has user experience at its core. Search engines like Google want to pair users with information that is relevant and helpful. Create valuable content your target audience actually wants, and you will be rewarded in the search engine. An effective SEO strategy will help you identify questions and problems facing potential customers in your market.
Be useful and people are more likely to hang around on your site, click through to other pages, and share your content. Good for business and another way of informing the algorithm that hey, we are worthy.
Example: When creating your content, keep in mind where your customer is in the buying cycle. This will help inform the type of content you create. For example, content you create for people in the discovery phase will be different to those in the decision phase.
A major bonus of adopting an SEO strategy is that, if done right, you’ll learn how to analyse and utilise data. SEO and data analysis are like the Fush and the Chup; made for each other.
If you’re optimising for the search engine, you’ll want to see if it’s working, right? Understanding why (or why not) will then help inform the content you create moving forward. And around and around we go. Analysing data is the next logical step after implementing SEO basics.
Example: Get familiar with Google analytics, a free and very powerful tool. Check out this beginner’s guide to get you started.
If you’re running a small business, SEO lays a foundation you can build off and benefit from long term. It’s about sustainable growth, and for a small business with a small budget, it’s excellent bang for buck. If you get all of your SEO ducks in a row, then when it does come time to put some coin down on an online marketing campaign, you have the content, the data, and the foundation.
Example: The mighty Blog! When it comes to bang for that hard earned buck, blogging is up there. A blog is a way to connect with your audience and build a real following.
So there you are, the benefits of SEO for small business are clear. It’s not a trick, a shortcut, or a hack and you don’t have to do it perfectly from the get go. Even if it’s simply performing some basic keyword research, the point is to start somewhere and build your strategy over time. Do it early, do the basics right, and the payoffs will come as your business grows.
Below you’ll find our free guide to help you get started, but there are plenty of amazing resources out there. Another great place to start is with MOZ. Check out some of their free training. Good luck.