If you do not already know, SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” That means building your website in a way that search engines will rank you higher than others who own a similar business. This should be a critical component of your business since 95% of customers use a search engine to discover businesses! Quality SEO requires planning and strategy.
The plan takes a combined understanding of what you do as a small business owner, how search engines crawl (search) and rank a page, and what content will capture your customer’s attention and wallet.
The strategy should focus not only on getting your business ranked on Google, but also keeping your customer engaged when they get to your page. It is one thing to write for a search engine, it is another thing to write for a search engine and the customer.
As a small business “local” may be a normal word among your marketing team, for good reasons! Google offers a “nearby” search that allows customers to search for local business near them. These types of searches are becoming more popular every year, especially with smartphones becoming the dominant platform to search on, but here is the really important part. 72% of people that ran a local search actually visited a store within 5 miles of them! (WordStream, 2016)
SEO is critical for reaching your local customers. Quality SEO can put your company on top of your competitors increasing your sales and loyal customer base. The great news is that you do not have to compete with the millions of businesses on Google, you only have to worry about your local area, and no one knows more about serving your area than you. Combine this knowledge with a quality SEO strategy and you will see your sales grow.
There are many traditional marketing methods that are important and necessary depending on what type of business you are, but many traditional marketing methods are very expensive and tracking there ROI can seem impossible. The great thing about a quality SEO plan is that when done right, you can track what kind of return you are getting on your investment, not to mention it can be very affordable (even free if you have some web creation skills) to get started.
Google offers free tools to let you see what kind of traffic is getting to your website and where that traffic is coming from. If you build your website right you can even track leads from forms, phone calls, and clicks that your customers make letting you know exactly where your customers are coming from and where you need to improve.
An interesting thing about Google that many small business owners do not understand is that it is biased toward Google reviews. That means if you have happy customers who want to talk about you, get them to do it on Google! This, in turn, helps your SEO which leads to more customers, and more referrals. Though, If you are not actively managing your businesses SEO and presence on Google this huge opportunity could be completely lost! It is one of the easiest and underused ways to get your business seen. You can even get started right now by visiting Google My Business.
Getting your customers active on the web requires you to be at least a little bit active on the web. A Social Media Strategy can be an even more powerful tool for getting your customers to refer your business and I encourage you to visit our page on Social Media.
If nothing else I have said encourages you to make SEO a part of your marketing plan, realize that your brand depends on it. The description of a “brand” as stated byentrepreneur.comentrepreneur.com is: “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets.”
But what makes an effective brand – recognition, and loyalty. Gaining recognition requires being seen. Since 95% of customers are using search engines, it is more important for your brand to be easily visible on the internet than anywhere else in this modern world. A quality SEO strategy gets your brand in front of the customers you want to know about your brand. The loyalty still comes from where it has always come from – the great quality product and service that only you can provide.