It’s generally a great thing how possible it is to get an online business up and running these days. There’s a world of possibility out there for entrepreneurs with a solid idea, an appealing website, and an airtight business plan. However, the challenge then becomes ensuring your company can stand out from the crowd to attract the attention of the right people.

The question then becomes: How can I market my small business effectively online without breaking the bank? While it’s not possible to compete with the massive ad spends of giant companies, there are absolutely affordable tactics you can employ to get your business noticed — like search engine optimization (SEO).

As of 2020, only about three out of 10 small businesses said they were harnessing SEO — meaning about seven out of every 10 small companies were not. This means there is still lots of opportunity to use this strategy to differentiate yourself from a majority of competitors.

There are many reasons why your small business website needs SEO, but here’s a rundown of some of the top benefits.

SEO Best Practices Boost Website Usability

Want to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak? Following SEO best practices for your website’s functionality and content actually ends up increasing its appearance and user-friendliness all around. This means when people do visit your website, they’re able to easily navigate its controls and find, then digest, its content — all in an appealing, professional package.

What is the result of making your website the best it can be according to SEO principles? Your trust and credibility increase in the minds of visitors — and in the eyes of search engines, further bolstering your SEO rankings over time.

SEO Suits Any Marketing Budget

There are a few different options for how to tackle SEO for small business websites, ranging from doing it yourself to hiring an outside contractor or agency. How you approach your SEO efforts will, of course, affect the price tag, but the fact remains that some degree of SEO is possible for any marketing budget — even the shoestring budget of a sole proprietor running a start-up out of their home.

SEO remains cheaper, on average, than outbound marketing tactics — to get started really only costs the time it takes to research tactics and implement your findings. According to one expert for Forbes, some affordable SEO strategies include:

  • Keyword research: Determine which keywords are the highest quality to your SMB, then design your website and content around trying to rank for them.
  • Content marketing: Create content — both written and visual — incorporating your keywords, cross-posting it on social media for maximum effectiveness.
  • Monitor rankings over time: Track how your website is ranking for your most important keywords over time and make adjustments as needed.

Taking the time to learn and implement SEO tactics can help you optimize the effectiveness of your marketing budget without having to shell out hundreds or thousands toward paid ads right off the bat. At some point, you may decide to outsource SEO efforts if you become too busy or want to bring in experts, but even this option can exist as part of a modest monthly marketing budget.

SEO Connects Your Site with Relevant Customers

As exciting as it is to see your website traffic grow, what matters at the end of the day is that you’re seeing relevant visitors — those who are genuinely seeking out the products and services of your company, either on a fact-finding mission or to actually make a purchase.

As Moz outlines, SEO has the power to boost the quality of the organic traffic your website receives. So, it’s not just that more people are visiting your website; it’s that people who are searching on a specific, relevant keyword are directed to your website — maximizing the chances they’ll be interested in what your company has to offer.

Furthermore, SEO allows you to avoid mix-ups and confusion as to what your company actually does, which can result in people visiting your site only to find it’s actually not what they’re looking for at all.

SEO Can Boost Your Local and Global Influence

Never underestimate the power of local searches. As The Business Journals cites, just under half of all Google searches (46 percent) involve a user seeking out local information. Search engines are the predominant hubs where people learn more information about the businesses near them. In fact, there’s been massive growth in people adding “near me” to their searches in recent years.

As important as it is to connect to a global crowd, especially if you’re able to ship nationally or internationally, it’s also smart to consider people closer to home who may be seeking out the types of products or services you offer.

Want to beef up your local SEO efforts? Start by taking command of your business listings in local directories and on Google. This means filling out all the information you can while including area-specific keywords. Ensure your “contact us” landing page on your website is up to snuff too, with your address, phone number, and hours clearly posted.

Of course, if your business exists solely online without a local presence, then SEO still allows you to target customers on a global basis. In this case, you’d still need a thorough “contact us” landing page but would focus more on keywords pertaining to your products/services rather than your location.

Now you have a better idea of why your small business website needs SEO: to make sure it’s pulling in relevant visitors from organic searches, to streamline the user experience of your website, to increase your local reach, and to provide a cost-effective way to achieve all these goals.

When you’re running a small business, you lack the budget of a global enterprise — but this doesn’t mean you’re out of options when it comes to marketing. Taking the time to do everything you can SEO-wise, whether in-house or through an agency — will help your website boost its visibility to searchers near and far.

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