Small businesses have a lot to benefit from SEO and it is not an exaggeration to say that businesses that don’t practice SEO are in far worse situation than companies who invest in search engine marketing.
SEO offers a number of advantages to small business owners and this is what I will discuss below. For beginners to search engine optimization, I suggest you first take a quick look to one of my previous articles, what is search engine optimization and why it is important in order to understand the basic terminology behind SEO and its importance in general.
10 Benefits of SEO for small businesses
Create a better and more user friendly website
For starters, SEO will help you create a better, faster and friendlier website for users. Despite the name, search engine optimization is not only about search engines but the focus is on the user. When your users are happy, search engines are happy as well. Following good on-page SEO techniques improves the user experience and this creates a number of short term and long term benefits.
Find new customers and assist growth
If you think about it, one of the main reasons you have a website is to increase and differentiate your customer base. It is a fact that businesses that have a website grow twice as fast as businesses that don’t have a website.
SEO will help you gain better rankings in search engine result pages and this translates to more targeted visits and essentially to more customers.
Explore new markets
The web is definitely one of fastest growing markets in World economy but it is not the only one. A successful SEO campaign will help you find new markets and explore new economies. Social media platforms and mobile marketplaces can take your traffic levels to a whole new stage by boosting your SEO performance.
Achieve better conversion rates
An SEO optimized website is fast, easy to use and compatible with mobile and tablet devices. This also translates to better conversions i.e. visitors coming to your website are more likely to become customers, subscribers or loyal visitors.
Build brand awareness through better rankings
One of the hidden advantages of ranking in the top positions of the SERPs is brand awareness. Users are more likely to trust a brand when it appears in the first places when they search for a term rather than brands that don’t have a good web presence.
Small businesses that need to build brand awareness (either for local purposes or for expanding nationally) need to invest in SEO and gain top positions for the terms related to their business. This is not the 90’s anymore and search engines play a very important role in building or destroying a brand.
Build a dedicated fan base via newsletter
A good SEO approach means more traffic and a great way to build a dedicated fan base through RSS feeds and newsletter. These two services existed before social media and they are still very important sources of traffic. In fact many successful bloggers claim that most of their money comes from their email lists and not from social media or other medium.
So, even if you are working on your social media marketing it is necessary to make it easy for your users to subscribe to your feed and newsletter. What happens in many cases is that websites do have a newsletter box, people enter their emails to subscribe but the website never sends a newsletter out.
Stay in-synch with latest developments
The search engine industry is one of the fastest changing industries in the World. Rules and practices change all the time and if you can stay in-synch with the latest developments then it’s for your benefit.
SEO is a continuous activity and if you hire a reliable SEO company they will give you the necessary advice so you won’t miss any opportunities. If again hiring an SEO is out of budget, you can follow me on Twitter and Google+ and I will inform you about everything you need to know.
Imagine two businesses in the same niche, selling similar products at similar prices. One of them has a search engine optimized website and the other one has a non-optimized web presence. Other things being equal, which company do you think is more successful? Which company will gain more customers from local SEO and which company is likely to grow faster?
Do not underestimate the power of search engines and SEO and don’t forget that if your competitors are doing SEO and social media marketing then you have to do it as well. If on the other hand they are not doing any of this stuff, then it’s your chance to differentiate and make a step ahead.
Open your business 24×7
A business that gets organic traffic is like it is open for 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. That’s the magic of the Internet and SEO. Invest time and money to get your website on top of the SERPs and gain new customers while your business is closed!
SEO is good for social media
A webpage with high rankings will also gain more social media exposure. The relationship between SEO and social media is by-directional. Social media popularity is good for SEO purposes and SEO brings more social media visibility. In simple words, searches are more likely to LIKE / Tweet / +1 a page when it is found in the first positions of the search engine results than a page that does not have good rankings.
How can you take advantage of all these benefits?
1) First of all you need a website. This may sound weird but it is a fact that more than 50% of American businesses do not yet have a website. This is a figure from a recent Google survey which also states that businesses that use the web are expected to grow 40% faster than those who don’t.
So as a first step you need to register a domain name and develop a website for your business. The minimum information you should provide on your website are: contact details, your company details, products, business hours etc. You can contact us free of charge and one of our experts can guide you on how to get your business online.
2) Second, you need someone to design your digital marketing campaign. That someone is either an SEO with enough experience to go beyond SEO or a digital marketer. You need to consider money spend on SEO as an investment and not a cost. Remember that all the benefits of SEO explained above are not the result of a cost but they are the result of a careful investment. These 2 articles can give you more details:
3) If outsourcing SEO is out of the question, then no problem you can do it yourself and still benefit from the advantages. The following articles can help you get started but you should always have in mind that SEO is not about building links (as some people may tell you) but it’s about building a remarkable user experience and providing for top quality content.
SEO is not only important for businesses that compete online but it is a necessary investment for all companies. Having an optimized website is the absolute minimum these days and the money spend on SEO should not be considered a cost but an investment.
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