What Is Search Engine Optimization?
All business owners should be acutely aware of what SEO is and what exactly it does.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about getting your small business to the top of search engines like Google for the searches your audience is making. By optimising your website through high-quality content that’s relevant to your industry, you can get an organic and (importantly) consistent stream of traffic through to your website.
The best part? SEO can target them just when they’re ready to convert.
It effectively fulfils the search needs of users by creating relevant and high-quality content that will sit higher on Google and provide users with a much greater on site experience. SEO agents target very specific and relevant search queries that will help to put your site in front of a much larger and much more relevant audience.
It differs from other popular digital marketing strategies such as pay-per-click (PPC) as it focuses more on ranking for these key terms organically without paying to rank on SERPs. Therefore businesses do not pay for the clicks and the users that they are bringing to their website.
What Is The Importance Of SEO?
According to Ahrefs statistics over 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine and only 0.63% of Google searches click on results that are on the second page.
This means that your business does not really benefit from search engines unless it has found its way onto the all important first page.
It is all too common for small businesses to be swallowed up by search engines and therefore not receive any quality traffic.
There are so many different businesses out there that will offer very similar products/services as you. Therefore, if your content is not optimised for search engines you may struggle to rank for any relevant keywords that will bring traffic to your site. You may therefore struggle to compete effectively with competitors and to reach your intended target audience.
If your competitors are using SEO strategies for their website and you are not then you should not expect to gain any significant search traffic or web traffic. In order to have a successful website that constantly brings in new customers and a consistent stream of traffic, SEO is essential.
If your web pages are not optimised for SEO then you will most likely be missing out on a huge opportunity to have higher rankings on search engines and therefore bring in more customers and a much better conversion rate.
Effective SEO marketing efforts will put you in front of a much larger and much more relevant audience. As a business, this will help to improve market share and your competitiveness within the industry.
How Important Is SEO To SMEs?
SEO allows Small and medium-sized enterprises the chance to get their brand name up there with bigger and more established competition within their industry. It also allows them to be exposed to the same users and customers that these huge brands are consistently dominating. This is because larger brands such as Nike, Amazon, ASOS and other huge high street names already have the brand authority and customer knowledge that smaller SMEs do not.
While smaller businesses may not initially have the luxury of brand awareness and brand credibilit, adopting an effective SEO strategy will give them the chance to build up their notoriety. This will therefore allow them to compete at the top of search engine results pages with these huge enterprises and still see some very impressive results.
In addition to this, there are many local SEO tools that you can use to help your small businesses website rank for relevant local terms. This is particularly beneficial for businesses that offer products or services in specific areas of the country. In addition to typical SEO strategies, local search tools such as Google my business (GMB) strategies can have a hugely positive effect on the relevant web rankings for sites.
What Are The Three Most Important Areas Of SEO?
There are three main areas in which businesses should be focusing their attention when it comes to having an effective SEO strategy. These areas are:
Within SEO, content is well and truly king. Without high-quality on-page content, your business will never be able to make its way onto the first page of search engine results pages. SEO-optimised content is not just about writing content that both sounds and reads great, there is far more that goes into it.
There are so many different types of content on a website and they all play a vital role in the overall SEO performance of the site. On a website, you will typically find home page content, category page content, product page content, supportive blog content and traditional blog content. All of these forms of content play vital roles in the organic growth of a site.
A good SEO strategy will incorporate tools such as keyword research, Google analytics, competitor analysis and more. These will help to create content that targets very specific keywords and search queries for which your business would benefit massively from ranking highly for.
In summary, without SEO-optimised content, your website will forever be invisible on search engines. This will therefore mean that you will struggle to see any business success from the web. With the web being as influential as it is today to businesses, neglecting this from any marketing strategy would be extremely naive and detrimental to overall business performance.
Another huge component of SEO is Digital PR and link building. PR is an essential area of SEO as it plays a huge role in the authority of your website. Links are still one of the biggest ranking factors that Google measures so ensuring that your business gets authoritative and relevant links is huge for improving your overall SEO performance.
Building these relevant links will help to build what is called the backlink profile of your website. Simply put, this is all of the relevant sites and links that link back to your site. The more impressive your backlink profile, the more brand authority you will have, and the more likely you are to see impressive rankings on search engines.
In addition to this, links can also help to generate other streams of direct traffic which can create yet another avenue for you to be discovered by new and relevant customers. This can therefore lead to direct conversions as well as increasing your brand authority.
To summarise, link building is a huge ranking factor that Google algorithms measure and is, therefore, an extremely essential part of any SEO campaign. It not only helps to build the trust and the authority of your brand but it can also help to put your brand’s name in front of a huge and relevant audience which can increase both organic traffic and sales.
User Experience (UX)
One thing that is often neglected in an SEO plan is the User Experience (UX) of a website. However, UX plays a direct role in SEO rankings. Google consistently monitors the user engagement metrics of your website to see exactly what the user journey on your website looks like.
If you have a very poor user journey and usability then you will often have very poor metrics such as high bounce rates or poor site speed. This poor user journey will be noticed by Google and will directly affect whether they rank you or not. Google wants websites where the information is very easy to access and digest to be at the top of their search engines so that users have the best possible experience.
An improved UX design will directly result in higher rankings on search engines. So ensuring that your website provides users with the best possible experience while they are visiting, along with great content will ensure that you are giving Google all the right reasons to place you on that vital first page.
In summary, Google wants to ensure that users are getting the best possible experience from the businesses and the websites that they are ranking highly on their SERPS. Therefore if your UX and user journey is poor then you are making it incredibly difficult for Google to rank you.
Benefits Of SEO For Small Businesses
The benefits of SEO to any size business truly are endless. It’s a marketing strategy unlike social media marketing, PPC, or any other. SEO companies not only offer you a way of transforming your business’s online presence but can also provide you with a consistent stream of traffic that will ensure long-term success. The benefits of SEO are, but not limited to:
1. Increases Your Organic Traffic Potential
One of the main benefits of SEO optimisation of your website is its ability to increase its organic traffic potential. This is for a number of reasons. The main one being that the higher the traffic to your site is, the more conversions and therefore the more money you will make.
While a website may have extremely engaging and informative content, if it is not optimised for SEO then you will still struggle to gain any real organic traffic. SEO is not all about creating the best copy, it is about using the correct search terms and tools which will allow search engines to search through your content and deem it perfect for searchers.
Once your content has been effectively optimised for search engines you will start to see the traffic rolling in and start reaping the benefits of that beautifully written content. Having great content is only useful if people have the opportunity to find and enjoy it.
In addition to this, an effective SEO strategy will also make sure that the organic traffic coming to your website is relevant users who come with the intention of converting. This kind of traffic is invaluable to businesses as it guarantees that a vast majority of the traffic is the traffic that the business wants to be visiting their website.
It can often seem like our web journey is just overloaded with adverts that you have to keep continuously clicking off. To many, this can be slightly overwhelming at times. Another huge benefit of SEO is that it is a completely inbound marketing strategy and is therefore 100% organic. At no point in SEO are ads necessary, and this can make customers think highly of you right away.
The overall aim of SEO is to rank for relevant search terms surrounding your products or services. Therefore, the users you are reaching are ready to convert and are already far more valuable than any searcher you will pull in from any advertising campaign. In addition to this, it also means that you are more likely to receive conversions from the search results.
Furthermore, ranking organically on the first page of a search engine results page means that Google has indexed your content and believes that it is content that users will benefit most from. Google algorithms are constantly reviewing pages for specific search results. Therefore, getting your content onto that first page means that they have deemed your page to be the most relevant for that particular search term.
If Google algorithms, which review millions of pages on a daily basis, deem your content to be the best for a particular search term then you can be assured that your page is perfect for your users. The better the user experience is on your page, the better your long-term brand awareness will be and the more likely they are to convert.
2. Far Less Intrusive Than Other Marketing Strategies
3. It Is A Very Cost Effective Marketing Strategy
One of the main benefits of SEO to small businesses is how cost effective it can be. Unlike a lot of other marketing strategies, SEO traffic and results are free. Every business is consistently looking for ways that they can save money and when you compare SEO to some of the ad prices out there, it truly is a no-brainer.
While ad campaigns like PPC can be hugely effective and bring in phenomenal traffic, if you are a business that cannot really afford the extra expenses that ads incur then SEO is perfect. Optimising your content for search engines, if done correctly, allows you to rank for the very same search terms that ads would, but for free. This also means that every user you bring to your site and every conversion you bring to your site has come completely organically and therefore completely free.
In addition to this, if you are taking your SEO external through an SEO agency or a local SEO service then you do not have to start off spending a huge amount of money. However, the more you spend on your SEO, the more you will get back. SEO is generally a hugely effective investment that will end up making you far more than you put into it in the long run, It achieves this through bringing in relevant traffic and taking your conversions to a whole new level.
Therefore as a whole, SEO is incredibly cost-effective and vital to the growth of your brand, your traffic, and your conversions. Search engines are the most powerful pages on the internet, so getting to that first page makes you one of the most powerful pages on the internet.
When small businesses opt for an SEO strategy, they are not just increasing their organic leads and conversions. They are also building something integral for long-term success: brand awareness
A well-executed SEO plan will include extremely informative and relevant content that evokes the interest of the reader. More often than not, if the users gain something from your content, they will remember your brand. They will then also keep coming back to read the content that you are putting out.
It will also contain content that has been tailor-made for the audience in which you are intended to reach through its tone and the language used. This will also help to both resonate and relate with your audience which will therefore make sure that they have a pleasant experience on your site and potentially even convert.
In addition to all this, it will also allow you to build a strong customer relationship allowing you to become a trustworthy and informative hub. The more trustworthy you are to your customers, the better your brand awareness and image will become.
4. It Will Help To Increase Your Brand Awareness
5. It Will Help Your Small Business Stand Out From Your Competitors
Search engines are hugely crowded with many websites and webpages providing very similar content about very similar products, services and topics. For this reason, it is hugely important that you stand out from the rest. Adopting an SEO strategy is an amazing way to ensure that you do this while also checking off everything that Google wants to see on a page.
If your website is optimised for SEO and your competitors are not, then you will stand out far more and also have more of a monopoly over the search engine results pages. This will not only help you stand out but will also ensure that users who are searching for your products or services are met with your site first. This will therefore make them far more likely to convert with you as opposed to with your competition.
If you are consistently creating your content whilst researching keywords, and relevant search terms, building backlinks to your site, measuring performance and making further decisions based on your findings then you are bound to stand out. All of this is vital information in SEO that is continuously overlooked by businesses who struggle to see any real traffic to their website. Without SEO optimization your website will get lost among the millions of others on Google.
According to Ahrefs, 45.6% of SEOs say SEO takes about three to six months.
Too many businesses begin to optimise their site for SEO but get disheartened and impatient as they do not see immediate results. You need to understand that using paid SEO services is not a quick fix to bring traffic to your site overnight. A truly effective SEO plan can take up to 6 months before you see any crazy results. But will last far longer than a traditional quick-fix marketing option.
There are no shortcuts when it comes to SEO. It takes consistent effort and time to see the results that you want. Google has consistent algorithm updates that, if your SEO is done correctly, should see your traffic steadily increasing as time goes on. This means that instead of having a huge fluctuation of traffic instantly, you will have a progressive increase of traffic over the course of your campaign that will continuously bring in new customers, new leads, and ultimately conversions.
Intricate long-term SEO plans will ensure that your website continues to bring in a consistent progression of traffic for months and even years. However, it is incredibly important to update your content relatively regularly to ensure that your content stays relevant and adheres to the frequent algorithm updates that Google implements.
6. It Is A Long Term Marketing Strategy
7. Helps To Improve User Experience On Your Site
User experience is a vital benefit of SEO and is essential for a successful content marketing plan. Google’s algorithms consistently take user experience and the overall design and usability of a website into account when ranking. Therefore, to rank well, your website needs to look amazing and work effortlessly.
However, this does not only benefit Google, it also very much benefits the visitors to your site. No one likes to click on a website where nothing loads, fonts are miss matched, has huge blocks of text and just looks overall unappealing. Poor UX will lead to higher bounce rates and therefore fewer users to your website. Whereas SEO ensures that the website is as accessible and as aesthetic as possible and that users have an amazing experience every time they visit your site.
In addition to this, everything is perfectly tailored to your intended audience. The tone, the language, the style, and the usability are all intricately thought about before creating content. That is because the goal of SEO is to provide your users with as pleasant of an experience on your site as possible and to make sure that they return once more.
How We Can Help With Your SEO
We are a Manchester-based SEO Agency that specifically helps small businesses to organically grow their online presence.
While located in Manchester, we are proud to have helped countless small businesses across the country take their organic traffic to a whole new level.
Further Reading For SEO:
Struggling to get your head around SEO? Don’t worry… Our very own SEO expert, Tom Hutchison, has the answers to all your burning questions, in our latest Q&A!
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