How SEO helps small businesses.
The main purpose of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is to help businesses get “seen” by their prospective customers online. And to then get those prospects to buy your goods or services from your website.
Now, that’s true for the biggest conglomerates as well as the smallest family-owned start-ups. But, as you might expect, the smaller fish are naturally at a disadvantage. Mainly because they don’t have as much money or resources as the bigger fish.
And so, it’s crucial for small business owners to have a ‘smart’ SEO strategy that hits the ground running right away. Here’s how to do it…
Note: It would take a much bigger article than this to talk in-depth about all the aspects of SEO. To save you time, we’ve chosen only to highlight the most important aspects, to help you understand how it can help small business owners directly. If you have any further questions, please call us. We’d be happy to explain all of the ins-and-outs in more detail.
By producing content that people will actually read.
In August 2022, Google announced a massive algorithm update that basically said it was only going to rank high-quality content that genuinely was written to help people solve their problems/answer their questions online. This was called the Helpful Content update.
In our experience, Helpful Content is content that:
1.) Is optimised for keywords that your potential customers are actually searching for
2.) Is expertly written, with a clear understanding of what it is you’re selling
3.) Directly answers their questions and solves their problems
4.) Is unique to your business’s value propositions
5.) Gives them all the information they will need to make a purchase
Even though we are an SEO agency, we can create Helpful Content for our clients by developing an intimate relationship with them. That means collaborating with small businesses — not just working for them. To create in-house level content, even though we won’t technically be an in-house team for you.
This is how we do it:
1.) Surveys and interviews — first we’ll survey you and ask you what you think your target audience knows and wants. Then we’ll ask you to brainstorm the most common things your customers ask you.
2.) Next we’ll create a survey for you to submit to your actual customers. We can then record the responses and use them to generate insights.
3.) General target audience research. We’ll look at your competitors, forums, websites, — anywhere your prospective customers are hanging out — to work out what their problems/questions are.
All of this before we start producing any actual content. In short, laying the groundwork for a proper SEO strategy and campaign.
If you’re sceptical about SEO, it might be because you have — or someone you know has — had a bad experience with an SEO agency before.
Unfortunately, some SEO agencies don’t really put serious effort into their content. In fact, many just copy similar content that’s already ranking on the Internet, or write generic content that’s not designed to convert, or that isn’t intimate enough with your business to really be meaningful to your target audience.
A good marker of if an agency is well-meaning or not is if they’re in constant communication with you, trying to get your expertise, business advice, or general industry information before and during your SEO campaign.
With all this preliminary information, we can quickly find what it is your customers want and what it is they don’t want.
Meaning we can then begin SEO optimising your commercial pages (whatever they might be, home page, category pages, service pages, product pages…) with copy that resonates with your target audience in their own words, and that addresses and alleviates their concerns immediately.
Here’s an image of some Unique Selling Points that we wrote for a client. Each USP alleviates a worry/concern that a prospective customer might have before making a purchase.
Likewise, almost all of your page titles and headers will be optimised in the same way, marrying up with the keywords that you’ll want to target.
(Read more about our success story with Wood Floor Store here: https://www.addpeople.co.uk/case-studies/wood-floor-store/)
By building a blog that attracts an audience who will convert.
Did you know, 91% of web pages get no traffic at all? That’s not because content is ineffective. It’s because most people (including, unfortunately, many SEO companies out there) don’t come up with an effective blog content plan beforehand.
A good quality blog content plan will meet the definition of Helpful Content that we provided above. But it will also:
1.) Target keyword research with a high buying intent
2.) Have a strong Business Potential (i.e. actually be relevant to your services or offering)
3.) Answer the questions your prospective customers are asking
4.) Align with your business goals and KPIs
5.) Be structured around the topics that you want to rank for
6.) Expand upon these topics and build them out into topic clusters
7.) Have a strategic internal linking plan to interconnect all of them together
Blog content: Is SEO worth it for small businesses?
If you feel like blogging is a waste of time, it might be because whoever was in charge of your blog had no clear strategy in mind.
Unfortunately many content writers, including at some SEO agencies, go about their blog content planning the wrong way. They target keywords that have no buying intent, or write to bring in lots of organic traffic only (which is a vanity metric).
The result is a lot of effort and a lot of time wasted. This occurrence is very common, and is one of the reasons why some people are sceptical of blogging. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Before we work on a blog content plan for our clients we ask them what topics they’d like to become an Internet authority on.
For example, say your business sells a particular type of solar energy system. Your goal might be to sell more of those systems. So with that in mind, we would look to build out a blog content plan and strategy that centres around the topic of solar energy systems.
We do this using a combination of target audience research (mentioned above) and interviews with you, the expert.
This allows us to create blog content that speaks directly to your prospective or new customers, answering their questions plainly, at a point where they are ready to buy from you.
In-house quality content, agency partnership.
We work with very smart people, who are all experts in their chosen industries. But most of the small business owners we work with aren’t SEO or digital marketing experts and so perhaps don’t know how to leverage their expertise to their advantage.
That’s where we come in. Through a series of interviews and collaborations with you, we will become subject matter experts and also, will be able to extract your expertise in a way that will get the attention of your audience. This is equally as true for blogging as it is for PR (more on that below).
We also work with many small businesses who already have in-house writers. That’s great! We love working with them because, although they often don’t have the SEO knowledge that we have, we can work together to implement and execute a blog content plan much quicker than normal.
By improving your Local SEO results.
We deal prominently in SMEs that work over wide areas, mainly nationwide — or even internationally. However, if your business has a significant localised or local search presence in an area, then we can work to:
1.) Keep your Google Business profile up to date & keyword optimised.
2.) Produce Google Posts to help you engage with your local customers.
3.) Help you to rank on localised Maps, for greater visibility within your area.
By improving your brand awareness with a smart PR campaign.
Our PR team will work closely with you to determine where it is your business wants to be “seen” online.
Smaller businesses often have a disadvantage when compared to the large corporate giants because they do not have the same brand recognition or domain authority. PR however can be a great way to shift the balance in your favour.
PR works chiefly in two ways: by getting your business featured on prominent news sites / industry publications, and by building backlinks back to your website.
This has the effect of driving referrals to your website who will then make a conversion on your website (metrics which we can measure on Google Analytics) and also by strengthening your domain authority. Which can help you to rank quicker in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Here’s what you can expect from the PR side of things:
1.) A proactive and reactive PR plan, so that we can work on campaigns designed to get you featured on websites where your target audience is likely to be — and also to react to contemporary news events as they happen (this is called “newsjacking”).
2.) Link building to your website from authoritative websites with millions of readers, such as the BBC, Daily Mail, and The Times.
3.) Build links back to the blog posts that we create as part of our blog content plan (see above), to strengthen their page authority and to help them get quicker organic search engine rankings.
Read more about how our PR team can help your small business here.
By redesigning your website so that it converts better.
Unlike most SEO agencies, we have a dedicated User Experience (UX) team. Using a combination of heatmaps, A/B testing and other tools such as Microsoft Clarity, that can determine where customers are (and are not) clicking or scrolling on your website.
Common projects the UX team works on include:
1.) A detailed UX strategy plan that will demonstrate what changes we think need to be made.
2.) Revamping your home/service/product/location pages (if they aren’t converting well) into ones that do.
3.) Improving the menu navigation on your website.
4.) Redesigning the layout of your blog pages so that they increase conversion rates and customer interactions.
5.) Creating on-brand pop-ups, CTAs, graphics and more.
Of course, we’ll provide the full SEO package at Add People.
Keyword optimised headings, image SEO, schema markup, sitemaps, internal linking, HTTPs and user-friendly URLs… the list goes on. Needless to say, we’ll cover all bases during your SEO campaign. You can find out more about our SEO agency services here.
For brevity, we didn’t think it was worth spending too much time discussing them here, because they are such obvious aspects of SEO.
FAQs - Is SEO worth it for small businesses?
No — if you have a proper SEO marketing strategy that’s well thought out, and with clear end goals, then SEO will have a compounding return on investment and significantly boost your online visibility.
Unfortunately a lot of SEO content marketing efforts are poorly thought out, even at some agencies. The result is that, even if you can get content on the first page, it won’t lead to any conversions, making it not cost-effective at all.
It’s crucial that you work with SEO experts who will deliver Helpful Content, and build links that are actually relevant and of a high-quality to your website.
Because we specialise in working with SMEs (our unofficial motto is “We work with Mike, not Nike”) it’s not unusual for us to run campaigns with a cost of SEO as little as £700/month for some of our smaller clients.
More typically, though, our clients tend to pay upwards of £1,000+/month for a more comprehensive SEO plan and execution.
Every business we talk to is different, with their own goals and ambitions. We’ll discuss with you what might be the best pricing plan for your budget and number of hours. But generally, the more hours you pay for, the more we can deliver and execute a quality content strategy, UX optimisations and PR outreach campaign.
Yes, but not all agencies put the same thought processes or work into their content and PR executions. Very few of them have UX teams, either. Our advice would be to do your research into the type of SEO work that they offer, the SEO tools they use, and the reviews they have online.
You can view our Add People TrustPilot reviews here.
It can depend on a lot of factors, such as how competitive your industry is. But we generally see pretty quick upswings in traffic and impressions almost immediately after implementing early changes to your website (meta descriptions, headers, etc.).
Some pages can rank very quickly, especially if we’re targeting low competition (but high buying intent) keywords and we always tend to look for these keywords early in a campaign. But if the industry you operate in is fairly difficult, it might take months, or for a good PR-led backlinking campaign to assist the pages to help get them ranking.
To sum up: Is SEO worth it for a small business?
Absolutely, but only if the right SEO techniques and strategies are in place. At Add People, one of the first things we’ll do is to create a client strategy profile for all of our clients which you will be able to access at any point.
With your strategy profile, you’ll be able to see in real time all of our SEO efforts in one place, along with the search terms we’re going after.
The aim is for the entire campaign to be as transparent as possible, so that you can see exactly what we’re working on and when, and provide feedback.
We can’t speak for other agencies — and to be sure there are some great ones out there — but we are specialists in working to help small businesses to build their online presence and get their website ranking in the Google search results.
SEO is worth it for your small business, and with Add People you’ll be in more than capable hands.