Small business owners recognize the importance of having a high-quality website but unless they use SEO, it’s like cooking a wonderful turkey dinner and forgetting to serve it to your guests. What does SEO do for a small business, though? SEO improves a website’s overall searchability and visibility. In other words, SEO directs more people to your site – you can’t just create one and expect your audience to find it on their own.
Organic search results (not paid ads that pop up in searches) usually make up the most traffic that comes to a website. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) can help – when your website becomes a trusted resource by Google, it will show up more often in search results. Another benefit of SEO is that it helps businesses build trust and credibility with their audience. This does not happen overnight, though – some strategies to develop credibility include positive user quality backlink profiles, machine-learning signals and optimized on-page elements and content.
According to Titan Growth, effective SEO strategies also provide trackable, quantifiable results for conversions, rankings and traffic. This, along with comprehensive analytics, allows business owners to evaluate demographic information, increases their traffic and rank, keyword effectiveness, conversions and other essential engagement metrics. All this data helps determine the return on investment (ROI), plus demonstrates ways that the website may be further improved to increase website traffic and profits.
What Else Does SEO do for a Small Business?
The importance of brand awareness for small businesses cannot be overstated, and when effective SEO drives your company up in Google’s ranking, you will get that needed exposure. Choosing targeted keywords and being on the first results page can also lead users to associate your brand with those chosen keywords. (For example, quality sheets = XYZ Linens). Besides that, websites and companies that show up on the first page are deemed to be more trustworthy (for the most part).
Another important benefit of SEO is that users have a better experience – this is crucial because Google algorithms focus on this. After all, who wants to go to a website that’s hard to navigate or is packed with too much clickbait? Usability.gov explains that websites that focus on positive user experiences understand their audiences, including what they need, their abilities limitations and values, while simultaneously prioritizing business objectives. Google interprets favorable vs. unfavorable user experiences – positive ones are a pivotal element to a website’s success. Content should be easy to use, original, created to fulfill a need, accessible to all audiences, findable, credible and designed to evoke appreciation and emotion.
Local SEO Benefits for Small Businesses
Small businesses need even more help getting their brands out there, and local SEO is one of the best ways to do this. According to Safari Digital, SEO is one of the best marketing options because it is less expensive than paid advertising and can provide a higher ROI than other marketing channels. A successful local SEO strategy helps websites become more visible in local Google search results. And, 46% of Google searches seek out local information.
Now, you may be wondering how can you optimize your business for local searches. Well, to start, complete your company’s Google My Business listings; this includes social media profiles and the Knowledge Graph panel. You should also include backlinks, plus local listings and citations that relate to your business location and vertical. Also, be sure to emphasize any of your brand’s reviews on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Home Advisor (and, of course, Google).
Effective SEO is an Ongoing Process
Your first SEO campaign should last from six months to a year, and can serve as a framework for subsequent efforts. It is essential to remain engaged with your audiences and to use those interactions and their feedback to improve your strategies. This, along with ongoing metric evaluations, will help to improve your SEO. (Remember, improving a local business’s visibility takes time and patience.)
Once an SEO strategy is in place, it is important to know that the rules of engagement change frequently to keep up with the latest search algorithm changes. Moz lists the changes that were announced in 2021, which includes that user experience update.
SEO experts also recognize the importance of “white hat” practices – this refers to keeping on top of website integrity and Google’s terms of service. So, as an important rule of thumb, once you have your SEO in place, you need to continually adapt to that constantly changing landscape. The results will be worth it, though – so be dedicated, current and persistent with your SEO!