Every small business owner knows the statistics out there.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20% of American small businesses fail within their first year. After five years, that number has increased to around 50%.
There's a wide variety of reasons a small business may fail, but one of the most common factors is not focusing on the right priorities.
Keep reading to ensure your business doesn't become part of this statistic.
When it comes to marketing initiatives, a small business must focus on the correct avenues within their budget. Unfortunately, many small businesses make the dire mistake of ignoring their SEO marketing.
This is a mistake as organic search is often the primary source of website traffic for businesses.
Search engine optimization (SEO) may sound like this complicated, scary thing that only huge corporate companies should concern themselves with, but this isn't the case. Small business SEO is affordable and can drive real results for your company.
In this post, we discuss exactly why small businesses need SEO.
1. Build a User-Friendly Experience
Your website is a digital version of your store. When customers enter your website, it's important that they experience a site that is easy to use, naturally guides them on a path, and makes the purchasing process as easy as possible.
If you have ever walked into a store and felt overwhelmed by the amount of product in it or confused by the layout of the store, and chosen to leave, then you understand our point.
A large focus of SEO is improving the website experience for your audience. SEO tactics focus on a few key improvements, such as:
- Making the site easy to navigate, so the user can find whatever they're looking for without getting frustrated and leaving.
- Reducing the number of clicks a customer has to take to complete a purchase (or booking) online, which reduces barriers and reduces their chances of changing their minds.
- Naturally navigate them through the website based on their actions and interests, so they stay on your website longer, learn more, and increase the probability of making a purchase.
- Optimizing for mobile searches. According to Google, more than 50% of all searches are now on a mobile device. This means if you're not optimizing your website to be a positive mobile experience, you're potentially alienating more than half of your website visitors. Imagine a customer is trying to complete a purchase on their phone, and they can't because the "Order Now" button is cut off on their mobile phone screen. These are the types of mistakes you want to avoid by including mobile optimization in your website strategy.
We've all been on a website that looked like it was made in the 90s. Your automatic reaction is typically to exit the website without giving it a chance.
Even if you do stay on the site for some reason, you're less likely to make a purchase because you may be suspicious of the security of the website and inputting your payment information.
The website needs to conform to all screens. If it doesn't look good on mobile devices, you're seriously missing out.
Thinking of this for your business - you're already a small business without a big brand's reputation; you can't afford to have people question your website.
SEO will help ensure your website comes off as legitimate and safe to use.
Some of the SEO tactics that make your website more user-friendly include:
- Build a sitemap and submit it to Google via Google Search Console. This will help Google understand your website when it scans it and will improve your search rankings. This helps with your user experience in two ways. Firstly, when you're forced to build out a sitemap, you'll put more thought into how your website is structured and how your audience navigates through it. Secondly, when you rank higher on search engine results, customers trust clicking on your website more.
- Removing old pages that are broken or don't perform. If your website has a lot of pages that don't see traffic, your search results will suffer. Additionally, customers can feel frustrated when they land on a broken page and may leave your website altogether. Part of good SEO is auditing your website and removing dead pages.
- Building a faster website by optimizing images, reducing 404 pages, cutting down on external scripts, and taking advantage of caching. An astounding 40% of people will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. After putting so much effort into getting people to your website, the last thing you want to do is have them leave immediately because your site is too slow! Regular SEO work will ensure your website stays below that three-second mark.
- Conducting testing on call-to-action (CTA) buttons in terms of sizing, coloring, and location to ensure they drive the highest conversions.
2. Become a Local Leader in Your Industry
Perhaps one of the most intimidating concerns about owning a small business is the idea of competing with the major brands in your industry.
What's great about small business SEO is you can focus on the local market and see significant results.
When you're trying to rank for highly competitive keywords on a state-wide or national scale, it becomes challenging to see any results. However, when you focus on the local level, you can see much better results.
For example, if you were a plumbing business, you might not be able to rank very high for "plumber USA" or "plumber California." But, if you shift your focus to your local city or region, your competition will become a lot more manageable.
A strong local SEO strategy can help you become a local leader in your industry. And, don't be confused, there's a lot of business potential within your local market!
Approximately 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information. And, 72% of customers that did a local search visited a store within five miles.
Google's algorithm now automatically prioritizes local options if you search for specific keywords, such as "restaurants." So, if you can take the right SEO actions to rank well for local SEO, you're set up for more local demand.
Here, the user is sitting in Milwaukee and simply typed in "insurance" and Google prioritizes insurance brokers in downtown Milwaukee.
Some SEO tactics that will improve your local standing are:
- Claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing following NAP guidelines (Name, Address, Phone Number)
- Register with local directories, such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, Home Advisor, Angie's List, and Trip Advisor
- Research local keyword search terms and start a plan to rank for them
- Create pages for your local city and region and include NAP on every single one following the same format as your Google My Business listing
Pro Tip: Ranking on the first page of search results should be your top priority. Research shows that 95% of all search traffic goes to the first page results, which leaves only 5% of people looking at the second page. If you're not on that first page, you're not being seen.
3. SEO Builds Trust & Credibility
One of the struggles of many small businesses is earning the customer's trust.
You don't have the same brand recognition as the national brands, so you need to ensure you build trust for your business.
One of the ways SEO can help your business build credibility is with reviews. Online reputation management is a subset of SEO that focuses on garnering online reviews.
About 90% of customers read online reviews before visiting a business. And, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
For that reason, you want to do everything you can to get more (positive) reviews.
Online reputation management includes:
- Monitoring reviews on sites such as Google, Yelp, social media platforms, and more. Responding to these reviews (both positive and negative) in a timely manner.
- Leveraging your reviews by posting them on your website.
- Taking initiatives to get more reviews, such as sending out emails that include a link to review your site after a customer purchases a product.
As you get more and more reviews, you'll see an avalanche effect. More people will know your brand, trust your brand, and talk about your brand with each other.
4. Improve Brand Awareness
It's fair to say that many small businesses struggle with brand awareness.
A small business simply doesn't have the budget to push out massive marketing campaigns that get them the same recognition as Nike, McDonald's, or Netflix.
But, brand awareness is so crucial for rapid growth. When people get excited about your brand, they share it, and this has a domino effect.
So, what does this have to do with why small businesses need SEO?
Simply put: SEO allows you to streamline content marketing.
This is what streamlining your content management using SEO does. If you do it right, you'll get more and more visibility.
Small companies, much like larger corporations, need to push out blogs, videos, and other forms of content. However, this content shouldn't be random. There should be a strategy behind it.
Content marketing starts with your keywords. You find the keywords you want to rank for and build content that encompasses these keywords naturally.
Additionally, content marketing can greatly help your local marketing.
You can build content around your local keywords, as well as provide valuable local content for your audience. For example, if you're a wedding gown store, you could create a "wedding guide" for all the local wedding vendors in your city. Provide this guide for free as a way to drive local, industry-relevant traffic to your website and garner more brand awareness.
5. Acquire Authoritative Backlinks
Backlinks are when another website links to a page on your site.
When other websites link to yours, it tells Google that your site is a trusted, authoritative source, which helps you rank higher. Google evaluates the quantity and quality of backlinks to your website.
If you have quality websites, such as Forbes or a local news outlet, linking to your website, it helps your overall ranking.
Backlinks may not seem important to someone who isn't savvy in SEO, but research has shown that the number of backlinks to a page correlates with a higher ranking more than any other SEO strategy.
Part of a solid SEO strategy is acquiring more authoritative backlinks. You will need to have an outreach program to do this effectively. You will want to reach out to local newspapers, even pages, bloggers, and businesses (that aren't competing with you).
One idea is to look where your competitors are getting their backlinks from to target the same kind of places. Use Alexa's backlink tool for this strategy.
If you want to check how authoritative a website is, Ahrefs is a great resource. Use it here!
Pro Tip: At all costs, avoid acquiring poor backlinks. These can actually do more harm than good for your business! When you have backlinks from scammy websites or websites that rank poorly themselves, it tells Google you're a similar type of website. As a result, Google will rank you lower in search results. Avoid contractors or SEO companies that promise you "500 backlinks in just one day!" These will be harmful backlinks. Truly authoritative, quality backlinks take time and effort.
A small business typically has a small marketing budget to play with and needs to allocate that money strategically.
In evaluating your marketing options, you should consider what will get you the best results for the lowest amount of money.
The answer? Small business SEO.
SEO is a long-term strategy that will continue to give you results. In comparison to pay-per-click (PPC) ads, radio ads, tv ads, print ads, and social paid ads, which all stop running the minute your budget runs out.
SEO is about putting in the effort now and seeing those results stick around. It might take time to garner hundreds of reviews, but once you have them, they're permanently there.
Or, consider moving to one of the top results for a keyword. It's challenging to get there, but once you make it, it's much easier to maintain your spot.
SEO is continuously called one of the cheapest marketing strategies out there. It's important to note - SEO will require some money.
You should hire a reputable SEO agency that can provide quality results (versus that 500 backlinks in a day type of service we mentioned earlier).
However, consider this as a business investment because the results your SEO agency provides will be with your business for the long-term.
7. Results: Increased Traffic and Improved Conversions
SEO is all about improving results for your business as a whole. By ranking for local, relevant keywords, you'll rank higher on search engine results and see an increase in your website's relevant traffic.
Then, as the audience browses your website, website optimization and a user-friendly website will make sure that they don't automatically leave because they couldn't find information, couldn't understand the navigation, were worried about website security, or were waiting too long for the website to load.
Next, your content marketing strategy means your website visitors will stay on your website longer as they browse through all the free videos, blogs, and other content you have on your site. This allows them to get to know your brand better and increases their chances of making a purchase.
Lastly, suppose the visitor does a quick Google search for your business to look at reviews and confirm your validity as a trusted, reputable vendor. In that case, they'll find dozens of reviews across different platforms that speak highly of your small business.
All of these factors work to improve conversions and increase the chance that website visitors will become loyal customers, subscribers, and returning visitors.
SEO brings in quality, high-converting leads. After just a few months, an analysis of your SEO ROI will show that this marketing strategy is worth every penny.
Agency Jet Can Help You With Small Business SEO
Agency Jet is a leading marketing agency that specializes in helping small businesses with their SEO strategies.
In reading this post, it's more than likely you were shocked with how in-depth SEO is and how much of an impact it can have.
SEO is complicated and continuously changing, which is why there are SEO experts out there to help businesses succeed in the digital space.
At Agency Jet, we understand the needs and limitations of small businesses.
We offer a variety of small business SEO packages, so you can find the one that is best suited for you.
Agency Jet is proud of our 96.2% client retention rate - our clients love us and choose to stay with us. We are so confident in our services and capabilities that we offer a four-month money back guarantee. So, you have nothing to lose testing us out! We even offer a 100% free and educational website assessment to see how your site is performing before we even get a signature from you.
Additionally, we aren't like other agencies, and we don't hide our industry secrets from you.
Agency Jet also prides itself on teaching our clients along the way, so when they're reading to take over their own SEO, they're fully set up to do so.
We walk you through everything we do so you are in the know and report on what works, what doesn't, and what the results look like.
Book a consultation today to get a better understanding of how we can help your business grow.
|GET: A free website assessment. No sales pitch included.||MEET: Some of Agency Jet's clients|
|READ: 5 Local SEO Tips Small Businesses Need to Get Found During COVID||VIDEO: SEO Pricing: Understanding What It Means|