Every organization needs search engine optimization to remain competitive in the digital marketplace. However, the benefits of SEO for small businesses, in particular, are even more notable.
SEO is the most effective way to improve your site’s visibility in search results. It reaches customers at key moments during their buying journey, and boosts sales and inquiries. And what is more, it helps build brand awareness, credibility, and trust.
As consumers are shifting towards digital interactions with brands, knowing how to stay competitive online is crucial. Especially if you’re a small to medium business looking for a cost-effective marketing solution, SEO is your go-to strategy.
However, you may also be wondering what’s the real value in small business SEO? How does it help entrepreneurs create websites that are optimized to rank higher in search engines and that can quality leads and increase conversions?
In this article, we will talk about why search engine optimization is so important, and list the top 7 benefits of SEO for small businesses. Read on, so you can leverage them and take your operation to the next level.
1. SEO Is the Primary Source of Organic Website Traffic
Organic search traffic plays a vital role in a website’s performance. It also plays an essential part in directing leads into the purchase funnel.
According to a study by Salesforce, 87% of shoppers begin their research on new products and services on digital channels, with 9 out of 10 starting their hunt using a search engine.
Considering this, the most efficient way to help new customers to find your business is to appear on the first page of a search engine’s result pages (SERPs).
Climbing to the top of the SERPs is the ultimate benefit of SEO for small business websites. It can help you attract the right customers and increase your conversions and click-through rate (CTR). It also generates organic traffic by optimizing for the right keywords, building credible backlinks, including, among others, image alt-tags. Additionally, it shows that you are a quality brand, and a reliable source of information.
Nowadays, when a person needs something, more often than not they look it upon their phone, and Google presents them with thousands of (mostly) relevant links to choose from. However, people rarely go through all of these, and are more likely to focus on the top 10 links that appear on the first page of results.
2. SEO Helps Build Trust and Credibility
Establishing credibility and trust in search engines like Google is a complex process. Any experienced SEO professional knows that building a strong foundation for an online business starts with creating a website that has a seamless user experience, and building its authority to make it relevant.
However, while some parts of this foundation, such as, for example, the technical side of SEO, can be improved almost instantaneously. Others, like brand trust and credibility, are earned over time.
Building a reputable website authority is a long-term game, and can be achieved through a quality small business SEO strategy that focuses on:
- Building a strong backlink profile.
- Following SEO, user experience, and accessibility best practices.
- Optimizing your content and on-page elements.
- Following up on updates in search engine algorithms.
One of the greatest benefits of SEO for small business websites is that it can help you boost your expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. In fact, it will not only bring in more organic traffic and higher rankings, but also new opportunities to attract advertisers, and increase affiliate sales.
3. SEO Enables You to Understand User Needs and Wants
SEO plays an important role in understanding your target audience’s needs and desires. It not only helps you keep up with shifts in the market, but it also provides detailed knowledge of people’s buying intent.
Keyword research, SERP analysis, and analytics data are important sources of information for a SEO professional. What makes these metrics even more valuable is that they can measure how well a competitor is doing.
Search engines use advanced algorithms and learning to collect user data and serve up content that can satisfy the person’ needs as accurately as possible.
To benefit the most from this, it’s important that you are familiar with the key types of user intent and optimize your website with the right keywords.
4. SEO Helps Build Long-Term Equity for Your Brand
Achieving a favorable placement in the SERPs takes time, but once you get there it will positively impact your small business.
A good small business SEO strategy makes your brand widely visible. It also helps you to enhance your omnichannel marketing strategy, and improve the user experience of your website.
To ensure you reap the benefits of seo for small business websites, it’s essential that you keep a close eye on upcoming trends and algorithm updates. Users’ interests are bound to change and evolve over time and if you want to maintain your brand’s reach and boost awareness, you need to be in line with the latest SEO standards and best practices.
Related: Google’s Two-Click Penalty for Publishers Explained
5. Local SEO Works Wonders for Increasing Traffic, Engagement, and Conversions
Local SEO plays an important role in the success of a small business. More often than not, small businesses operate within a limited geographic area and are competing against other businesses with a similar scope. To stand out, they need to optimize their websites and digital presence, so that people can find them quickly and easily.
According to SocialMediaToday, nearly half of all Google searches seek local information, with 9 out of 10 people looking up a local business. Because of this, Google has started providing better results for locally related searches based on proximity, relevance, and prominence.
Local SEO is one of the most powerful advantages for your small business website. By leveraging it, you can not only improve your brand visibility and awareness, but also increase traffic, engagement, and conversions.
Here are a few tips to help get you started:
- Include local citations and backlinks in your content.
- Set up a Google My Business listing.
- Optimize your Knowledge Graph panel.
- Encourage customer reviews.
Related: 8 Local SEO and Listings Management Tools for Your Business
6. SEO Supports the Purchase Cycle
Nowadays, almost every purchase cycle starts with online research. A study by GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81% of retail shoppers look up products and services online before buying, and according to Google, 76% of users who make a local search on their phones visit a business within 24 hours.
To utilize this trend in your digital strategy, you can use small business SEO tactics to focus your marketing messaging on how the customer can benefit from your products and services. When you top that with the attractive deals that you offer and the value that you provide, you can positively impact your customer’s purchase cycle right from the start.
Furthermore, if you invest some effort in real-time SEO, you not only give your audience instant access to the latest information, but you also create a brand experience that is easy-going and personalized, and will immediately satisfy the customer’s needs.
7. SEO Is Quantifiable and Cost-Effective
SEO is a numbers game that is relatively inexpensive and can improve website performance, growth, and authority of any small business website.
To make the most of this, you need to concentrate your efforts on turning all the data you generate from your analytics tools into actionable information. By connecting the dots between user behavior and their effect on your business, you can paint a clear picture of your past, present, and future digital performance.
The role of search engine optimization has expanded significantly over the past years, becoming a fundamental factor in the success of companies who want to maintain an online presence. This is especially true for small businesses in particular, as it’s not just a good addition to their overall strategy, but a doorway towards a myriad of SEO benefits worth leveraging.
With a robust SEO strategy, you not only improve your brands’ performance and digital presence, but you show your customers that you are ready to meet their needs. To that end, you need to be patient, consistent, and stay in touch with the latest SEO trends.
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It’s cool that this article explains how SEO can help your business attract more customers through the internet. My wife and I are planning on opening a small shop in our town next summer, so we’re considering hiring a professional to do SEO for it. I’m going to search for a reputable provider of SEO services that we can employ.