Being a small business owner means constantly having to figure out the most cost effective way to get the word out about your business. And it is not just about luring new customers, but ensuring that your existing customers are aware about current promotions, sales and new products or services. It is this tightrope that a small business owner must walk – achieving all of those things but also ensuring that it is being done in a cost-effective way because small businesses cannot afford to spend the type of money on marketing that would be normal for a major company.
And that is why we believe that search engine optimization (SEO) offers a unique opportunity to smaller and local businesses. The cost of getting a website set up and search engine optimized is not very much, but the potential rewards are huge. We can go over some of those benefits right now.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Most people have heard about SEO, but very few know about the specifics. The idea is that you are going to use certain keywords, phrases and other bits of information throughout your website to push up the website’s rank in search results pages. So if you are selling a certain type of product in the local area, when people search for phrases that are a combination of the city name and the product, you will want your website to feature at the very top – or very close to the top. This is vital for newer companies, but also for the established small businesses. You do not want potential customers identifying a competitor’s company before they even get a chance to learn about yours. And that is what can happen if your site is not optimized.
While it is possible for a company to optimize its site without any help, we believe that hiring a SEO expert is the most efficient way to make it happen. When you are engaging with an expert on matters of SEO, you are getting a much higher level of service than you would be able to manage on your own. The only other way that you could get such a service is by hiring a full-time website manager, and that is something many smaller companies cannot afford. But with a third-party SEO professional providing you with assistance, the cost is not an issue you have to worry about.
How Does SEO Help Smaller Businesses?
Search engine optimization was always important for businesses, even a few years ago. But in the past 12 to 24 months, search engines like Google are taking new steps to help users find local results when they are searching for something. For instance, searching for a product or a service in your area is so much easier. Whether you are doing it by adding the area as a keyword, or using location based searches on a smartphone, the results you are going to get are specifically tailored to where you are. You will not be learning about companies that are 100s of miles away, but right at your doorstep.
Such a feature is great for consumers, but also for small businesses. Those who are running local companies do not need to use local news sources or papers as the only means to get word out about new products and services. It is now possible to use the full reach of a search engine to get people in the area to learn about what you are offering as a business. And with SEO, your company’s site is the one that everyone is going to see first. If they like what they see, they may not even go to a competitor’s site – and that is precisely what you want.
The Best Way to Enact SEO
Every business has its own way of doing things, but we are firm believers that when it comes to SEO you need an expert. It is no good attempting to learn SEO and the intricacies of search engine rankings when you are also tasked with other matters related to the business. It is always best to let an expert deal with these matters. Not only will it be much easier on everyone else connected with the business, but you are going to get the best level of service when the work is being done by an expert. They will know precisely how to help a company in your area and industry – which is what you need. Any other option and you are only going to get a half-hearted attempt at SEO, and that is not what you will want.
Let the experts do their job – and your company can reap the rewards. If you are concerned about the cost – think about it this way: the money that you spend on SEO will net you more than five or ten times as much business from customers who arrive at your website because of that SEO.
Does Website Design Matter?
In all the talk about search engine optimization, it is easy for us to ignore website design. However, companies must understand that just because you have a top position in search engine rankings is not an automatic indicator that people will choose your company. Let us say that a customer comes to your site because you have the second position for a related keyword result, but that customer sees a website that looks as though it was designed in 2007. Will that customer be impressed? No. Will it result in the customer going elsewhere for what they need? Probably.
Another reason why site design matters is because your website’s performance will impact search engine rankings in the long run. Google penalizes sites that are slow to load on desktops and/or smartphones – and you will want to ensure you are not falling foul of those rules. When your site is designed and updated by an expert, you will have optimal performance on all devices. And that ensures customers who do find your site through Google search results pages will be impressed by what they see.