SEO sends visitors to the website of a small business. With the right SEO optimisation, potential customers will be able to find your website more easily as your site ranks more highly than your competitors on a search engine. As such SEO is very important to small businesses.
So, if you want more people visiting your websites and spending money on your products, SEO should be very high up on your list of things to do when planning a marketing strategy. Want to know more about how SEO can make a big difference to your small business? Read on and find out more about the key things you need to know to get started.
What is SEO?
First up, you need to lay the foundations of what it is, before you get into the nitty gritty of why SEO is important for small businesses.
SEO means Search Engine Optimisation, and is the practice of creating a website in a way that search engines, like Google, value the content you provide. When a search engine values what you’re doing, it will rank you more highly for relevant search terms, so you receive more traffic to your site.
So, if you are a small plant shop in York, and your website is suitably optimised to the search term ‘plant shop in York’ then you should appear high up in a top position when someone searches for a ‘plant shop in York’.
And how often do you click on the first link you see when you search for something? A huge proportion people will click on the first link, or one of the top three every time they search for something on a search engine, so you can see how important SEO optimisation can be for a small business.
You may have spent a good amount of money creating a beautiful website, with consistent branding, but what good is that if no one can find you? Without SEO optimisation, you could be throwing your money away.
By ranking well and directing more traffic to your website, you could seriously boost your sales, which is essential to all small businesses.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the basics of SEO.
What are keywords?
A keyword is a term or phrase that people type into the search bar of a search engine. They’re used by search engine users to find information, a product or a website. By using keywords in copy, headers, URLs and alternative tags, you can improve your rankings for a term.
By basing your content around a keyword and ensuring your content is relevant to that term, you can optimise your website, so you rank highly for that keyword.
Every keyword has a volume associated with it, which gives an indication of how often that term is searched for. The higher the search volume, the more popular the term is and, technically, the more traffic there is to gain from it.
However, if a keyword has a high volume, it’s very likely it will be very competitive and will therefore be hard for a small business’ site to rank for.
For a keyword to be valuable to a small business which operates locally (remember the plant shop in York?) then it’s also more important to go for a keyword that’s more relevant to the location (hence the keyword including York for our plant shop). There’s no point ranking highly for the keyword ‘plant shop’ if everyone who clicks on your page lives in London rather than York.
So, when ranking for a keyword, the key is to make sure it’s relevant, it’s not too difficult and it’s included in all the right places on your site.
Recognising your audience
One of the most important parts of creating an SEO strategy for a small business, and finding the right keywords to target, is knowing who your audience is. By doing this, you can make sure you’re putting your efforts into ranking for the right keywords and getting the people with the highest customer potential on your site.
Recognising who your audience is is essential in any marketing strategy, and is very important in SEO too. So, when you’re starting to plan out your SEO approach, start by asking yourself a few questions and develop a persona for your customer.
Think about defining a few of the following points:
Where do they live and is your business a local one? Does your keyword need to reflect that?
What does your customer value? Are they after a low-cost product, or a fast solution to their problems?
How does your audience like to be spoken to? Does your product require an authoritative, formal tone, or can you afford to be fun and approachable?
The first two points are important to your SEO plan as they’ll help you to refine which keywords you want to target. The third point will help you to flesh out your customer persona, and define the way you write your content.
This is important, as a website with a strong SEO presence is first and foremost a website that puts user experience first. That means it’s about far more than just using the right keywords. It’s about writing valuable, in-depth content, showing expertise in your area and creating a user friendly platform that your customers will value.
By perfecting the way you speak to, and interact with your customer, you can improve that user experience, keep people on page and sell more products.
While it might not have the most obvious or direct impact on your SEO, it will help your to improve that experience and provide more value to your customer.
The ROI on SEO is great for small businesses
When it comes to small businesses, the chances are you don’t have thousands of pounds lying around to invest in your marketing strategy. This is another reason why SEO is so important for small businesses - it’s super cost-effective.
Once you know what SEO is and how to incorporate best practises into your own website, you really can do it all yourself. That means you can create and implement a sound SEO strategy for pretty much nothing.
If you’re willing to put the time in and ensure you’re sticking to the best practises, you’ll make a user-friendly, high-performing website that will provide organic results. And, it shouldn’t cost you a penny if you know how it’s done.
Once you’ve done that, watch the clicks go up, the traffic increase and your sales rocket. With an ROI like that, small businesses really can’t afford not to have a strong SEO strategy.
So what do you need to think about when using SEO for your small business plan?
As you can see, SEO is very important to small businesses and can make a big difference to your sales performance.
When you’re starting out, it’s essential you do the following:
Understand who your audience is - if you know who your audience is, you will be able to tailor your SEO plan to them, find the right keywords that they’ll be using and ensure your site is relevant.
Find the right keywords - With the right keywords, your site could really fly. Finding them is a bit of a balancing act between relevancy, volume and difficulty, but when you get the right ones, you’re onto a winner.
Use the keywords in the right way - it’s not just about featuring them in your copy, there are other elements at play too, so make sure your keywords are being used properly and in all the right places.
Stick to best practise - Once you know how to create SEO and user friendly content, stick with it. It’s important you follow these rules consistently for search engines to reward you.
Educate yourself - as we said, you don’t need to spend loads of cash hiring a specialist out to perfect your SEO plan. Instead, check out a Moor Marketing SEO course, and you can empower yourself and improve your ROI.
Tick all the above boxes, and there’s no reason why you can’t master SEO and harness information to drive more traffic and grow your small business. What’s more, by doing it yourself, you can do all this on a tiny budget, which is ideal if you’re just starting out.
Get in touch to learn more about how SEO can impact your business.