What Makes SEO So Important for Small Businesses in 2017?

No one said running a business is an easy job. Going gets especially tough for independent brands, which need to establish their own brand image from scratch. Marketing is all about digital media now. No one relies on a print medium to reach out to the target audiences who have his or her head buried in Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Businesses that target a more tech-savvy market often rely on different forms of digital marketing including social media marketing and SEM for reaching out to the right audience.

Magento car accessories store of the Ford brand
Image created by Waewkidja - Freepik.com

Reaching out to the right audience is not as simple as handing out pamphlets from the corner of the street or putting up a neon sign at the store entrance. In the online world, finding the right audience takes time and perseverance. It is made a little easier with the help more brand visibility. However, for new brands with obscure names, it is rather a challenge to rank high in the SERPs. To become more visible to the target crowd on search engines they need to optimize their websites and blog contents. In simpler words, they need to make their online presence more search-engine-friendly.

What are the essential components of SEO?

It brings us to the topic of search engine optimization or SEO. From choosing a website with search engine friendly codes to building outbound and inbound links, everything counts as SEO. Search engine optimization is a very broad term and here are its more common components:

  • Keyword research and content development
  • Development of local SEO
  • Optimizing business presence on Google My Business and local directories
  • Building a website with search engine friendly template designs
  • Building inbound links and outbound links
  • Building internal links and creating sitemaps
  • Increasing the page loading speed
  • Optimizing dwell time and conversion rate
  • Optimizing images and videos for viewing
  • Getting your site ready for mobile access
  • Better UI and UX
  • Increasing share-ability of content on social media
  • Including credible reviews, ratings, and testimonials for building a trust quotient

As we can understand, SEO is multi-faceted. It can be rather complicated, and the correct understanding of your market can help increase your ROI beyond your wildest imaginations. For smaller businesses, the challenge is to claim their fame at a particular location, but, on the brighter side, the SEO process becomes a lot less complicated. Since there is much less content for smaller businesses as compared to already established corporations and brands, our work becomes a lot less layered and more straightforward. It becomes more about optimizing content, location, links and website templates.

What should you consider while beginning your quest for SEO?

While optimizing your site for your target customers at a particular location, you need to think of at least four factors before you plan your process:

  1. Your budget: the budget is a concern for many small businesses. However, since SEO is becoming more mainstream every day, getting business loans to micro-manage search engine optimization with the help of professionals in Saint Louis and premium software programs makes more sense. If you are working on a shoestring budget, you can always take remote advice from experts and work on your own SEO as per the thousands of SEO blogs, using the myriad of tools available for website owners.
  2. Your big competitors: every niche has its big fish. From restaurant businesses that are looking for a new clientele to dental clinics in a new location, everyone is competing with someone big at some point. Most significant competitors dominate the high volume search terms. Don’t believe us? Try looking for "Buying XYZ online." Chances are Google will direct you to Amazon, eBay and Etsy in the first five search suggestions at least. These bigger seller names dominate the first page of the search results.
  3. Speed: Speed is a huge part of SEO. Most search engines judge the quality of your site and the usability with the help of site loading speed. In competitive markets, you should run page speed tests at least once a month. If you want your website to be search engine optimized, you need to improve your page loading speed by either cutting down the extra "baggage" or using a lighter template with fewer code-frills.
  4. First-page position: getting a place on the first page of any search result is rather difficult; thanks to the endless ads that pop up with every Google search. The bigger brand names dominate the rest of the page. Your competition is not just with the larger brands right now, you need to think of the sponsored content while optimizing your site. We usually recommend optimizing sites for organic traffic. Paid traffic makes no sense unless you are a well-known name in the market already. The conversion rate is rather low for PPC and CPC marketing strategies for newer brands in the niche.

While picking a SEO service provider, make sure your company adheres to Google Webmaster guidelines. Check their previous projects to make sure they provide quality service to small businesses. Start with the minimum term and ask for optimization metrics for each month.

Author bio: Thomas Hall is a well-known online business strategist. He has been working in Saint Louis for the last ten years, helping small and medium businesses establish their online presence. His specialty is local SEO, which helps smaller names become more visible within limited geographic boundaries.