This post is for small businesses that need clear and simple advice on SEO for their business website.
Before we start, I want you to ask yourself this question – how do the bulk of your customers find you?
Is it via word of mouth? Is it via the local community newspaper? Is it because you are on the main road of your town?
If your answer does not include the Internet, then have a good think about how you can leverage your current channels before looking at SEO.
Word of mouth, i.e. third parties positively talking about your business, is the most powerful marketing tool. Adweek says
- 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know
- Referral leads are 30% more likely to convert to sales
- 37% retention rate when the customer was referred
- Referrals in social media are 73% or more likely to lead to sales
The third-party endorsement must be a core marketing strategy especially when you’ve analyzed your data, and identified referrals are a valuable channel for your business.
However, now all referrals are free, i.e. without your business incurring a cost. There will be some free referrals; however, also be prepared to pay for them too.
When you share a post on your social media pages, and your followers share it and add their recommendations, this action is, for the most, free. But it’s not entirely free, though as your time is money if you’re doing the social postings or if it’s a worker, they too are being paid for their time.
However, the cost is a lot less than when you engage third parties to stimulate referrals.
For example, using Influencers on Facebook or Instagram to post how wonderful your business, product or service is to their thousands of followers. This post, if it’s been executed by a top influencer with hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers, will cost your business a hefty sum – think tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. The upside of the cost of using an Influencer is the likelihood of a huge number of referrals purchasing from your business.
Paying For SEO Services – Is It Worth It?
When you value your time and use it to optimize your site, SEO is expensive, and if you don’t really know what you’re doing, there can be disastrous results.
We’ve learnt the hard way, and now we don’t tinker with our site. Before, we’d upload a new plugin and create our own settings, obvious to their impact only to take the site offline or strangle it somehow. You really only need to experience a site that fails to load a couple of times to realise SEO tinkering is best left to the SEO experts.
Can SEO be a complete waste of time and money for some businesses? For example, if you have a local hardware store where all your customers live in the same area as your store, you may think that SEO is a waste of time and money.
In part, you are correct in your assumption that SEO would be useless if it’s poorly crafted for your business needs. Your local business needs to invest in local SEO first and foremost, with a small part of your SEO budget going to global SEO – if at all. Using the local butcher shop example, if you don’t have aspirations to service customers beyond your area or State, just focus on local SEO strategies.
SEO Attracts Dodgy Operators
SEO is at best confusing and at worse considered magic for most non Tech people, so if you’re not confident with your knowledge and skills, avoid giving your trust to just anyone who says they’re an SEO expert.
Always check out third parties and their credentials. Plus, seek a referral as your first move as you are most likely the same as most consumers in trusting a referral, especially if it’s come from someone you know.
SEO, just like marketing, has attracted some low-life. However, it’s also now a respectable profession that is very technical and analytical. Experts will have tertiary qualifications and industry certificates.
SEO is always changing, so your business will need to invest in some SEO tasks to remain relevant with Google.
How To Get Your SEO Underway
SEO is not complicated, but it requires lots and lots of effort because you are fighting against all your competitors and anyone else who wants to rank with the keywords.
Here are some tips direct from our own SEO strategy.
The domain name must contain keywords.
Look at our domain name – ‘BusinessBlogsHub.com’ – look at our keywords “Business Blogs”. Simple.
Have relevant content to your keywords
If you are an interior designer, have some articles on your site such as ‘simple tips to spruce up a room’, ‘the basics of color design’ etc. That way, people can share your articles with their own friends online. This is the start of having a ‘social presence’ that Google now considers for rankings.
Important! Make sure the title of your article reflects a common search term your prospects would use. For example, ‘How to protect your Intellectual Property: 4 easy ways to protect your Intellectual Property’ – this article has one of our highest hit rates.
Good quality content on your site demonstrating your skill, expertise and niche is fundamental to SEO. Google loves content that users love, and your visitors will rank you higher than your competitors because of it.
Link Build – But Wisely
When another website has a link to your website, that is called a ‘backlink’.
Backlinks are good for SEO only if the website containing the link to your site is considered by Google to be of high quality and relevant to your business sector.
SEO services are the latest way for scammers and dodgy Internet cowboys to make a buck, and you are the target.
If you want only one thing to take away from this post, take this; ‘content is king’. Google loves good content – content that is written for humans and shared and talked about by humans.
See this article on free Google Tools for SEO and Marketing.