With the average small business set to spend $75,000 on digital marketing this year, it’s essential to find ways to cut back or get the most from your money.
SEO can help you save money and does most of the marketing work you need to grow your business.
Before you can understand why you need SEO, you need to get an understanding of what it is in the first place.
How Does SEO Work?
Search engines use tools called “web crawlers” to scour every single page of the Internet. They look through and index each site for how quickly a page loads, how many times it uses keywords, whether it’s updated regularly, and more. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is how you position your business to be seen by search engines.
If you’re currently performing poorly in Google, don’t worry. Search engines are updating their rankings constantly. Whenever you update your site or add new content, search engines will find it and re-rank your site accordingly. Search engines love to see new content, so it’s a good idea to constantly be adding new information and updates.
SEO is a vital element for your business’s success. It’s almost impossible to compete in today’s market without a website, and if you’re going to build an online presence, you might as well make it amazing with high-quality SEO.
Also, when you optimize your website and your posts, you’re taking control of who your site gets delivered to. It puts you in the driver’s seat and gets your content in front of your target audience and niche. If you’re looking to make a change to your business model or to tweak a marketing campaign, SEO should be your first step.
Here are just 7 of the many reasons why your site needs SEO.
1- Get Traffic to Your Blog
If you’re trying to get more traffic to your website, one of the things most smart marketers mention time and time again is that you need to start a blog. However, it’s a constant feedback loop. There are millions of blogs out there that aren’t getting the traffic they deserve, and it can probably be blamed on their SEO.
When someone uses a search engine, it’s most often because they’re looking for an answer to a question or for a specific product or service. Blogs are a great tool because they allow you to take advantage of both audiences. Your blog posts can answer the most frequently asked questions in your industry and your products can be the solution.
Your blog is a great way to have a direct connection with your customer base. When they know you’re listening, they’ll check in with you constantly. When you’re using terms that they’re searching for, they’ll see the quality of the knowledge you offer and continue to come back for more.
Make sure to use keywords throughout your blog. Anytime there’s an image, make sure there are keywords in the ALT tag of the image as well as the title tag and meta description of the page. Your keywords should be used naturally, and do not overdo it.
2 – Build a Reliable Local Customer Base
It’s not only important that your customer base is reliable, but it’s also essential that you capture local clients and customers. When you build a base of local customers, they’re more likely to be loyal for a lot longer than those who come across your business from out of town just stopping in for a vacation or short business trip.
When you type “pizza” into Google, you’re going to get results for the pizzerias that are nearest to where you’re searching from. That’s because search engines know that when someone is looking for a product or service, they want: 1) to find one that’s nearby and 2) one they can get ASAP.
If you’re a service provider like a doctor or a salon owner, searchers want to know that you’re not further away than where they’re willing to travel to. There’s nothing like finding a service provider who looks great online only to find out that he or she is located states away.
To capture this local audience, you need to use plenty of local search terms. Local SEO keywords can be sprinkled throughout your entire site, just like the rest of your keywords. Whenever you have an opportunity to mention where you’re located (and it makes sense to do so), feel free to let you readers know! You can include your neighborhood, city, interstate, and even popular landmarks. Doing so helps Google and other search engines recognize where you, which in turn makes you show up higher in local search results.
3 – Stay on Top of Trends
When you’re using SEO, you can stay on top of trends. Since search terms can be changed at a moment’s notice, you can quickly edit, tweak, and refine your content in order to stay ahead of your competition and garner more visitors. Competition has never been tighter, and SEO can be the online marketing move that puts you out in front.
SEO also allows you to uncover the advantages other businesses have over you in their search rankings and – with the right tools – you can easily identify what keywords you should target in order to narrow that gap. Aside from thinking like a customer, if you reverse-engineer your competitors rankings (i.e. the links they’ve earned and keywords they’re targeting), you can use that info to cruise into spot 1 on Page 1 of Google.
Don’t forget to look at the meta descriptions you’re competitors are using. Typically, those descriptions are what entice people to click on a website. If what your opposition has seems more attractive than yours, be sure to modify what you’ve written. Believe it or not, this can be the difference between landing a brand new customer or handing one over to your competition.
4 – Build Your Reputation
SEO helps you put yourself in front of every potential customer, even on other platforms like customer review sites.
Not surprisingly, Yelp, Google My Business, and Yahoo! Local results come up in search engines all the time. Whether you’re looking for a kosher Chinese restaurant or a traffic lawyer, these review sites will almost always appear on Page 1 of the search results.
Since more than 80% of your potential clients now trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends, they’ve never been more valuable.
When your customers stumble upon these sites, they’ll see how many stars you have, where you’re located, what hours you’re open, and what others think of you long before they even see what you have to offer. Consequently, if you’re not putting your best foot forward, search engines could end up costing you customers.
If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business or Yelp listing, it’s time to do that right now. In fact, stop reading this post and do that. We’ll wait…
Also worth mentioning, although you might have never entered your own information on those sites, it’s entirely possible you still have a listing. That’s because a customer can decided to make one for you and leave a review – good or bad!
Remember, other sites aggregate and disseminate this business information, so one bad review or incorrect address or phone number could end up spreading across tons of databases and other business listing sites – so be careful. The sooner you claim your listings, the sooner you can start taking control of your online reputation and SEO efforts.
5 – Become an Industry Leader
When you take advantage of SEO, you get the opportunity to become a leader in your industry. It doesn’t matter if your niche is online marketing or cooking recipes that only take 15 minutes to make. SEO is a tool that helps you build a name for your brand and a serious amount of street cred. A well-regulated SEO presence gives you the opportunity to build reputability as a company or a service professional with a lot of knowledge.
If you’re running a boutique tissue company and you’re looking to compete with Kleenex, you’re going to have a tough time capturing searches. If people don’t know your brand name, you’re going to have to play second fiddle to your biggest competitor. However, if you use their brand name in your SEO efforts, you could end up ranking for some of their branded searches.
It’s become a common practice to use a competitor’s brand name in your own blog posts when they’re big enough or to create a page spelling out why you’re product or service is better. If you want your brand to have that kind of power, you need to be willing to ride the coattails of your competition for a while – and that means dropping their name a bit.
You can become an industry leader when you start building a name for your brand. Part of good SEO involves networking with thought leaders to land links on their websites. When your brand name gets mentioned on well known authority sites, your search engine rankings will go up.
6 – Marketing at Very Little Cost
One of the best things about SEO is its cost-effectiveness. If you’re already spending tens or even hundreds of thousands on promotion and marketing, you won’t need to raise your budget a cent for SEO. In fact, some SEO elements only require subtle tweaks to what you’re already doing.
For example, your web developer or web team can spend a day or two optimizing your images. Aside from resizing them without impacting their quality, the filenames of your images can be optimized too.
When you take photos, they’re typically organized by your camera or device rather generically. Usually, they’re titled as “IMG_1234.JPG”. Whether or not you realize it, search engines look at the name of these images when seeing how relevant your site is to user searches.
Instead of allowing your devices to determine who gets to see your site or your images, take matters into your own hands. Once you’ve transferred the pictures to your computer, rename them and include your keywords in the title. Not only will this make it easier for you to find and organize your photos, but it will also have a rapid boost to your visibility in search engines like Google.
7 – Get Better Press
SEO can actually help you get better press than you would without it. By using the keywords that journalists and influencers search for when researching products and services like yours, you put yourself out in front. If you’ve taken the advice or experts, you’ve also got a blog attached to your site.
Not every person in the press has time to wait for a response from the people they’re looking for a quote from. While they might send you an email, they might just go with a quote from your blog if they don’t hear from you soon enough.
You never know who could be reading the content on your website, so make sure you’re packing your posts full of quality content. The more reputable and reliable your information is, the more people will rely on you as a source. Even if you’re simply linking to other sites for your information, it’s all about how you package it.
SEO can ensure you’re using every source as a springboard for your own success.
To Sum Everything Up
Ultimately, you need SEO because you can’t afford to let your competitors get a leg up in the digital realm and you can’t break the bank for your marketing efforts anymore. That billboard or puffy mailer just isn’t cutting it anymore. Cold calling is awful, and referrals can only get you so far. Likewise, emails get deleted and popups get ignored constantly.
SEO is the best way to stop marketing at a person and begin to let them come to you instead. SEO turns marketing on its head by allowing your target audience to come directly to you instead of the other way around.
If you’re looking to make a splash with SEO, schedule your free breakthrough strategy session with us today, and we can help you see how best to incorporate it into your current marketing strategies. RDB Design is here to help you in any way we can.