As far as growing businesses go, search engine optimization, or SEO, is extremely important. Now that more business is made possible by better online connectivity and mobile technology, companies that can be more easily found on search engines have a clear advantage over those that aren’t.
To put things in perspective, 93% of all online activities start on a search engine. Today alone, more than five billion searches have already been punched into Google– that’s more than 57,000 search queries every single second.
These searches represent people looking for answers to their questions, solutions to their problems, perhaps even something to buy. In fact, 61% of internet users do research on a product online before making a purchase.
What is SEO and Why is it Important For Businesses?
Just because you now have a business website, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will also be getting tons of traffic. There are now 1.7 billion websites up right now from all around the world. Of these, less than 200 million are active.
How does your website now stand out in a crowd of 200 million? The answer is search engine optimization.
In a nutshell, SEO is all about making adjustments to your website in order to maximize organic traffic from search engines.
As opposed to online advertising, or pay-per-click campaigns, you don’t pay for organic traffic. This covers the naturally occurring search activities that are already present at any given time online.
So if you can figure out how to bring in a steady, consistent amount of high-quality traffic via search engines, then it means you’re attracting the right kind of people who are clearly looking for products and services just like those your company offers.
Search engine optimization does this for you.
More leads to nurture means more leads to convert into sales. And for any business, more sales can only be a good thing.
Our List of SEO Services for Small Business
Exactly what do you need as a small business to start ranking on search engines? Below is a roundup of some of the more common SEO tasks involved for any growing business:
1. Web Development and the User Experience (UX)
These days, Google has decided that the way users interact with your website speaks volumes about how truly helpful your site is. And this is what the user experience (or UX) is all about.
Bottom line: coming from a search engine results page, can users easily find the information they’re looking for on your website? Does your site look great when browsed from a mobile phone? Do the pages load quickly enough? Are visitors scrolling through your other pages?
Google can now pick up these little signals and more to determine whether visitors like your website or not.
2. Keyword Research
One of the most important decisions early in your site’s SEO development is determining which topics, phrases, and groups of keywords you’d want to rank for.
SEO professionals can find out for you which topic clusters are perfect opportunities for your brand to gain some traction on search engines.
Determining which specific subject matters to focus on is fairly tricky: you need the right balance of search volume (i.e. are there enough people interested enough in this topic?) along with keyword competitiveness (i.e. how many more are trying to rank for my same topics?).
3. Content Development
Content is king, they say. And this is so for good reason. Truly helpful, market-relevant, and timely content will always be a priority for your SEO efforts.
In fact, the entire point of search is for Google to serve the best possible content– blog articles, video, images, etc.– for any given search query.
Gone are the days when you can just churn out 300-word fluff pieces and pat yourself on the back. Today, with Google’s more intent-driven algorithm, the search engine puts a greater premium on original, comprehensive, and outstanding pieces that truly go above and beyond.
4. On-Page Optimization
Having killer content is already a big edge as far as SEO is concerned. For that extra boost in rankings, you’ll also need to do quite a bit of on-page optimization.
This includes bits of behind-the-scenes text to make any given page on your website more search engine friendly: meta descriptions, alt tags, proper use of headers, canonicals, schema markups, external and internal links, among others.
5. Technical SEO Services
Technical SEO focuses on everything else not related to your site’s content or promotion efforts. A lot of it has to do with your site architecture, and how it can be further maximized or tweaked somehow to make your website for search engine friendly.
Think of the occasional technical SEO audit as a checkup for your business website. You’ll need to go under the hood to see if everything is in order.
Your search engine optimization specialist will likely have a look and identify any issues pertaining to indexing, redirects, scripting, as well as unnecessary bits of code and anything else that may cause your site’s performance to slow down.
6. Local SEO Services
Particularly for neighborhood businesses, local SEO is great for bringing in more customers. This form of SEO targets nearby folk looking for specific products and services just within the vicinity.
Fun fact: 72% of consumers who perform a local search visit a store within 5 miles of their current location. Local SEO allows you to show up more with these location-based searches. Think of it as an add-on to your regular line of search engine optimization services.
7. Link Building
Another important aspect of search engine optimization is link building. It wasn’t as easy as it used to be, as Google has been a lot more strict when it comes to earning links.
Nevertheless, there are still several action items you can do to gain those highly-coveted backlinks. Outreach and relationship-building is still the best way to approach link-building, but you can still do directory submissions, make the round of guest blogging and podcasts, and be more active on relevant social networks.
What’s The Next Step Now For My Small Business?
Given the SEO services list we’ve provided above, you also now have to think about which direction you’ll be taking when you’d want to ramp up your search engine optimization efforts. You may choose to:
- work your brand’s SEO yourself
- build your own in-house team of digital marketing specialists,
- work with an SEO consultant,
- or engage the services of a digital marketing agency that has extensive experience and expertise in search engine optimization.
Note that each of these options has its own pros and cons. So make a thorough assessment on what their respective SEO services cost, which areas of SEO will they be focusing on, and what level of involvement is needed from you to get your various search marketing campaigns going.
Also, take note that search engine marketing is only a part of digital marketing, which means you have lots of other tools available that can synergize well with SEO. Some of the best SEO services work best in conjunction with video marketing, pay-per-click advertising, social media management, email marketing, and even a bit of traditional marketing methods. Don’t forget to explore those as well.
What Else Do I Need To Know About SEO?
Many consider SEO to be a great equalizer. Even if you don’t have a big advertising budget (like the big dogs do), a well-targeted, well-designed search engine optimization campaign can still bring in lots of business for you.
Google is clearly the biggest player when it comes to search engines. Keep in mind, however, that a significant amount of traffic also comes from search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and even YouTube. Which means you’ll have to think about optimizing for those as well.
SEO is a long-term play. Don’t expect your site to surge through the search results pages just because you’ve made a couple of tweaks on your site. If you do your optimization correctly, then you can realistically see good rankings for a particular page within 8 months to a year. You don’t immediately reap the benefits of SEO, but when you do, the results are well worth it.
Which is also why you need to be consistent with your SEO efforts. Keep coming up with original, helpful, market-relevant content. You’ll never know how well a particular article will do on its own, but if you slowly but steadily build your site through a lot of carefully crafted blog posts over time, Google will take notice, and you will soon see your rankings climb.
A Final Word About SEO Services
Without a doubt, investing in search engine marketing is something you should seriously consider for your business.
People are already online searching for your products and services, and each of these searches is an opportunity for you to win over new customers. Search engine optimization allows you to tap into already existing organic traffic, so your website can bring in more leads (which you can then convert into new sales).
Anyone can get into SEO. In fact, one of the reasons why it’s so popular is because search engine marketing allows small businesses to have an edge over larger, more established companies.
Bigger brands with bigger budgets can afford to spend large sums of money on online advertising. But if you’re smart and strategic with the way you implement your SEO, you can dominate your target market and bring in significant business this way.
Search engine optimization, however, entails a lot of work. It capitalizes on free traffic, but in addition to creating lots of high-quality, original, market-relevant content– such as blog articles, videos, podcasts, and other helpful resources– you will also need to promote all these via social media and outreach to earn those highly-coveted links.
For this reason, a lot of small businesses turn to professional SEO services. True, you might be able to achieve good SEO rankings all by yourself over time. But when you’re running a business, the sooner you can get tangible results, the better. Whether you choose to hire new team members to do SEO for you, or consult with an SEO specialist, or engage the services of a search engine optimization agency is all up to you.
Just make sure you cover all the bases! Content creation and link-building might be the two most important aspects of any search engine optimization strategy, but don’t forget to also do your due diligence with keyword research, technical SEO audits, local SEO, and improving your site’s overall user experience as well. All these SEO services should be part of your company’s continuing efforts in digital marketing and promotion.