Why Every Small Business Needs SEO to Build Reputation
We live in the digital age. Almost every business today relies on a website and its online presence to reach out and connect with potential customers or clients.
This is because of the way consumers now work. Many customers today look to a company’s website to learn more about it, see what it offers, see if it’s trustworthy, etc.
And that’s why SEO is important for small business owners. It’s a way for business owners or marketing professionals to grab customers’ attention online.
It’s especially useful for small businesses, as it lets them compete with even bigger rivals capable of bankrolling bigger ad campaigns.
SEO takes resources too, sure – but it’s not like advertising, where visibility has a clear direct relationship to how much you spend.
Quality can make up for quantity in SEO, where a company spending less on its marketing can still beat one spending more.
We’ll go deeper into the benefits of SEO for a small business later. First, let’s clarify quickly: what is SEO?
What is SEO?
SEO is Search Engine Optimisation, and it’s a digital marketing method.
We’ve written about it before, too. Here’s how we defined it in our article on what SEO is:
SEO is the process of tweaking (or optimising) a website, webpage, or even a piece of content so that it's more likely to show up in the topmost results in the SERPs for a search term.
SERPs are search engine results pages. They’re what you get when you run a search for something using search engines like Google or Bing.
SEO involves doing things to your website so that the search engines decide that it’s relevant to searches being run by your target customers. When that happens, they put it in the SERPs – ideally in a place where it would be easy to see.
So, for a simplified example, SEO could mean adding content and pictures about shoes to your online shoe store.
This is so that Google will put it in the SERPs for people Googling “shoes for sale online”. This makes those people more likely to find your store.
Now, there’s much more to SEO than just adding relevant content and pictures to your site, of course. This is true whether you’re doing SEO for an e-commerce site or something else.
Still, this already gives you an idea of what’s involved in SEO.
Why does your business need SEO?
Now we come to the real question. What can SEO do for your small business that makes it so worthwhile?
Well, let’s go over its benefits to small businesses, especially in terms of reputation!
It boosts credibility
Haven’t you ever run into a new brand and searched for it online to see if it’s legitimate?
If so, you’re not alone: that’s common consumer behaviour these days.
Having a clear online presence – like an official website and verified social media accounts – can prove that your small business is a legitimate one. If a business doesn’t have a website, many consumers nowadays are slightly suspicious of it.
SEO helps by ensuring that the search engines actually show people your website and other online assets when they search for it.
It builds a user-friendly experience
All too often, customer service is what makes or breaks a company, and the user experience online is just an extension of that.
One of the key demands of SEO is actually user-friendly design. That’s because search engines like Google know that people prefer to interact with things that make life easy for them.
Establishing your website as a user-friendly one can help you start things off on the right foot with many customers. It suggests to them that your company is a customer-oriented one.
It helps you become a local leader in your industry
The more visible you are, the more likely it is that people will see your business as a leader.
This is particularly true if you often share insight on the industry, build a reputation for predicting or staying abreast of trends, and so on.
This is why a lot of businesses now have blogs and do SEO on them, actually.
They let you build authority in your field as well as give you more chances to place in SERPs for relevant keywords.
Google is highly contextual in its searches nowadays, anyway, so even blog posts can show up for customers’ service or product searches!
It can improve brand awareness
This doesn’t take rocket science to figure out: SEO is about making you more visible, which means your brand becomes more widely known.
The more often people see your brand being mentioned or listed in the SERPs, the more likely they are to recognise it the next time they see it.
This can breed curiosity, a sense of early trust, and an impression of legitimacy. All of those can benefit your business.
It helps you get authoritative backlinks (links to your site)
This may not sound important to those not savvy in SEO. However, it’s been shown that more high-quality backlinks to a page mean higher ranking in the SERPs.
This means backlinks are important in SEO in several ways.
In some ways, they’re partly dependent on it. You see, you’re more likely to get good backlinks from authoritative websites if you’re already visible on the Web, i.e. if your SEO is already decent.
Those authoritative sites are thus more likely to find you and link to you as a reference for various things or notes that may be in your area of expertise.
Here’s the thing, though: each time an authoritative website does that – links to you – it can actually support your SEO in turn.
This is because search engines consider backlinks “votes of confidence” for a website’s content.
This then makes you even more visible online, which can help you get more backlinks again, and so on and so forth. It’s a cycle that benefits you by bolstering your visibility, credibility, and authority.
It’s an affordable marketing method
We already hinted at this earlier.
SEO can be more affordable than advertising because it’s about the long game and doesn’t work on the same monetisation premise that ads do (where you have to pay to get more views).
Instead, you pay to optimise your website in a way that gives it a good chance of getting more views (courtesy of the search engines via organic search).
Small businesses typically have small marketing budgets and need to allocate dollars strategically. That’s why SEO’s affordability matters in helping them stay competitive.
We’re not saying one of the two (SEO or paid advertising) is definitively better than the other, of course. Just that small businesses with limited budgets may find SEO a better investment in some ways.
It can get you more traffic & conversions
This one should be self-explanatory if you understand how SEO works for businesses.
SEO gets you higher visibility, makes you look legitimate, and makes you easier to access for your target customers.
As such, it’s no surprise that it can help you get more traffic and actual conversions/sales!
Ready to start on your small business’s SEO?
So now you see: there’s a lot to like about SEO when you’re a small business owner.
It can get you the attention you want for your brand, help convince people that you’re a legitimate business, level the playing field, and more.
That being said, getting started on SEO can be daunting for those new to this type of digital marketing.
Fortunately for you, we’re here to help. We’ve worked with many small businesses to bring their SEO up to speed and get them the attention they deserve.
If you need SEO help for a small business, please contact us for a chat for your digital marketing needs