Data & Facts communicate a lot about critical elements in today’s business world and that includes SEO and how this is more important for all businesses. The plague that hit the world in 2020 and caused a lockdown made many businesses realise the importance of having an online visibility. Businesses that had invested in search engine optimisation continued trading seamlessly as they were there on the first page of Google & Bing search engines when people searched for them and we were able to deliver their orders(ecommerce, retails, restaurants, car showrooms etc). However, not all businesses benefited from this especially those in the service industry.
With 93% of online experiences beginning
with a search engine, a well-organised, tactical SEO strategy has never been more important in setting yourself apart from the competition. As we already know No Business Operates In a vacuum.
Even emerging economies and developing countries have access to the same technologies (smartphones) as the west and a Google study done recently by thinkwithGoogle indicates that 70% of smartphone owners who bought something from a retail store first turned to their mobiles for additional information relevant to that purchase in this key moment. Additionally, 30% used a search engine specifically before proceeding to purchase.
What are the key benefits of SEO for small businesses?
A lot of people when asked how they ended up using company A and not company B, they say, we found them on page 1 of Google and made contact. It is clear that search engine users are more likely to trust a site that is on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) than brands who are not. This is why when speaking to new startups and small business owners I strongly recommend that they need to utilise SEO to build a strong web presence that will help them bypass their competitors which would in turn bring more qualified potential customers and increase their conversion rates.
This is only possible through SEO and we will explain in detail below.
Bring More customers
Customers from Generation X (1965-79), Y (1980-94) & Z (1995-2015) do their research before buying. This is one of the biggest advantages of the internet from the perspective of a buyer. If you want your business to rank as high as possible for search terms and keywords that fall into your industry or what we refer to as a niche. Local SEO enhances that visibility. By performing local SEO you let potential customers find the answers they are looking for, and at the same time the businesses providing those answers. That way, when consumers type in those keywords and phrases, you’ll be right at the top for them to click on.
Build Brand Awareness
For you to attain that brand visibility you need to earn trust and credibility for Google to rank you in page 1. This is earned over time.
Google encourages us to write content for consumers and not the search engine. Why? Consumers are more likely to trust a brand that appears in the Top 5 positions than it is towards results in page 2 on wards. Again, being highly visible on the SERP (Search engine ranking positions) means you become a trusted resource by Google and this comes with additional perks which in turn improves how users view your brand.
Your competitors are doing it
If your competitors are ranking above you for one of your potential service & products keywords, chances are they are doing search engine optimisation (SEO) or paying a digital agency to outperform you. As marketers know, Google owns a significantly larger portion (75%) of the search market than competitors like Yahoo, Bing, Baidu (Chinese), Yandex (Russian), DuckDuckGo (Internet privacy company), amongst others and therefore, ranking high on Google will generate good traffic to your website. Being highly visible on the SERP makes you a trusted resource by all search engines and is always going to work in favour of your brand.
Local and Small businesses have a great shot at ending up at the top of organic search results, so long as their SEO is properly implemented using the right strategies.
Therefore, simply being on the internet is not enough. We see it all the time. Small businesses create their first website and instead of hiring an SEO expert to push it up the ranks, they sit waiting for the leads to come in. That will never work!
This is because as mentioned in the introduction, approximately 90% of consumers searching on the internet do NOT venture past the very first page of the search results and just having a website will not cut it. To put it in plain words, ignoring SEO is allowing your competition to have an advantage on you in the market.
We have done campaigns for many local businesses and as a result are competing against large national brands, and 90% we have been able to outrank them using Google best practices.
It’s a long term strategy & Cheap
SEO is relatively cheap compared to paying for Pay Per Click (PPC) Google Ads. I normally say to all my clients, that SEO is not a marketing cost, but an investment to the business and if well implemented it will get better with the more attention you offer it with longterm brand benefits and increase in profits.
It is best to keep up with trends as Google continuously updates its rule book and this can be seen by the best practices guidance reports they release every few months and the constant algorithm updates we see every so often.
Better User Experience
Google is using Natural language and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and has learnt how to interpret good and bad use experience. For Google to reward you with good rankings and more traffic, your website needs to deliver the best answers to queries, solutions to problems, and deliver them fast with fewer clicks.
This is why we optimise websites for speed (fast loading time), insert solutions to known problems to easily accessible areas (top of the page), contact forms (less personal details) etc, all these done to increase a positive user experience. This goes hand in hand with conversion rate optimisation (CRO).
Better conversion rates
Organic or natural search is a huge part of most business’s website performance. It is also a critical component of the buyer funnel and ultimately getting users to complete a conversion or engagement. This can only be understood better through SEO and marketing team working closely.
Better Return on Investment (ROI)
SEO is affordable in the sense that it is customizable for the respective budget and needs of your small business. While SEO’s ROI isn’t easily calculated like PPC paid search, it is still quantifiable with results paying for itself in the long run. All brands want to know where they were, where they are and certainly where they are going and this is delivered well by SEO and data from search console and analytics will show you its success in growth and leads generated from these efforts.
We all use different search terms when searching on Google, based on our age, education, culture etc and as such a professional SEO consultant or experienced SEO company will find and discover new opportunities to deliver more traffic to your website. At Simba Digital we are able to leverage new opportunities from long tail search terms that you wouldn’t necessarily spot and these tend to be the best at delivering the most qualified leads and warm audience.
A lot of your competitors have been doing SEO for years and have earned the respect of Google and you are not going to outrank them right away. Even with all the algorithm changes, the importance of SEO will only increase as time goes on, so there’s no better time than the present to start putting together your strategy. As we keep stating, no business operates in a vacuum and investment in SEO and its integration with other channels like social media and paid search should be part of your digital marketing strategy.
In a nutshell, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is imperative since it is a cost-effective manner of attracting new business and also essential for your business long-term success.