Everybody in business today needs to know something about SEO or the benefits of SEO to a small business in order to stay competitive or have any chances of survival or maintaining relevance in their niche at all! Why? Because your competitor is doing it… your favorite cafe or bar has a facebook page and an Instagram account where they share fun info with their customers, even giants like Coca-Cola run localized SEO campaigns on a constant basis.
One fact you will want to know now before you get into anything is that the SEO process is slow, demanding, and progressive. Everything you do towards your SEO project builds upon everyday efforts to an exponential growth. In simple terms, a keyword research done today, guides your web content development, blog content creation, directory submissions, search engine submissions, even when sharing on social media… sometimes. Every other “bait” content like sales copies will also need to include a few keywords here and there for them to maintain relevance and the connection to your main website. You will soon learn the power and value (positive or negative…) of a link (whether outgoing or incoming) once you get into your own SEO project.
So how can small businesses use SEO to get ahead?
#1 – Do Some SEO Research On Your Own
Okay, after dealing so many SEO clients over the years, I figured it would do anyone reading this article some good if I put it here first. This is especially directed to total SEO newbies…
Please find out some bit of info about what you will soon be paying for. I’m sure your SEO will appreciate it very much. Here’s the thing, many businesses that go out to hire SEO providers don’t really know what they’re paying for and what they’re getting into. That presents all sorts of problems between the SEO provider and the client.
First, so many questions go unasked from the part of the client, and this has the effect of leaving the SEO provider in total confusion about the direction to take with your SEO project. See, every SEO project has its own unique approach despite the similarities in the different techniques used. A business that doesn’t follow their SEO progress may not know or have the right questions to ask their SEO. How would you question a website audit report if you don’t know what a website audit report entails? How on earth would you tell if your website or copies are converting into sales if you don’t know how to interpret your SEO’s web traffic reports, or even how to relate this info to the increase or decrease of your actual business?
Learn some SEO… that way you can appreciate the long hours spent by your SEO when they’re mining data to provide you with simplified progress reports. You will also be better placed to discuss and suggest any changes you and your SEO see fit for the success of the project.
#2 – Finding Your SEO
This has to be the trickiest part. You will realize once you’ve done some SEO research that most of the things look like very simple DIY’s. In truth, they kind of are… but you need an expert SEO to move you through the ranks faster and to do the bulk work for you. Chances are… they already have a set of professional SEO tools that would reduce a year’s SEO work into only a few months of work.
For a small business, you will probably want to deal with a local; someone you can meet for face to face meetings when need be. We will discuss more on the advantages of this later. Although you can easily find a good SEO company online that may work for you, some problems that will definitely crop up in future will provide very difficult situations when it comes to dealing with your local market. A good example is when brainstorming for local marketing strategies. You need to be on the same page in terms of marketing trends and entry strategies with your SEO for you to work out anything tangible as a team.
As earlier stated, finding a good SEO can be tricky because as you will also soon find out… you not only need someone who can deliver everything you think SEO should entail, but someone you can trust to honestly put in the time to go through the tiniest of details that mean something to your SEO campaign.
You can vet them by asking for and actually taking time to go through important info such as their previous and current clientele portfolio, you can ask to see their website (very important!!), you can try running their website on hubspot and check out their SEO score.
#3 – Start Small, Go Local
You will be overwhelmed by all the info you will run into and across once you get into SEO for your small business. Don’t get carried away, remember, SEO is a slow process so DO NOT expect any overnight magic!
Everything currently seems to be pointing towards local SEO. This means optimizing your SEO efforts for your local search engine (or localized SE like Google…) and for your local market. One thing you will realize is that your business will need real-life testimonials from real customers to gain trust with online users when it’s time for expansion. Who’s better placed to give an honest opinion about you other than your next door neighbor of 1 year or 8 months or 20 years? In short, people who will hopefully help you grow your business to that next level are your local customers. Of course the type of business may require you to target different markets (including international markets…) depending on what products or services you’re dealing with.
All in all, people trust honest reviews from actual customers and about 91% of online buyers or even physical buyers to some extent will most likely go through a few reviews before they can trust your brand or trust you with their money for your services or buy your products.
Your SEO project will most like fail if you don’t have a good entry plan. Just because your competitor is doing it doesn’t mean you should also jump right into it, get your priorities in order first and determine why you need SEO services in the first place. This will help you in future when quantifying and qualifying results of your SEO efforts, failures and successes. Sure, you’ll be running separate competitive SEO campaigns, but you can also be sure that those two capmaigns will be pushed by business specific factors to take very different directions.
Lastly, let your SEO campaign begin with a strong social media entry… the sooner your business brand has an authoritative social media presence the better for your overall SEO success. You will thank yourself later…
Good luck taking your SEO campaign to the highest heights!