Search engine optimization (SEO) is a strategy that digital marketers, online influencers and bloggers use to make their sites more visible to internet users worldwide. It involves the use of specific words and phrases to increase a website’s ranking and authority in search engines. Essentially, SEO is an organic way of driving traffic to your small business website.
SEO, What It Is and Does
Generally, if people want to find out information on a topic, they will use a search engine to look for related articles and blog posts. The major search engines that most everyone uses are Yahoo, Bing, and Google. If someone has written a post that is “SEO worthy”, it will likely contain the same keywords that the users are searching. When done correctly, utilizing such keywords will boost the post’s ranking in the search results, giving the website free exposure to billions of people.
SEO can be done either on-site or off-site, but for the purposes of this post we will focus mainly on on-site optimization.
On-site optimization pertains to articles that use (but don’t overuse) keywords that frequently come up in search engines. When you decide on a topic to write, generate a list of some of the biggest keywords people might use to search for posts of the same topic and be sure to use those words as much as possible in your piece. You should use them in headings, sub-headings, and the body of the text multiple times, if you want your piece to catch the attention of search engines.
Adding tags to your posts can also be very beneficial to driving traffic to your site. Tags are another response search engines give to search engine questions. If you tagged your blog post as pertaining to “health”, that is another clue for search engines to know what to do with your blog and when to use it as a response to a user’s query.
Finally, with on-site optimization, content writers, digital marketers and bloggers can use their prowess in persuasive writing to get people interested in what they have to offer. If done with the right amount of finesse, writers may even get readers who will subscribe to the site or share the post with their friends.
Small Business and SEO
During the first stages of the small business, it is always a struggle to spread the word about your business. You’re one small fish in a very big pond, right? So how does SEO come in? If you’re a small business, it’s likely you don’t have a large budget for marketing, so it is always beneficial to discover ways to attract new customers without having to spend money. Because SEO only requires time and effort to carefully craft your online material, it can help your company save resources.
Pros of SEO for Small Businesses
#1 Focused and Free Traffic
One of the beauties of the Internet is that it can be accessed by anyone from any corner of the world. The people who come to your website will likely be people who care about or have an interest in what you do. Why else would they have specifically searched for something you provide? Therefore, without having to spend any money for advertising, your small business and website engagement can grow organically.
#2 Word of Mouth Marketing
Most websites and blog posts come with social media friendly tools that allow people to use their social media accounts to like your post, comment on it, or share. When they do so, their friends will be able to see what has been shared on their feeds. Gradually, these people are helping to increase the potential engagement and audience for your small business.
#3 Be an Authority in Your Niche
When a search engine favors your website, they will likely place your blog posts on the first page of responses to search enquiries. Most people will not venture past the first page of results in a search to find an answer. They will take the authority of whomever comes up first. By implementing SEO into your writing practice, you can be established as an authority in your niche.
Cons of SEO for Small Businesses
Along with pros, there will always be cons. To enlighten you, here are a few.
#1 It Takes Effort
Even though SEO is one of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways of marketing your small business, it takes a lot of time and effort before you achieve your desired results. Not only must you take the time to create the content for your site, but all of your content will need to be indexed by search engines, which could take days, weeks, or even months.
#2 Risk of Failure
Incorporating SEO into your website does not always guarantee success. Sometimes your page will be outranked by others who have already established their authority on a subject. Unless your content is good enough to attract the attention of a large number of people, it might be difficult to break into the higher rankings for your category.
Helpful SEO Tips
Small businesses can use SEO to become authorities in their industries. SEO is a very powerful tool that has the potential to market your business for you in a large way.
If you’re using WordPress for your website, there is a plugin called Yoast SEO which could be very helpful in writing your content. Other tools are Buffer and Hootsuite, which may be used to schedule posts on your social handles for off-site optimization.
In the end, your website is only going to be as strong as the time and effort you put into making sure the content is strong. Incorporating SEO into well-written posts actually doesn’t require much work, but the benefits can be immeasurable.
~ Maria Kristine, Tuxedo Impressions LLC™