When you’re a small business, it’s easy to feel like you can’t compete with larger companies. Let’s say you’re a roofing contractor or a bumper repair mechanic with a startup. You probably don’t have a huge marketing budget to attract more customers. The good news is that you don’t need to because once you understand the principles of SEO and digital marketing, you’re already one step ahead of competitors who don’t. According to Statista, over two billion people purchased goods or services online in 2020 alone. This is one of the strongest indicators that even small local businesses need SEO. In this article, we look at the importance of SEO and digital marketing to small business owners.
Most of Your Customers Are Online
Today, we live in a fast-paced world where people value convenience more than ever. It’s not far-fetched to assume that one of the first things your customers will do when they are looking for your services or products is to research online. The question is, will they find your business there? One of the top reasons why small local businesses need SEO is that it helps them establish a solid, online presence. When you have a solid online presence, your business will be highly visible when potential customers shop online. Even if you run a brick-and-mortar business like an oil change shop where customers have to bring in their vehicles physically, you find that your customers will still prefer to start their shopping journey online.
In the current digital age, it’s now possible for consumers to locate the services and products they love quickly and conveniently. Once you realize that a big chunk of your customers is online, you should also realize that that’s where you need to be if you want to make life easier for customers and appear legitimate at the same time. You could be an auto insurance company or an e-commerce company – regardless of your niche, it’s all about making your business easily accessible. One popular question that most consumers have is “How do I find the right X services for my needs?”
The common advice is to research online by checking the company’s website and social media presence. Potential customers also want to know what others say about you so they will check online reviews and ratings. The key takeaway here is that small local businesses need SEO because it’s what customers want. Customers want to find you and connect with you online. If you can’t give them that, then chances are they will head over to your competitors who have an online presence.
People Prefer to Work With Local Businesses
Another reason why small local businesses need SEO is that it allows you to target the people who are more likely to buy into your business offer. Many people understand the benefits of dealing with a local business, and as a local business, you can leverage local SEO, which helps you boost your visibility in local search engine results. For example, consider a customer who wants to replace their windows or siding to increase the overall energy efficiency of their home. The customer can simply type “the best siding service company near me” or “the best window company near me.” These “near me” searches are very common and indicate the searcher is prepared to spend money on a business that’s geographically close to them.
These are the best kind of searches because they are almost always made with the intention of making a purchase. At this point, the customer already knows what they want, whether it’s new siding or windows, and they’re simply looking for a legitimate business that can help them get what they want. If you want to capitalize on the benefits of local SEO, keep in mind that Google promotes geographically-constrained searches based on the proximity, relevance, and prominence of your business. That means if you want to attract customers who live close to where your business is located, you need to help these local customers find you.
The best way for businesses to make the most of local SEO is by creating accurate and consistent local citations, setting up a Google My Business Profile, uploading hyperlocal content, or listing your business in online local directories. With local citations, there should be many online mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number, while local directories like Yelp and Google My Business ensure that your business appears legitimate and helps search engines trust your data.
SEO Is a Long-Term Affordable Strategy
When it comes to why small local businesses need SEO, the major advantage is that SEO is a relatively low-cost marketing method compared to other traditional advertising methods. Even if you have to work with SEO experts who understand website design and Google algorithms, it’s still a profitable investment with long-term rewards. For starters, while SEO results take time, the benefit is they help you achieve long-lasting rankings without costing you much. SEO is often compared to an advertising method like pay-per-click or PPC. With PPC the results are immediate but they stop as soon as you stop paying for the ads.
On the other hand, once you have improved your rankings with the right SEO strategies, you can maintain the results and your rankings for a considerable amount of time. The trick is to regularly update your site and optimize your local SEO to keep things relevant. If you offer air conditioning services, that means you can market your business more effectively for less money, even when there are many air conditioning companies competing for the same piece of the pie. This is especially helpful for small businesses with a small marketing budget. Many small businesses and startups usually have a limited marketing budget.
The good news is that advertising online can make your money stretch further, and it also allows you to strategically target the people that matter to your business. The last thing you want is to spend all your advertising efforts and resources on people who are not interested in your business. You don’t have the marketing capabilities of a large corporation to succeed as a small business. Things like launching a website, uploading quality SEO-optimized content, and starting a Facebook campaign don’t have to break the bank. Once your efforts pay off, these investments will help you generate leads to ensure your business success online over time.
SEO Can Help Your Business Grow
Investing in SEO is a way of setting your business up for success. Small local businesses need SEO more than ever if they plan to grow their operations and expand to other markets. The sooner you implement an SEO strategy, the quicker you can optimize your site. If you get started now, that means by the time your competitors start to focus on their own SEO strategies, you’ll be way ahead of them. Continuous SEO efforts will ensure that your site is always attracting visitors and slowly climbing up the SERPs. Sure, it takes time, but so does growing a business and once you achieve your business growth objectives, you’ll be glad of the investment you made. Proper SEO helps improve your sales and marketing leads, allowing you to grow your business. Hence, if you’re looking to grow your business, implementing local SEO measures can be the best use of company resources.
Effective SEO Strategies Deliver a High ROI
Another crucial part of why small local businesses need SEO is because it delivers a high ROI, period. There’s no denying that we live in a world where the Internet of Things is transforming the business landscape. More and more people prefer to shop online, and it’s not uncommon for consumers to whip out their mobile phones and search for the products and services they need online. The best return on investment comes from the fact that SEO promotes organic traffic that generates well. Let’s say you specialize in flat roof restorations or you own a septic tank company. People that search specifically for your businesses are already serious about hiring you. With the right SEO strategy, you’re making it easier for these people to find you.
That said, small businesses should note that only proper SEO can deliver a high ROI. The mistake most businesses make is to try and save money by doing all the work themselves. This doesn’t work because SEO takes a lot of work. There’s a long list of tasks you have to pay attention to, such as optimizing copy and landing pages, doing keyword research, monitoring backlinks, and more. This is in addition to running your business. That means you won’t have enough energy and time to invest in increasing the efficiency of your operations because you’re also focused on developing, implementing, and tweaking your SEO strategies.
In that case, it’s better to leave it to the professionals. While it’s possible to eventually get the hang of it, enlisting the help of SEO experts means you can avoid costly mistakes that delay your results. Therefore, instead of performing SEO work yourself, it’s often better to outsource to an affordable online agency. Even if you’re the smallest of companies or a professional with a niche career, such as a log home refinisher, SEO ensures that you can optimize your marketing efforts. It will be more profitable for you if you can work with experts that can develop a high-quality SEO strategy with the best return on investment.
You Can Measure SEO Results
You may be thinking, even if small local businesses need SEO, how do you know it actually works? Well, fortunately, SEO is not a game of guesswork, because you can measure SEO results to see what’s working and what’s not. The most important thing is to collect relevant data, so you have all the details to analyze and gain valuable insights into how well your business is doing. That way, you know how well your website is performing, so you can make the necessary adjustments. Since SEO is a long-term strategy that initially demands a lot of work, it’s essential that you know what works and what doesn’t work.
This prevents you from investing a lot of effort doing things like creating content, building links, and optimizing tags, only to find out that the results are far less than expected. Thus, small local businesses need SEO because it’s an investment with proven results. In other words, SEO works, and if it’s not working for you, you simply need to change your approach until you get the results you want. SEO is a worthwhile investment because, right from the start, there are best practices you can follow, and there are SEO metrics you can measure to see if you’re headed in the right direction.
For example, the best SEO practices involve having a user-friendly website design and optimized images. Your website also needs quality content with the right keywords if you want to start climbing search engine result pages. So, how do you know if this works? The most important metric you can track is the organic traffic to your site. If the number of organic visits to your site doubles within a specific time after implementing SEO strategies, then clearly you have a winning formula. You can also use the right tools to analyze your website and keyword rankings so you can optimize your SEO campaign.
As you can see, there are many reasons why small local businesses need SEO. To summarize, the world is increasingly becoming digital, meaning more and more of your clients prefer to shop for your services online. Therefore, SEO is one of the greatest opportunities at your disposal. Failure to include SEO in your marketing strategy allows your competitors to quickly outpace you, and it can be difficult to catch up and stay relevant once this happens. According to data from the Bureau of Labor, roughly 20% of businesses fail within the first two years of opening. If you want to avoid being part of these statistics, you can get ahead by focusing on SEO right from the start, especially if you’re looking to expand into the global marketplace.