Spoiler: ‘It’s a must for small businesses’.
A question that I am often (and I mean, often) asked is, ‘Is SEO worth it for small businesses?’ Many small business owners worry that they don’t have the time or resources to compete against big businesses in their industry. They feel that they are wasting their energy trying to grab search results from behemoths who have in-house SEO specialists whose only job is to sit around all day making Google love.
From one perspective they’re absolutely right. You probably can’t directly compete with the biggest names in your industry. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.
Think about it like a football game. You’re the smallest player on the field and you’re running the ball up. Do you try to go straight through the biggest player on the other team? Or do you close in, side step like a pro, and show them a clean pair of heels?
In the same vein, a local boutique who goes head-to-head with The Iconic is going to lose. But a local boutique with a sound SEO strategy and some fancy footwork can still score a try. A lot of tries.
SEO is not only worth it for small businesses, but it’s essential.
SEO can get you in the local pack.
Jump onto Google and type in ‘best café’. A map, with a list of three results below will pop up first in the search results. This is what is known as ‘the local pack’.
The local pack is just what it says. It’s the top search results for your area. For me that includes Banneton Bakery and Home Café, but for you it will be entirely different. It will be the best cafes in your area.
Getting into the local pack is fantastic for driving organic traffic and real leads to your website. For one thing, the person running the search is local to you. And that makes them your target audience. In fact, 46% of all Google searches are people seeking local information. And 88% of consumers that do a local search will contact that shop or service that same day.
The people who are finding you on the local pack are already warm leads. They are primed and ready to buy. They are searching for you (or for someone just like you). There was an incredible 900% increase in ‘near me’ or ‘nearby’ searches between 2016 and 2018. And, more importantly, 28% of local online searches, became real-life purchases.
Getting into the local pack means you are suddenly thrust to the top position on the search results page. And those leads convert.
You don’t have to grab ALL the traffic, just the right traffic.
Optimising your website and your content can help small businesses attract the right traffic. No, you probably won’t ever rank for all the keywords, but you don’t have to. You just have to rank for the right ones.
There are now 3.5 billion Google searches being made every single day. And 16 – 20% of those are queries that have never been asked before. That is a massive number of disparate searches. And that means there are a massive number of opportunities to grab keywords and keyphrases and rank for them.
A good SEO strategy will help you find those keywords and keyphrases which will drive organic traffic to your door at the right level of competition for your small business. If you sell doorknobs, you don’t have to compete for ‘doorknobs’ (and you probably won’t be able to!). But you might be able to compete for ‘Australian-made doorknobs’ or ‘doorknobs for a traditional Queenslander’ or ‘the best doorknob trends of 2020’.
Good SEO is good value.
When times get lean for small businesses, marketing is often the first expense to go. It’s a catch-22 because just when you need the business, you can’t afford to get yourself out there. When you rely on paid campaigns (such as Google Ads) you are at the mercy of your money. When the money runs out, so does the campaign.
On the other hand, SEO lasts… if not forever, then for a really long time. Yes, SEO requires time and money to implement, and you will have to make adjustments when the algorithm updates, but those who optimise using solid (white hat) SEO strategy, will see their site climb in the rankings – without having to pay for the privilege.
While ads have a lifespan, SEO doesn’t. Your investment will carry you much further in the end.
A well-optimised website is a powerful lead generator that can continuously provide you with sales leads. And though you might not be The Iconic, or Nike, or Elon Musk, you can compete for keywords and keyphrases that can drive your site ranking up and bring customers to your door. It’s all part of a good, solid SEO strategy.
Your best SEO strategy is having an SEO strategy. Let’s chat.