Almost every time I meet with a new client to audit their site and discuss SEO I hear this familiar refrain, “I want to be on the first page of Google and at the top of the page!” I actually am glad to hear this because it gives me a chance to explain SEO…to educate my client about how search engine marketing works.
These days anyone can have a business website built in a couple of hours using popular providers like GoDaddy, Vistaprint, Wix or Weebly. However, once it’s launched, the real work begins and many new business or small business owners don’t even know what SEO is, let alone what to do or the impact it will have on their business growth. Even worse is being taken advantage of by paying for services that promise top ranking, extra packages or add-ons they may not need or understand.
SEO is about optimizing your site to deliver search engine friendly content so you can be found quickly by your prospects, make it easy for them to interact with your site and ultimately do business with you. Let’s break this down:
- optimize your site – on-page content with keywords and relevant information that solves your customer’s problems is the key. Make sure your site loads quickly and has no broken links. Google hates slow websites. Also, having a secure site (HTTPS encrypted) is now a signal in Google’s ranking algorithms.
- search engine friendly content – be relevant to what users are searching for with your content, don’t just rely on keywords; use phrases that solve your customers’ problems. 72% of marketers said relevant content creation is the most effective tactic when creating SEO strategy.
- found quickly – social media signals, blogging, links, online reviews and Google maps are crucial. Having a local marketing strategy is key. 30% of mobile searches are related to a location (Google, 2016)
- easy to interact with your site – a mobile friendly site is a must, that loads quickly, with good internal navigation that boosts user experience. More than 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load!
- do business with you – 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep (Demand Gen Report, 2016), 88% of users trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (BrightLocal).
There are two more important points I want to highlight:
- Time: It’s going to take time to rank on Google and other search engines. Regardless of your strategy, unless you are paying for ads, you may not see results for a few weeks (depending on your business and competition). Remember, even if you become #1, your competition is likely doing the same work on SEO you are and will outrank you if they can!
- Voice Search: In case you are thinking you might get away without an SEO strategy, the future has already arrived with voice search. According to HubSpot (2015) 19% of people use Siri at least daily and 60% of smartphone users who use voice search have begun using it within the past year (Search Engine Land, 2015). Further 43% of mobile voice search users do so because they say it is quicker than going on a website or using an app (Statista, 2015). If you are a local business, let’s say a plumber, you don’t want to be left out when someone stands in their living room and asks their Echo, “Find me a plumber in xxxtown with a five star rating.”
SEO isn’t rocket science, but it takes planning, execution and persistence. Google search rankings are important, but if you are getting sales and growing your business then this is the real measure of success.
As a small business, you might consider hiring someone to help you with SEO, so make sure to find a trusted partner that has your best interests in mind.
Thank you for reading and feel free to contact me. Please share if you think it will help someone or share your owns SEO success or struggle with your business.