Why your small business needs SEO

5 ways SEO could boost your business

From improving brand visibility to providing valuable customer insights, SEO is an effective marketing tool that small business can’t afford to ignore.

In the last decade or so, and particularly since the proliferation of smart phones, SEO has emerged as one of the most important and effective business marketing tools.

This is especially true for small businesses and start-ups, with one SEO Essex firm we spoke to claiming that SEO should be an essential and central part of any small business’ marketing strategy. Here’s why.

Beat the competition

Why do you need to do SEO? Quite simply, because your competitors are doing it. The higher up you appear in search engine results, the more likely you are to see people clicking through to your website. In fact, research shows that the first page of Google receives over 90% of search traffic – and the top listings receive around a third of all organic search traffic! So, if you’re not putting time and effort into your SEO activities you can be sure that your competitors will be. This means that customers will be visiting your competitors’ websites rather than your own, which is likely to have a negative impact on your business over the longer term.

Improve brand visibility

As a small business, the secret to success lies in getting your name out there and ensuring that people are familiar with your brand – after all, people can’t buy your products if they don’t know you exist. The good news is that, when done well, SEO can be hugely effective at increasing your brand visibility. Appearing on the first page of search engine results will significantly increase the number of potential customers who come into contact with your organisation, helping to boost awareness of your products and services, which can eventually lead to increased sales.

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Cost-effective marketing

Many traditional marketing methods can be cost prohibitive, especially if you are a small business operating to a tight budget. In contrast, SEO offers a cost-effective way to build awareness of your brand, helping you to get your products or services in front of a large audience and driving potential customers to your website. With the right SEO know-how and some great onsite content, you can soon find yourself quickly rising up the search engine rankings and expanding your reach, without having to blow your budget on expensive adverts and other, more traditional, marketing activities.

Continuous improvement

As with any marketing activity, successful SEO relies on measurement and evaluation. However, unlike many other marketing methods, SEO tools allow you to monitor and analyse your activities in real-time, which in turn enables you to continually adjust and improve your SEO activities so that they achieve the best results. When it comes to SEO you can monitor a whole host of different metrics but, for most small businesses, metrics such as engagement, organic traffic, search engine position and conversions tend to give the most valuable insight.

Customer insight

As we’ve mentioned above, SEO generates huge amounts of data, and this data can give you valuable insights into the behaviour and preferences of your target market – from what search terms they are using to how much time they’re spending on your website and what products they are most interested in. Having this information at your fingertips will enable you to adjust your marketing activity accordingly to ensure that it has the maximum reach and impact.

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SEO offers lots of benefits and, as a small business, you ignore it at your peril. If you don’t have the time or expertise to take it on yourself, you can always outsource to a professional who can help you to capitalise on the power of SEO and take your business to the next level.

Read more: Getting started with search engine optimisation »