SEO (search engine optimisation) is one of the most overlooked and misunderstood aspects of web design. It is often seen as an illusive form of black magic which has lead to many business owners devaluing it against other, more traditional, forms of marketing. However, in reality SEO is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing which produces a high return on investment.
Many business professionals are often discouraged by SEO which is mainly due to a lack of understanding and also because unlike other forms of internet marketing, for example PPC, the results aren’t instant. Rather than looking at SEO as a monthly cost, it should be seen as a long term investment which will strengthen your company, increase sales and improve your website’s usability.
So why is SEO so important for small businesses? Well, SEO should be a key focus in every company’s marketing strategy but for small businesses, with a limited budget, it is even more important as it provides a wide range of benefits which other marketing strategies don’t.
SEO Helps Increase Your Brand Awareness & Visibility
The majority of people when searching for a product or service do so more than once. Each time they alter their phrases and home in on their requirements. If your company is appearing on the first page of Google each and every time, there is a high probability they will click through to your website with the confidence that the services you are offering match their requirements.
SEO Increases Your Website's Traffic
The nature of SEO (search engine optimisation) is to get your website ranking high in search engines for relevant keywords and phrases. Doing this will evidently increase your website’s traffic with genuine people who are looking for your services. Think of it this way, the more people who can find you the more chances there are of making a sale.
Half The Battle Is Already Won
Think about it, unlike traditional forms of marketing where you have to interrupt people’s favourite television show or clog up their letter boxes with unnecessary leaflets, SEO allows you to market to the people who are actively looking for your services. All you have to do is make sure you’re visible when people need you and convince them they should choose you over your competitors.
SEO Can Also Drive Offline Sales
Typically most offline sales start with research which was conducted on the internet. This is why SEO should be a key component of every company’s marketing strategy. Your website should be seen as a non-stop sales tool which works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year. A study conducted in 2013 by Accenture suggests more than 88% of customer research items online before buying in a physical store.
SEO Strengthens Your Website And Improves Usability
A big part of SEO is monitoring your website’s performance and usage. Doing this, through the use of heat mapping, user recordings and analytics, gives us genuine insight into how users are using your website. This can help identify any issues or improvements which need to be made to your website in order to generate more sales. It also helps us to understand whether visitors are distracted by too many choices, why they a leaving before enquiring and which elements are evoking the best responses and conversion rates.