Why has SEO become so popular and why is it important for a small business?

SEO is a somewhat recent phenomenon. With the rise of the digital age, millions of users access the Internet every single day. On the Internet, many of them will use search engines (primarily Google) in order to search for things they want to know about. One of these things is finding businesses for services or for products. When searching for a business, Google will return search results in the form of pages. Normally, a user will look at the front page of the returned search results and choose a business from here. For this reason, the businesses at the front page of Google will be the ones getting the most clicks and ultimately, the most customers.

SEO (standing for Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing a website and what is contained on it in order to increase its ranking, and bring it to the front page of Google. Google uses a search algorithm that will look at numerous factors when deciding which websites to return as search results on its front page. One of these factors is the architecture of the website.

A website that is well structured, professional-looking and is user-friendly will tick the box for correct and proper architecture in accordance to the Google search algorithm. It will then also look at the content that is on the website. Content that is considered to be informative will be prioritised. Furthermore, it will look at keywords and key phrases within the content and the website that are relevant to the search terms input by the user. Finally, the Google search algorithm will look at what backlinks are featured in the content on the website, as well as how referenced your content is in online mentions.

These factors all contribute to how well your website will rank on the Google search algorithm.

The reason why SEO has become so popular is due to the fact that more and more people are spending time on the Internet, and Google has become the go-to for users looking to search and buy things. With so many businesses online now, it can be hard for a small business to stand out from the crowd and to make themselves known, especially if the industry they are in has many competitors. Marketing has become more and more online based, and SEO is an aspect of this. With SEO, small businesses are able to slowly but surely bring their ranking up, and possibly even to the front page of Google. This will definitely increase their business and brand awareness, leading to more leads, conversions and eventually customers. Digital marketing will always be much more effective than any other form of marketing in this day and age, and thus more focus is being placed on online marketing. SEO has also garnered some attention through controversy, as many businesses have gone to SEO companies and invested into it, only to find no results have occurred.

This can easily be avoided by finding a good SEO company with proper results and testimonials to back up their claims, however, it has still brought SEO to light for a lot of businesses with a different form of publicity.

The primary reason SEO has become so popular is due to the fact that everything is online, and a business can increase its brand awareness and engage a wider audience through SEO, resulting in an increased number of customers in general.

There are a variety of different reasons as to why SEO would be especially important for a small business.

Increase your visibilityA man sitting at a desk smiling at his laptop as his small business gets more visibility with SEO.

By increasing your Google ranking and bringing your website further to the front page, you are making an effort to increase the visibility of your business.

With the correct SEO techniques and work being applied to your small business, you will be able to expand the visibility of your business to a much wider audience and a wider group of prospective customers. There are thousands of Google searches every single day, and there are bound to be some that will look for search terms related to your business. By having your business pop up first, you are exposing the name and your brand to people who could potentially click on your business and become customers.

Even just having your business rank in the relevant results that are returned, you will still be exposed to a large number of potential customers every single day, rather than none if you are not investing into SEO.

You will have an increase in web traffic

Having the relevant keywords and key phrases will ensure that your website will return in search results. This will result in a higher ranking due to the Google search algorithm, and as a result, you will see an increase in web traffic over time. You will also be seen as more credible due to being ranked better by Google, and more people will be inclined to click on your website due to this. Most web traffic is due to relevant search results and by investing into SEO and increasing your ranking, you will definitely have an increase in web traffic.

Increased web traffic means more brand and business awareness and you will have more potential customers. If they look through your website, they will be able to see your services/products. This means they will be more likely to buy your products or services.

You will be able to get to know your customers better

With a higher number of visits and increased web traffic, you will gain a better understanding of user analytics. This will ensure that you better understand where your customers are coming from (to see if you are meeting your target audience), their gender, age and how often they have visited. All of these factors are important, as once you gain an understanding of user analytics, you can tailor your marketing to meet the target audience. It also allows you to measure whether or not your SEO efforts are making a difference and contributing positive change towards your business. Being able to see the changes you are making are positive ones is a big factor, as there are many methods, techniques and software out there that claim to help but have no way of measuring success, which can make it difficult when trying to find out whether your investment was worth it. Luckily, with SEO, it is fairly easy to measure your level of success and tweak your efforts according to this.

Evolve your user experience and user-friendlinessTwo women standing at a whiteboard discussing notes for growing their small business with SEO.

In order to optimize your website for SEO, it has to be structured well and user-friendly. This means the content and the layout of the website must be set out in a way that looks credible and professional. The website must also be user-friendly, meaning that it is accessible and easy to navigate through and use. The Google search algorithm will look at the architecture of the website, and as a result, these things must be taken into consideration. By investing into SEO, you are also helping to evolve your user experience and user-friendliness, as you have to in order to rank well. This also means that users will be happy to use your website and will appreciate the user-friendliness. A more accessible and user-friendly website makes it more likely that the user will stay on the site, thus increasing the chances of them becoming a customer too.

You gain a competitive advantage

By having a good ranking on Google, you are surely going to have a competitive advantage against other businesses. If you try to search for your competition on Google, you are sure to find that many of them are already ranked. This means that when potential customers are searching for services or products similar to yours, their website will likely to come up first. The ones that show up on the front page are more than likely going to have an increased customer base, meaning that they ultimately will have a higher number of sales. When you optimize your website for SEO and grow your ranking, you will be actively competing against other competitors. However, by gaining a front page ranking, you will have a clear competitive advantage over those who do not at all. This is the main reason as to why many people turn to optimising their website for SEO, as it presents a clear competitive advantage and thus more opportunities for sales by targeting a wide audience of users.

You can target your marketing

By increasing your SEO, you are creating new opportunities for more marketing. By increasing SEO, you are bringing in more and more viewers on your website, which is already a good thing as you are creating a wider audience. With an increased audience, you are able to look at the analytics and study the demographic of who is visiting your website. In doing so, you are able to develop marketing strategies that can target these specific demographics, furthering your ability to market and make sales based on this audience. For example, if you look at the analytics given by your chosen SEO company, you can see that more people are searching for specific products or services which are related to your business. You can then develop sales, advertisements and other forms of marketing strategies that are catered towards what they are looking for. The potential customer will then be more inclined to buy your products or services, as it matches what they are looking for. This ultimately results in a much higher number of conversions, and sales.

It keeps you updated

By optimizing your website for SEO, you must stay up to date with the latest developments in emerging technologies which can affect it, as well developments in web development technology and changes in your industry. While it is a good idea to stay up to date on these aspects regardless, many businesses do not. By increasing your SEO, especially if you are with an SEO company, you are forced to stay up to date on these things. This can help you exceptionally, as emerging technologies have the ability to disrupt entire industries and create competitive advantages for those businesses that get onto it quickly. Staying up to date on changes to the Google algorithm (of which a lot happen annually) can ensure that your SEO is tweaked and optimized to match these changes and maintain growth in ranking for your business. Staying up to date on changes in your industry will also mean that you know how to optimize your SEO keywords and strategies based on these changes, to match what your target audience is looking for and so on.

Those businesses who do not stay up to date on changes and match these changes accordingly will ultimately be left behind and lose out on the opportunities presented to them.

SEO can help with social media marketingA woman with SEO notes and a cup of tea typing on a laptop to improve her small business with marketing.

Social media has exploded in popularity in recent years, with platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter garnering millions of users across the world. Social media, as a result, is a perfect hunting ground for marketing and for new potential customers. Having a solid following on social media is very helpful to any business, as it is a platform that allows a business to directly look for and engage with their target audience. Social media can be used to optimize SEO by studying the analytics of the searches completed, and the demographic that they are coming from. By engaging with this demographic and catering towards it, you can create more business. An example of catering towards this is through targeted ads. Many social media platforms allow you to sponsor ads that are targeted towards certain demographics, which will show up on their feed or timeline. This will expose your business to a huge audience of users, and thereby they will be more likely to click on your ad and create business for you. Moreover, by optimizing SEO, a user is more likely to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ a page when it comes up first in the searches. Therefore, having good SEO can significantly help not only Google rankings but also your social media marketing, which is one of the most important things to focus on in this digital age.

SEO is not as expensive as you think

With all the benefits that SEO brings, it can be easy to think that it must be a very expensive service. Many businesses may even attempt to do it themselves. However, it is very important to hire an SEO company in order to help you with your SEO objectives, as they are trained and skilled in doing so. SEO is also not as expensive as one may think. The costs are usually set out in plans which factor in what aspects you want included (advertisements, social media marketing etc.). These will ultimately affect the price; however, it is still not that expensive. This makes it important for small businesses as well as beneficial, as the benefits that SEO brings are significant, and the inexpensive price in comparison to what you get makes it that much more affordable for a small business. The fact you can customize what you want in accordance with price also makes it flexible in costs for a small business.

Add credibility to your business

In order to optimize your SEO for your business, your website needs to look professional and structured, as well as providing informative content for viewers. Furthermore, by having backlinks and online mentions, you will increase the professionalism and credibility of your business overall. When viewers see this, they will see your business as being credible and thus will be more likely to do business with you. Moreover, by having a good ranking on Google and having your website on the front page of search results, you will further be adding to that image of credibility. This will, again, help to increase the likelihood that people will want to do business with your company. Credibility is everything when it comes to attracting customers to not only do business with you, but also even to click on your site. A website that is displayed on the front page will be a hundred times more likely to be clicked on by a potential customer than one that shows up on the 6th page or does not even show up at all. Credibility is what makes the difference between a customer viewing your site, and deciding to do business with you.

In summary, SEO is very important for any small business. This is because it can help a business be more professional and credible, engage a wider audience of potential customers, target these potential customers with marketing strategies and ultimately create more sales as a result. A small business with an SEO advantage will be much more likely to grow significantly in comparison to one that does not focus on online and digital marketing.

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