As a small business owner, you are often responsible for every department your company is involved in. You are required to handle the finances, HR and marketing departments with almost no help. These three departments play an important role in any business, becoming a success or a failure.
Most small business owners are able to handle the financial and HR departments by themselves, but get confused or are clueless when it comes to marketing. Should they use traditional methods of marketing for their business? Or should they use digital marketing? If they do decide to go with digital marketing, which type of digital marketing should they consider? Should they concentrate on social media such as Instagram or Facebook? Or should they concentrate on Google ads and ads displayed online? Or should they create their own website and concentrate on SEO to gain traffic.
The answer varies from business to business, and in some cases, it might even be best to be involved in all of these different areas of digital marketing. However, in this article, we are going to tell you why SEO is so important for small businesses and how a good SEO campaign can be beneficial for your small business in the long run.
Is SEO Essential For Small Businesses?
The importance of SEO for small businesses can not be underestimated; SEO gives you almost an equal playing field to compete with other businesses. SEO gives you an equal chance of competing with local and international businesses online. Continue reading to find out how SEO can help your small business.
1. SEO Increases Brand Recognition
Brand awareness represents how familiar your target audience is with your brand and how well they recognize it. Improving your businesses brand awareness is valuable when you want to market and sell your products. Brand awareness is important for businesses of all sizes, but it is very essential for startups and small businesses who want to grow their clientele consistently.
Some of you readers, may like to calculate success in neat terms and figures. If so, the term brand awareness may be annoying for you as it is a very vague concept that cannot be calculated to a specific figure. But, just because you can’t calculate whether your brand awareness has decreased or increased, does not make building brand awareness non-essential.
Brand awareness allows consumers to relate to your brand and allows the readers to trust your brand, which in turn motivates them to buy your product or service.
A. How Brand Awareness Impacts Consumers Buying Behavior
Studies have shown that consumers decide where to buy a product from when they are aware of a brand. When exposed to newer brands, consumers take a long time to decide whether they want to buy the product as they have doubts about the product. This is because they have thoughts such as “is the product of good quality”? Or “is this product worth its cost?” that always pops in their mind when buying a product from an unknown brand.
All of these questions don’t pop in the mind of consumers when they are aware of your brand, therefore making the process of selling a product or a service a lot more easier.
This shows that building brand awareness can increase your market share in a number of ways. Increasing your brand awareness prevents consumers or makes it difficult for consumers to choose products from other brands. Depending on the industry you are working in, you might even need an aggressive brand awareness campaign to become a brand that consumers can consider.
Note: Studies show that brand awareness and cost do not go hand in hand, which means that just because your brand awareness is increasing, does not mean you can increase the price of your product or service.
B. How Small Businesses Can Harness SEO For Brand Awareness In Small Regions
In small regions, most queries searched on Google will include a location or terms such as “near me”. For example, if you wanted to find an Indian restaurant to eat lunch, you would go to Google and search for ‘Indian restaurants near me’ or ‘Indian restaurants in XYZ’. If your website is properly optimized, your website will show for these terms. Ranking consistently for these terms will make the user subconsciously remember the name of your store, and it will tempt them to visit the store the next time they are near your store.
You should also keep in mind that most users assume that a website ranking first for their particular search query means that the website has the best product or service. This is why when you are doing SEO for small business; it is essential to do local SEO. You can learn more about local SEO by reading our article “How To Do Local SEO?”.
2. SEO Improves Traffic
As a small business owner, you must know how challenging it is to get customers to enter your store. Every business has gone through this phase finding ways to attract customers to their store. Even the big business you see today, such as Mcdonalds or Ikea, have gone through this phase.
This is where Search Engine Optimization or SEO comes in. If you rank on the top for a particular search term consistently, you are likely to gain more traffic. In fact, according to Backlinko, the top-ranking page of an organic search results page (SERP) has a CTR of 31.7%.
Another stat you should keep in mind is that the average top ranking page also ranks in the top 10 search results nearly 1000 other relevant keywords (source). This means that you are receiving traffic not only for the keyword you have targeted but also for keywords similar to the one you are targeting. If you are struggling to rank for a keyword of your choice during the Covid-19 pandemic, this article should help you.
3. SEO Generates Interested Customers
As a small business owner, it is important to ensure that you have a high return on the amount of money you are investing. If you were to invest in making a TV ad or even a banner ad, you would be targeting everyone that sees the ad. This happens even in social media ads, and this is where SEO has the edge over other forms of marketing.
If I were to rank for the term “affordable SEO services for small business”, I know that the people approaching me are interested in SEO services, they have a small business and that they are not looking to spend a lot of money on SEO. This makes it easier for the traffic to be converted into a client.
Remember how I said that people tend to trust Google and the results they show for a particular query? So if I were to rank first for the term “SEO Services For Small Business”, I would automatically improve my brand awareness, gain traffic and convert the traffic into clients or consumers.
4. SEO Helps You Learn Your Customers
A properly optimized website will improve your search engine visibility, usability and credibility, thereby improving the traffic in your site. Once you start enjoying a larger number of visitors on your website, you can use Google Analytics (a software that shows you stats of your website) to track information of the visitors that have visited your website.
Information such as the browser your visitors use, their geographical location, the time they have spent on your website, on which page of your website they have spent the most amount of time. You basically get to see what visitors have done from the time they entered your website, to the time they leave your website.
All of this information that you receive from Google Analytics and other SEO tools will help you find your target audience in more detail, help you advertise your brand better and plan strategies on ways to improve your business.
5. Why SEO Is Cheaper Than Ads
One of the biggest advantages of doing SEO for small business is ROI. In terms of ROI, SEO is one of the best long term investments you can make. With all of the benefits of doing SEO mentioned in this article? Doing SEO must be expensive, right? SEO is inexpensive, or in better terms, I should say that in the long run, SEO is cheaper than other forms of advertising. Here is why:
A. High Competition = High PPC
Getting your ad shown on Google or Social Media, will get you instant results. But, to get your ad shown, you are going to have to face a lot of competition, Google Ads shows ads based on two factors Ad rank and the amount of money you are willing to spend. If your ad rank is not as good as your competitors, you are going to have to pay more money for your ad to be shown. A small business doing this for a long period is unfeasible.
If we talk about video ads and you plan on running an ad on Youtube or doing a video ad on any other platform, you are going to have to spend money on making the video, hiring an influencer if required and at the end of it all; you are going to want the visitors to visit your website to buy your product or service.
B. Higher Ad Cost With Inefficient Website
When your ads start getting shown using Google Ads, you are going to lead the viewers to your website. If your website has not been optimized well and has a high bounce rate, Google will remove your ad. Wouldn’t it be easier to focus on creating an optimized website in the first place?
C. Recurring Expenditure
When you are involved in Google ads, the amount spent to show your ad is a recurring cost. The ad will be removed once you stop the payment; on the other hand, if done properly, SEO will continue to show your website for a period even after you have stopped investing in it. So If brand awareness is your goal, or getting traffic or conversions is your goal, I would recommend concentrating on SEO as it is cheaper and longer-lasting. However, if you want quicker results, then you should focus on Google Ads.
With the invention of smartphones, laptops and the internet, the amount of screentime has gone through the roof; it would therefore be unwise for small businesses to ignore how crucial having an online presence is. With correct and honest guidance, SEO can help you set your business apart from the competition. With SEO, you could highlight your unique selling points, get higher conversions and improve your brand awareness.
If you have doubts on SEO, you can check out the informative articles on our blog; however, if you want a detailed guideline on how to do SEO for your website, it would be best to contact our SEO Analyst at Ozias. With more than 3 years of experience, we have experienced the highs and the lows of SEO, and we can use this experience to help you do better.