If there’s one thing that we’ve learned over the last few years it’s that, thanks to technology, the potential of a small business marketing initiative is anything but…well, small. In the past, modestly-sized independently-owned businesses were bound to fall under the shadow of larger competitors. The combination of massive buying power and proportionally-sized marketing budgets proved difficult for any small business to best.
That said, the internet has done more to level the playing ground than just about any marketing tool that came before it. That platform, enhanced further by the evolution of both search algorithms and SEO strategies have empowered small businesses to garner more attention, convert more customers out of online visitors, and deliver a greater ROI than traditional marketing methods ever could.
Bottom-line, the most powerful weapon that any small business could arm themselves with is organic traffic. If, as a small business owner, you’ve embraced that truth, you may have already begun to reap some of the benefits. And if you have yet to employ an SEO strategy to grow your small business, we can’t stress this enough…it’s now or never.
Responsive Web Design. Social Media. Reputation Management. Search Engine Optimization. These are the cornerstones of any digital marketing platform and, if you’re unfamiliar with one or more of them, you might want to hit the proverbial ‘pause button’ on reading this piece, and seek out one that’s a little more ‘Digital Marketing 101’. Rest assured, that’s not a criticism, but it’s always important to walk before you run. For the remainder of this piece, we’re going to assume that you’ve already got (at least) the first two. So, if your small business already has (i) a website that’s designed to perform equally well on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones along with (ii) a Facebook account, you’re off to a good start.
But where do you go from here? How do you drive more organic traffic to your website, allowing you to convert more online visitors into paying customers?
Getting to Know S.E.O.
In a world where the white and yellow pages have long since been entombed, search engines (primarily Google) have become the consumer’s primary means of locating products and services that they’re interested in purchasing. The challenge for any business is to make sure that they rank within the top search results. Since the majority of online consumers never make it to page two of a search result, failure to rank renders a small business invisible to many. As if there weren’t already enough disadvantages in place, right?
Enter Search Engine Optimization (or S.E.O.) a means of ensuring the best possible search rankings, through the creation and curation of superior content. Not a task for the unskilled, S.E.O. makes use of Google’s ever-evolving algorithms to set a website apart as a highly-valued resource. It makes content more appealing, increasing its value in the all-seeing eye of the search giant. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the strategies employed by S.E.O. as we move closer to 2019.
Quality Over Quantity
Above we mentioned that an S.E.O. strategy aims to set a website apart as a highly-valued resource. This is achieved by utilizing every bit of knowledge, and every unique skillset that makes your small business different from your competitors.
Chances are that you started your business because you were passionate about the products and/or services that you offer. That said, channeling said passion into informative web pages and insightful blog posts help interested consumers to recognize you as an authority. In doing so, they are more likely to spend more time on your website, digesting your content with fervor, and navigating within your pages as opposed to navigating away from them.
Google’s algorithm identifies such strengths (and weaknesses) in the quality of content, prompting the manner in which it ranks a website. In that regard, are you taking the steps necessary to make your business visible to those who are searching for it?
Take the Long Way ‘Round
Those who say that “brevity is the soul of wit” are enabling some pretty poor habits when it comes to the creation of high-value online content. While there certainly are some benefits to short-form content, lengthier material serve as a more accessible entry point to entice new visitors ripe for conversion, lure repeat visitors back and increase customer engagement. A steady flow of thoughtful, well-written content allows a business to present themselves as an authority able to anticipate the wants and needs and of their clientele. As a result, it also helps in increasing the website’s value in the eye of Google’s algorithm, placing you higher in search result rankings.
But It’s Not All About You
Today’s consumers are looking for a more personalized experience in all that they do. The largest percentage of any consumer base exists as a combination of Millennials, Generation Y and the Gen-Z’ers that are now entering the marketplace. These younger consumers pride themselves on being well-informed and well-researched. With that comes the oft-lamented sense of entitlement that one’s buying dollar has earned them an experience that’s built around them (or, at least, feels like it is).
We mentioned it above, but building content that anticipates a consumers wants and needs is the first step in creating that experience. Remember, they are most likely to find you online. By welcoming them with superior content that answers their questions and captures their attention cannot be overvalued.
Know Your Role
Google values and ranks content out of a desire to create the most satisfying results for its users. They do so because the promise of return and repeat traffic attracts more ad revenue. Even though the marketing of your small business may not deliver those ad dollars, it doesn’t mean that their algorithms can’t be put to work for you (as long as you’re willing to do some of the legwork yourself).
If you’re unsure about how to maximize your web presence, talk to a digital marketer who can provide valuable insights and services to ensure that your small business sits atop the local search results. Remember…prospective customers are looking for you. S.E.O. can help them to find you.