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Small Business SEO
Separating yourself from competitors is a challenge for any company. This separation is even more of an issue if you're a small business. You have to deal with limited resources and continual change. It can be a struggle to survive, yet alone succeed.
So let's cover SEO basics and improve your online business and your bottom line.
What is SEO?
SEO is an abbreviation for search engine optimization. When first used, it meant Google, Yahoo, and traditional search engines. Today, the principals of SEO have expanded. Search algorithms power social media. Facebook organizes and prioritizes its content based on search engines. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Every second, an incredible amount of new content is added every second, all searchable.
Why is SEO Important for Small Business?
The internet is all about searching for information. As a small business, you want your website seen. Unless someone knows your exact URL, your chances of discovery are slim.
Even if your website is only there for credibility, SEO is needed to make sure people can find your company by name.
Without the right SEO skills, a business owner or in-house marketer might suffer search engine penalties.
That's why it's important to have a good foundation and a sound SEO strategy. If you want to have a realistic chance to stand out organically (no advertising) and rank high on Google, you need an SEO plan.
Do You Have an Example of Small Business SEO?
Say you're a small chocolatier, and you want to compete with Toblerone or Lindt. You make fine chocolates like they do. But, they have millions to spend on online marketing. A team of people to create content, specialists to optimize it, and they do everything right with SEO.
Now, if you sell handmade, organic chocolate, and target a particular geographic area, then you’ve developed a niche. By honing in on a geographic area, you can beat Lindt. SEO serves as the basis and influences your marketing content when done right.
Another example is our client, Top Notch CEO. They differentiated themselves from other executive coaching and leadership training companies. They embraced the word, geek. Since it could have either a negative or positive connotation, they clarified the meaning, and in doing so, established their niche.
Plus, Top Notch CEO has a sub-niche on women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math field). With a background in STEM, not only is Dr. Stephie Althouse, CEO unique, so is her company.
In both examples, SEO helped businesses realize their niche. Often business owners are too broad. They have the opportunity of distinguishing themselves as experts in their particular field. SEO forces you to narrow your approach, target keywords, and focus on an audience. It's this niche that helps you stand out with the search engines and your prospects.
How Do I Get Started with SEO?
An SEO company, like P5 Marketing, would begin with an audit of your website. Discuss your business goals, your current keywords, and your current market focus. Then, we study your site in detail, along with two of three of your top competitors. We also research keyword competitors. Keyword competitors are companies that compete for the keywords you want to target. These may or not be companies you think of as business competitors. We're trying to determine which keywords are attainable to rank. Of course, we want to set goals, but they must be realistic. That's the purpose of the audit.
When the audit is complete, we present our findings, discuss any concerns, and ensure we're all in agreement. With input from you and P5 Marketing, the strategy phase begins. It's a 60 to a 90-day SEO-based marketing plan that details the tactics required. Technical issue repair, new content, backlinks, social media channels, deliver better search results.
Finally, there's implementation mode. It's a 30-day cycle where we outline the work for 30 days, then execute. So, if we said we were to begin blogging, social media posts, and SEO technical updates, at the end of the cycle, you would receive a report. Then, we repeat the process until the SEO results begin to stabilize.
When Will I See a Return On My SEO Investment?
A solid SEO strategy does take money. At the same time, it can yield ROI. For example, some businesses double or triple monthly website visits. We value the incoming search traffic by comparing the cost of buying those keywords. A company could spend tens of thousands per month in advertising to bring the same SEO traffic. That's more ROI potential than you get from the stock market.
Like anything in life worth having, SEO results take time. You have to stick with it and stay consistent for the best results. Stopping at 90 to 120 days is much too soon. At that point, you won't see big bursts in traffic; but you will begin seeing trends. You'll see changes in keywords and search engine rank. You'll see your investment is working.
As long as you're producing results, SEO is most effective when you commit for six months to a year.
Can You Guarantee SEO Results?
No company can promise top-ranking results; beware of ones that do. Dr. Altman once spent $1,000 with an SEO company that said, “We will get you on page one of Google for whatever keywords.” Though the salesperson making the calls had no SEO knowledge, he made all kinds of promises to close deals. In the end, their service was worthless.
Whatever company you choose, their efforts should be transparent. Monthly reports should document and track the SEO process. You should have direct access to some of the data, like the information in Google Analytics. You want to see the work, document the data, and ensure you're receiving results.
SEO is a powerful way to define your business. Furthermore, it helps drive your online revenue and profits. The more you take part in the SEO process, the more you'll learn, and the more value you'll receive.