Starting a business is hard work, and running a successful small business is even harder. Lots of new ventures won’t make it to their first year anniversary, and even if they do, if they’re aren’t flexible and don’t adapt to changes in the marketplace, they’re unlikely to ever be truly successful, here is our next installment of our small business resources “Do I need SEO for my small business?”
Often the key to success for many trades and industries is marketing. Whether you’re offering a service to another business or a product to the public, your customers need to know you exist, what you can offer and why they should choose you over your competitors.
However, marketing can be difficult, it’s been through a period of significant change over the last few decades, from traditional print advertising, to TV and radio and now, the biggest marketplace is the internet.
The hidden nature of digital marketing makes it more difficult to understand, particularly SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. SEO work if often not visible, not like a radio advert or a printed flyer where you pay for the production of your marketing materials and the end result is something you see, hold or hear! However, the results of SEO are exactly that. The purpose is to optimise your web presence, to make it search engine friendly, so when people search for the services you offer – they see your website in the search results.
Often associated to as part of an in inbound marketing strategy, SEO is about positioning your website well so people can find it in the search engine results, and come to you. It’s not about paying for pushy adverts or intrusively cold calling customers. When done correctly, it doesn’t actually look like marketing at all!
There are many aspects to SEO, some you may have heard of: keywords, copywriting, conversion optimisation, link building, off-site SEO, rankings, analytics, usability… the list goes on and on, and is constantly updating!
That’s why SEO is a process, not a one-off project. It’s the ongoing tweaks and changes to your website, it’s content, and the behind the scenes way in which your website has been built, that make it readable by search engines. Technology changes rapidly, and so do the metrics and algorithms that search engines use to rank your website, so it needs to be a continuous process to respond to changes and keep you ahead of your competitors.
However, being adaptive and search engine friendly isn’t enough, your web presence also needs to be user friendly, so when your potential customers land on your website, they see exactly what they need. It must look professional and be easy to use, and persuade them that you’re the best option for them.
Altogether the aim of this work is to build your presence, reputation and trustworthiness, with both customers and search engines, to increase your website traffic and the amount leads your website generates.
If you own a small business, or you’re just starting out, you may think you don’t need a web presence and SEO is something big companies do, but is a bit excessive for your needs.
Perhaps you’re a plumber, electrician or wedding planner. Many tradespeople and small business owners rely on word-of-mouth recommendations and signage on their vans that get their name out in the local area.
However, even when looking for a local tradesperson or service, the majority of people will use an online search. Have a read over the statistics below: (Source)
So if you don’t have an optimised website, the majority of the local people searching for your services, will never know you exist, even if your van does have your phone number on it.
SEO is always a sensible route for any business; big or small, start-up or well-established. For small businesses, you will have much less competition if you target one local area than if you try to compete with nationwide companies. This means your SEO can be stripped back to basics and you can focus on three things: Links, Content and Design.
SEO services, from a reputable agency, can always be tailored to suit your budget so it needn’t be expensive, and the results are much more cost- effective than printed advertising!
Of course, here at Evolution Media, we offer a range of SEO services for small businesses at affordable prices in Ilkeston, Derby, and the surrounding areas. We’re always happy to chat to you, discuss your business and your aims, and offer you the benefit of our 20+ years of experience.
But, if, like the majority of online shoppers, you want to do your research first and check we’re the right company for you, here are a few things to look out for when choosing a reputable SEO agency:
Firstly, have a look at their website. Does it look good? If they can’t present themselves well online, it’s unlikely they’ll present you well.
If the agency you’re looking at has shared client testimonials on their website, and even a case study or two, you will be able to see examples of their work and find out what their clients say about them. If you’re feeling particularly inquisitive, try calling one of the clients to check they’re still happy with their SEO provider.
What services do they offer? Many digital marketing agencies will try to convince you that you should spend your budget in multiple places such as social media adverts or Pay Per Click advertising. Whilst it’s important your SEO consultant understands these disciplines, you must be confident that they will focus your budget on the SEO services you’re looking for.
If you’re entering a business relationship, you need to know the business you’re partnering with is professional and reputable. But also, you need them to be available to you, happy to discuss your ideas, explain the reports and statistics and that they are passionate about seeing you succeed online. Give your prospective SEO provider a call to find out if they suit the way you want to do business.