SEO for small businesses can increase revenue dramatically, but before getting into how SEO can benefit small businesses. I think it’s important to discuss why it is so necessary with some real-life examples!
A few decades ago, nearly all of your small businesses’ success was dependent on how well you ran it. People in the neighborhood would look to each other for advice on where to go from mechanics to restaurants. They would then take trusted recommendations from friends on where to go.
Aside from that, maybe you did some advertisements in local publications, after all – what better way to reach your local market than a newspaper or the Yellowpages!
Fast forward to 2023, we are well into a digital era. An era where the way that consumers search for information, and make decisions has changed dramatically. Obviously, having a well-run business is still a key ingredient to success – but how people find out about your business has changed. Think about it, when is the last time you read through the Yellowpages to find a mechanic or restaurant?
Your business now has to build their ONLINE presence – this is often the FIRST IMPRESSION that you make on a potential customer, and if it’s not good, they will keep scrolling to the next business – because it is that simple.
Over time, people stopped looking through the Yellowpages, or trying to get a hold of a friend. Instead they started typing “mechanic in (insert city)”, or “mechanic near me” into Google – because it’s faster and more convenient for them.
If 3 mechanics show up, and one has no reviews, and the other two listings have 20+ 5 star reviews – which one are you going to click first? It likely won’t be the one without reviews – we need social proof. And if the mechanic doesn’t have a Google listing – you don’t even know he exists. Not only is managing your online presence important – it is absolutely NECESSARY for small businesses to remain competitive.
Your business has to be ‘discoverable’ on the web to attract your target segment.
So what does that mean for your business? And, how do you get started?
Google My Business
Google has given a golden opportunity to local businesses. Google My Business is a platform that allows you to set up a profile, add in contact info, products or services, pictures of their locations, and the ability to get reviews – and did we mention it’s free?!
If you optimize these profiles and your website correctly – you will show up EXACTLY when someone wants the product/service you offer. Then, you just need to make sure your happy customers leave reviews, and that is going to leave a positive impression on potential clients searching for what you offer.
Sounds simple, but you might be thinking “what was that part about optimizing my profile and website”? Luckily, that’s what we’re here to discuss.
The easiest way is to hire a local SEO company and let the experts take care of your online presence. But if it’s not in the budget, not to worry… if you dedicate some time and energy to it, you can get a good chunk of it done yourself. And we’re going to tell you exactly where to start!
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a strategic process that helps you target the right set of audiences and appear in the organic (unpaid) search results on search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
If you have a website or run an online store, SEO can be used to increase both the quantity and quality of traffic to your website organically. Today, marketers and businesses use SEO as a key tactic to increase their website traffic and leads. They use a mix of on-page and off-page SEO practices to optimize a website and improve its performance in search results.
How To Start Your Local SEO Campaign
1. Use Keywords
This is the heart of SEO, and although it sounds very simple, I often see clients who DON’T use their main keywords on their site. For example, we worked with a cannabis dispensary, who said they preferred to think of themselves as a “lifestyle brand” and did not use the word dispensary. The result was, their Google listing was showing up with Grocery stores, rather than when someone types in “dispensary near me”.
We suggest if you’re using WordPress to download the Yoast SEO plugin with the FREE version of the plugin, you can enter a focus keyword and it will give you recommendations of where to include it. This is a great starting point for any DIY SEO project!
ACTIONABLE TIP #1: Make a list of potential words that your target demographic would be using to find your product, service and make sure you use them in your listing, and on your site.
2. Consistent, Quality Citations
This is the 2nd biggest part of helping local businesses rank from what we’ve seen. So what is a citation, and why does it matter? A citation refers to a directory listing, that features your business (such as Yelp, Facebook, etc). It is important because Google checks other directories to ensure the results it is delivering are quality. This is why having accurate information across all profiles, and having a good quantity help strengthen your profile.
If Google encounters inconsistencies in your NAPW (Name, Address, Phone Website) it will negatively impact your ranking because it believes the quality of the information it is serving to customers is low. You can check your information here, using our free tool:
3. Getting Good Reviews
Working to build up your positive reviews builds social proof for your business, not only does the quality, and quantity of your reviews affect your ranking – they ultimately affects a prospective client’s decision to do business with you.
82% of consumers typically read online reviews for local businesses before making a purchase.
Your potential clients are looking for social proof, because it builds up their confidence in your brand. Counting on happy customers to write reviews will result in some, but we recommend implementing a review generation strategy to capture as many reviews as possible. Some of the simplest ways to get more reviews are:
- Ask customers who are long-term, repeat customers
- Send out a review link in your follow up e-mail/text
Why is SEO Important for Small Businesses?
SEO is an extremely effective way to attract your audience during all stages of their buying journey. Whether you choose to do the work in-house or outsource your work, the business value SEO creates is far beyond the expenses you bear.
Here are the top six reasons to invest in Search Engine Optimization:
1) User-Friendly Websites
Any SEO company should work with small businesses to create a user-friendly website that is fast and easy to access – and most importantly – that functions great on a mobile device!
Users reading reviews on a mobile device are 127% more likely to make a purchase than desktop users.
It is not just about optimizing for the search engines, but improving user experience and delivering the best.
Well-structured, clean, and uncluttered websites engage visitors and compel them to stay longer. This way, it decreases the bounce rate and increases views. Also, highly relevant content in the form of blogs and videos, keeps your readers engaged and can help answer questions and move them through their buying journey (without ever leaving the site). If you can address their pain points and help them find exactly what they are looking for on your site, they are much more likely to become a buyer.
2) Attracts More Customers
Having an optimized website and Google listing can help you stand out from your competition and increase your customer base. The website optimizations will drive additional traffic for keywords customers are using, and having an actively managed Google listing can help give you an extra edge.
SEO is typically the most efficient and affordable marketing strategy to drive targeted traffic. It’s direct focus is potential customers who are actively seeking your product or services. Further, you can provide helpful information that answers the key questions of the audience and address their pain points. Once you answer them, they are more likely to trust your business – and we all know trust is important to making a buying decision!
Did we mention unlike traditional forms of marketing such as print media and television ads – you can easily access statistics on what words people are using to find your site, how many people see your listing and much more?!
3) Better Conversion Rates
SEO-optimized websites tend to load faster. Moreover, they are easy to read and surf. They are designed in a way that it displays properly across all devices, including mobile and tablets. Making the information easily accessible and intuitive increases the time spent on your site, and therefore the chances of converting the visitor to a lead, and/or buyer.
4) Build Brand Awareness
A key benefit of getting higher rankings on the SERPs is building brand awareness. When your sites appear on the first page of major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, your potential customers are more likely to trust your brand and associate it with the term they are searching. With the help of SEO, you can gain top rankings for the key terms related to the business. This plays a significant role in making or breaking your brand.
5) Beats Competition
In competitive markets, it’s not easy to become the favorite brand of customers. Several companies offer similar products and services, and bypassing such massive competition is so not easy.
However, Search Engine Marketing can prove instrumental in making your business stand out. A well-planned and strategically executed SEO campaign can place you above your competitors, thus making way for more leads and conversions.
6) Builds Credibility with Social Proof
Companies attract more customers from local searches with the help of customers. This way, companies grow faster and become more successful.
Local SEO helps generate positive reviews on profiles such as Google, Yelp, which influences potential customers and their buying decision. This also builds credibility with search engines, and can boost your rankings!
SETUP GOOGLE ANALYTICS/GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE
SEO enhances the quality and quantity of your website traffic. It appreciates local options and customized information. Smart small business owners take advantage and create a niche in the market that captures the attention of the ideal audience.
It’s considered a “new age” marketing technique, and implementing strong quality SEO will be beneficial to your brand. Well, it is critical in today’s competition to keep up the pace and continue to grow and expand. If you are looking to hire an SEO company in Napa CA, we are here to help. At Diffuse Digital Marketing, we offer SEO services to expand the online visibility of your business. Right from website audit and keyword research to content optimization and citations, we do everything to improve your rank in the search results. To get detailed info or to hire our SEO experts, contact us today.