The Ultimate Benefits of SEO for Small Business Owners
By Zoe Hughes
Been hearing a lot of good things about SEO but aren’t sure if it’s worth it for your business?
Trying to decide where to spend your marketing budget can be such a headache, especially when everyone is telling you different things.
There are many benefits of SEO that using the right strategies can bring to your business, but I know it can be confusing.
Search engine optimisation can seem like a jargon-filled world full of technical wizardry and smoke and mirrors that can make it far from accessible for a small business owner.
But chances are that you’ve already been doing some form of SEO for your business, it might be blogging, sharing your website on social media or installing WordPress plugins to improve your website.
I know that investing in search engine optimisation can seem like taking a chance, especially if you’re looking to outsource to a freelance SEO consultant or agency but it is worth it.
SEO is a powerful marketing strategy for your business now, tomorrow and far into the future if the campaign is implemented correctly. So, is it worth you holding back on it any longer?
What Is SEO?
SEO is the abbreviation for “search engine optimisation”, a range of techniques used to increase and improve the traffic to your website without the use of pay per click advertising.
There are a whole range of benefits that SEO can bring to your business. Rather than taking my word for it, read on to discover the ultimate benefits that SEO can bring for your small business and why you should use this form of marketing straight away.
11 Benefits of SEO for Your Small Business Website
1. Bring in more customers by driving traffic to your website
It can be difficult, if not infuriating, trying to drive traffic to your website.
That’s such a funny term, isn’t it? I’m not sure who decided that motoring terms should be used for websites and SEO!
You might have spent a lot of money getting your website professionally made and looking great, but it feels like money down the drain as you haven’t had a single enquiry from it in the months since it was launched.
Or perhaps you made your website yourself and are frustrated that it just doesn’t seem to be working.
I mean, what’s the point of having an attractive website that puts a spotlight on you and what you do, if no one knows it’s there?
SEO helps your website be found more easily by getting you as close as possible to the top spot in Google search results. In fact, you might not know that…
All those times you share your website address on social media, business cards and other promotional activity that you thought would do the trick accounts for less than half your website traffic.
- 10% of traffic comes from paid search
- 5% of website traffic comes from social media marketing
- 34% of traffic comes from other sources
Just imagine what adding search engine traffic to your website could do for your business. It’s one of the benefits of SEO that you just can’t ignore.
2. Organic SEO is a cost-effective way to advertise your business
Finding money to spare for marketing often comes at the bottom of the priority list for small business owners (trust me, I know what it’s like!)
The beauty of SEO is that it’s an organic form of marketing.
No, I don’t mean organic that’s “free from” pesticides and other nasties like your fruit and veg! It’s organic in that you don’t pay for search engine results like the ads at the top or side of the page, you naturally reach those top positions through high value content.
A good SEO campaign isn’t “cheap” but you do get what you pay for.
Research has shown that the average “cost per click” of paid ads is $2.69 (approximately £2) across all industries. Let’s say you have a conversion rate of 20% – you’d need to spend £10 on average to convert 1 visitor into a paying customer, so spending £100 a month on PPC ads could attract 10 new clients.
What if your business needs 50 new clients a month to survive? Can you afford £5000 on paid ads?
Wouldn’t it be better to invest in a long-term strategy that doesn’t end when you’ve reached your daily ad spend?
Organic traffic is often far more valuable for your website, and your business, because it’s long-lasting. Although you may have paid for a professional to implement your SEO strategy, the work performed will last for months and years to come.
A pay per click Google advert will only last the length of your campaign, i.e. as soon as you stop paying, it’s gone.
SEO really is a cost-effective form of marketing that can yield a powerful return on investment.
3. A good SEO campaign will influence your audience’s purchasing decisions
A little thought of benefit of SEO, but purchasing decisions can be influenced by the right campaign.
When it comes to search engine users there are a few different types – those interested in what’s out there, those that know what they want and are looking for the best provider, and those who know exactly where they’re buying from and are looking for contact details.
A good SEO campaign will ensure that all search users are covered in the strategy but will particularly focus on the discovery phase.
When you catch potential customers at the point where they’re unsure what they need or who to buy from, you can easily influence their decision to choosing you and your product or service.
70-80% of search engine users are only focusing on the organic results. That means pay per click advertising used to get in front of customers at the discovery phase part of their purchasing decision aren’t as successful as organic, content-based SEO strategies.
Search engine optimisation isn’t just about being “found” online but about attracting the right customers for your business.
One of the key benefits of SEO is that specifically targeting keywords and the intentions of your ideal customers, enables you to capture the right leads for you before they spot your competition.
4. Improve conversion rates with a user-friendly website
Have you ever clicked through to a website from Google and then hit that back button because the design of the website was awful?
Maybe it was too dark to read, or the text was just too small. Perhaps the entire page was full of a flashy video with no way to get anywhere else on the website, or one of those huge pop-ups covered your screen with no exit button.
We’ve all seen “those websites”, but how user friendly is your website?
Poor user experience makes it difficult for your prospective customers to buy from you. If they can’t find the information they need quickly, easily and intuitively they’re not going to waste time trying to figure things out.
Google (and other search engines) don’t want to send their users to bad websites.
Did you know that the time it takes to load your website could be deterring potential new customers from choosing you? According to SEO expert Neil Patel, as page load time goes from one second to 10 seconds, the probability of the user bouncing is increased by 123%.
“user bouncing” is when the web visitor gives up and clicks back to the Google search results and on to a different website, i.e. your competition. It’s a deciding factor Google uses when determining your position in its search rankings.
Your website visitors want a clean and uncluttered website that’s easy to navigate and relevant to what they’re looking for. So, improving your user experience and getting your website working well for your customers will give you extra brownie points for SEO and you’ll jump the rankings.
Better search results + happier visitors = more revenue for you.
This is where one of the benefits of SEO can improve so much more than just your search page ranking.
5. Search engine optimisation can drive offline sales too
A lot of small business owners shy away from using SEO because they don’t have an ecommerce website or sell services online.
Quite honestly, you’re missing a trick if you don’t use SEO regardless of what you use your website for (your website doesn’t have to be about selling, it can be for brand awareness, reputation, credibility and customer support too).
Let’s take buying a car as an example.
You head to Google to search for reviews, see what your preferred manufacturer is up to, etc and then you visit the car dealership armed with information on the models you want to see in person and test drive.
It would be a longer and more frustrating process if you couldn’t see that deciding information straight away online and whittle your list down to a few models straight away, wouldn’t it?
The same principle applies for any business. If the information isn’t readily available, then your prospective customers will go elsewhere.
So, even if you don’t “sell online”, it’s still worth investing in SEO to increase your offline sales.
6. You can manage your online reputation with an effective SEO strategy
Having the edge on your competition is important for your small business to thrive.
One of the best ways to achieve that is by having a strong brand reputation in place, and it’s important that your online presence is just as good as your “real life” one.
You might spend a lot of time networking and getting to know people, sharing what you’re about and what makes you stand out from your competition. You might have physical brochures or information packs that serve the same purpose.
A key benefit of SEO with the right campaign in place is that it’ll naturally boost your digital reputation as a business owner.
Take a second to think about your own purchasing decisions. Let’s take hiring a plumber as an example. You’ll probably ask for recommendations on social media, and then take a look online to see what’s said about them, right?
Your prospective customers are doing the same thing with you.
46.8% of the world’s population use the internet, so you can be certain that people are looking for information about you online. It’s up to you what that information is and how easily it’s found.
A good SEO strategy will make sure that information is easily available, so your reputation is always strong online.
7. Build brand awareness with an SEO campaign
A key benefit of using SEO for small business websites is that it can help you build brand awareness.
Just like your brand reputation is important, so is general awareness and understanding of what you do. How are you going to reach new customers if there’s zero awareness that your business or website exists?
In fact, 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results. Only 8% of search engine users will bother to trawl the second page or further to find what they’re looking for.
That’s why an effective SEO campaign is so important.
Your prospective customers might not be aware that they need your products or services. They may be struggling with insomnia and are searching Google for hints and tips on getting a better night’s sleep.
Let’s say you sell weighted blankets which help with anxiety, depression and insomnia. By creating a well-written valuable piece of content on “10 tips for a better night’s sleep” you can help that Google user find the information they need, and you can promote your weighted blankets and how they work.
Your potential customers are more likely to trust your brand when they search for a particular term and find you on the front page of search engine results than your competition and other brands that don’t have a strong web presence.
8. Outperform your competition with your digital marketing
If you’re not already using SEO for your business, there’s a strong possibility that some of your competition aren’t using it either.
Although the chances of that are diminishing every day.
Just by utilising a few SEO techniques to improve your web presence and digital marketing can help you jump above your competition in search engine results pages and give you the edge when it comes to attracting new customers.
Imagine you’re a customer looking to buy a product. There are two websites selling the same thing. Which do you choose? The website that’s higher up the search results with an easy-to-use website, or the other one?
Now can you see how SEO can benefit not just your bottom line, but your ability to grow and develop your business too?
You can also see what your competition are up to online and how they are attracting customers to refine your own digital marketing methods by running SEO audits on their websites and social media.
This lets you see the keywords your competitors are ranking for, their backlinks, and other factors that might be helping them get a better search result than you.
Armed with that information and a strong SEO campaign, you can outperform your competition and keep ahead.
9. Access customer data you can use to improve your overall marketing efforts
Any marketing campaign relies on data to measure and evaluate results and search engine optimisation is no different. Google analytics provides a wealth of data on website visitors so you can tweak your SEO campaign and make it work better for you.
But that information can be used to strengthen your overall marketing plan.
Google analytics provides information on user acquisition, behaviour and your audience, all key information that can be used to shape your overall marketing strategy.
By understanding your target audience better and accessing information on them that Google analytics can provide, you gain new and improved insights on how to reach your ideal customers more effectively.
10. Search engine optimisation joins the dots of all your marketing activities together
Not only can the information gleamed from your SEO campaigns be used to improve your marketing activities, search engine optimisation itself provides the common link between them all.
Your digital marketing, social media, etc should all take customers to your website and into your sales funnel. Whether you’re using your website for selling or brand awareness and reputation, it’s the bedrock for you as a business owner as a point of contact, customer support, information and social proof.
Similarly, your printed advertising, business cards, press releases, etc point your target audience to your website to find out more (if they’re not, change that now!).
As I highlighted above, improving your website for search engines helps with user experience and keeping your customers interested in what you do, leading to higher conversion rates and more revenue.
Your SEO campaign should inform your content marketing strategy, which in turn will improve the effectiveness of your search engine optimisation. In fact, 45% of businesses say that their content marketing is highly integrated with their SEO strategy – isn’t it time to add your business to the list?
11. SEO strategies work for your business 24/7
Yes, a good SEO campaign can be expensive although a cost-effective form of marketing for your business. But my absolutely favourite benefit of SEO, and why you should consider the expense an investment is…
search engine optimisation is constantly working hard for your business 24/7.
Unlike big corporations, you can’t have somebody manning your phone all day, every day.
When your printed advert has been published in the local paper, it’ll work for a day, maybe a month until it’s yesterday’s news and today’s fish and chips wrapping.
Seasonal promotions are, well, seasonal.
You see what I’m getting at, right?
Most promotional activity for small business owners is short lived, but SEO strategies are constantly plugging away in the background no matter what else you get up to.
They can take a while to work, it’s true, but once you’re ranking well for keywords and ahead of your competition, it’s quite difficult to get knocked back down again.
Over 40 percent of business revenue is captured by organic traffic, which means your SEO campaign will keep on driving traffic to your website, generating leads and converting visitors into paying customers.
11 benefits of SEO for small business owners like you
So, there you have it.
11 benefits of using SEO for your small business, or put it another way, 11 reasons why you can’t afford to skip the search engine optimisation any longer.
The online marketplace is becoming increasingly crowded as business owners are having to turn away from the high street and on to the internet.
How we provide products and services to our customers today is completely different to just 10 years ago, and it’s critical that you keep up with your competition for your small business to succeed.
To discover how SEO strategies can help your business enjoy the benefits I’ve outlined above, get in touch with me today to discover how you can stand out online for the right reasons.