Without exposure through word of mouth by loyal customers, advertising, or social media, small businesses would have a really tough time growing and meeting their financial goals. The big companies can afford paid advertising with large campaigns in print media, television commercials, or radio advertisements, but many can’t afford it or need to prioritize their spending elsewhere. Search engine optimization, or SEO, can help local businesses seeking to gain new customers, reach a new audience and even out the playing field between the big guys.
How do search engines work?
For two decades the Internet has been growing nonstop from an obscure, niche activity to what it is now – it is everywhere and involved in everything, including shopping and finding services. Customers now use the Internet and search engines like Google to research products, find the best prices, and report on their experiences with businesses. But what directs a shopper or user to a certain website over another and how does that company gain their visitors?
The biggest search engine, Google, along with Yahoo and Bing, have programs called crawlers, or bot spiders, whose only purpose is to look at, or “crawl” a website’s content. They visit different web pages through hyperlinks, or links for short, and create a list of keywords, called an index, based off of these links and repeated keywords they find on the pages. For instance, if a person searches “theme park,” the search engine index would decide which sites have the content most relevant to those search terms in the local area to the person searching. When the customer gets results to their inquiry, they might get links for the local fair or carnival, but also the big attractions like Disneyland or Six Flags. So now, the local attraction is on the same level as the big corporations who have spent millions of dollars on getting their name out there.
What puts a business on the first page through organic search results is considering search engine optimization, SEO, on their website. When their site includes those specific keywords relevant to the search inquiry, hyperlinks are used, thorough copywriting with plenty of information, and link-building, this helps the website and therefore business show up on the search engine. More visits to a site means more leads and more customers, and ultimately more sales. All because they were able to organically come up on a search engine like Google.
The Trick to SEO
It can be tricky to get search engines like Google and Yahoo to see how valuable your content is and bring users and customers to your website. For this reason, simply having a website isn’t enough to get indexed and have online traffic routed to your company. The intentional use of hyperlinks and utilizing your specific keywords throughout your content. Search engines must deliver results almost instantly based on an unimaginable amount of information – billions of tiny bits! It eliminates results that are unpopular or irrelevant. It might sound impossible to go up against the automation, but some basic on-site optimization or web coding can set you apart from your competitors and larger companies if you know how to utilize the tools correctly.
First, crawlers will look at a websites main URL, the title tags, the name, and location of a site on the Internet. It scans for keywords and how readable your content is within the pages of your site. If you have the keywords used strategically and often, this lets the crawlers index you as relevant and even preferred in regards to whatever search terms the user has inquired about. Additionally, the more backlinks you have from other well-known or high-quality websites and brands the better your chances of being the first result on a results page. Link building plays a vital role to your website’s traffic.
You can gain backlinks and references by partnering with another business, brand, or vendor. Their links back to your business’ website builds relevance and popularity as it gives more reference for the bots who use links to crawl from website to website. If you are isolated and disconnected from the rest of the internet, it makes it harder for the bots to find you and this ultimately harms your business. If they can’t find you, they’re not going to be able to help customers find you either.
If your company isn’t one for partnerships, there are other ways to build links and credibility. Provide links for your products, if you have endorsements or awards you can link to the respective accolades, but most notably is the use of a company blog. This is probably the easiest and most relevant way you can build up your keywords and links without using outside partnerships. Blogs are an easy way to disperse your keywords, reach a larger audience, and position yourself as an authority in your specific niche or market. It can be a really beneficial strategy to invest in revamping your current site with updated content with this in mind, or even starting fresh with an SEO expert. Working with a team well-versed in search engine optimization can yield a larger audience for you, more customers, and better business results by way of making your website more visible on the web.
Search Engine Optimization is Valuable
Although the Internet is not physical, search engine optimization brings customers to your hypothetical door, increasing your sales and customer base when used properly and to your advantage. In today’s world, showcasing yourself online is necessary, albeit a little extra work. A business that has not utilized correctly the resource of showing up through organic search can easily fall behind or become overshadowed by not only the larger corporations that already dwarf the competition, but the other local businesses competing as well. Having a clear, concise, website specific to your market is key in the digital world if you want those bots to be able to find and promote you. SEO is something that you simply cannot ignore. By using keywords throughout your content, building links, creating a blog, you will provide yourself ongoing access to a steady stream of unique visitors to your website and those visitors will turn into customers. The large companies can afford the extra print, paid ads on television and radio, and other resources that as a small business owner you might not have access to, nor the desire to use those channels. Using SEO, small businesses can easily keep up with the competition.
Working with SEO Experts
At Outreach Digital Marketing, we specialize in all things search engine optimization and have made it our mission to help small business owners like you stay competitive and lucrative. We have years of experience driving new customers to local websites and increasing their sales. We recognize the importance of thriving in a digital market and are passionate about working with our clients to maximize their results. If you are looking for someone to update your content to include more keywords and links, to build a new website, or if you want to invest in paid digital advertising, we are the team to reach out to. Outreach Digital Marketing is confident we can set you up for success and will be happy to discuss your business’ needs.