In this post, I want to explain search engine optimization (SEO) in simple terms and explain how small business owners and entrepreneurs can use it to their advantage.
Imagine being able to generate traffic to your small business without having to pay for ads to attract potential clients. Furthermore, imagine having a sales funnel that continues to grow and add to your potential customer base where a fully automated process allows clients to segment themselves so you can better target products, services, and offers based on their personal needs.
That’s what SEO can do for you. And it really isn’t complicated, you just need to know the concept of using SEO to drive traffic, which can then help further drive sales.
In this post, I’m going to define what SEO is specific to your small business, list the small business benefits of investing TIME in implementing SEO, and then telling you how you can easily get started today using it to scale your business strategies in the online space.
Defining SEO for Small Business Owners
What is SEO?
In short, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
When people search for information online, they use search engines. Search engines include Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. Google leads this back by taking 88% of market share worldwide. That is INSANE.
If you have a website with good content, Google uses over 200 ranking factors to figure out which website gets that coveted #1 spot. If your business shows up in that spot, you have a 30% chance of that search user coming to your website where you have the opportunity to turn them into a potential client.
What are the ranking factors for Google?
That is the secret sauce that EVERYONE wants to know. It’s a secret only known to the Google engineers. This is where SEO Specialists come in. SEO Specialists analyze, review and implement changes to websites so they are optimized for ranking on Google Search engines.
What does it mean to optimize for SEO?
Optimizing for SEO means that you are improving the content on your website so they are optimizing your website’s ability to rank on “keyword phrase” or “search phrase” that you want your business to rank for.
What is a keyword search phrase?
If you think about the things you search for on Google, the results change based on what you put in the search field. That group of results is based on your keyword phrase.
For your small business, what are the key phrases that your potential audience would actually search for? Which part of your website content strategy should pull up for that search phrase? Those are the questions that you should be thinking about for your small business. It doesn’t have to necessarily be the content page that has your direct product or service. It could be as simple as a page that answers a frequently asked questions about your product, service, or even within the industry that you are in.
What is a longtail keyword?
Certain keywords (especially short phrases) have a huge search volume. For example, farmhouse decor has more than 100,000 searches per month (you can use a multitude of tools, like Keywords Everywhere, to see these estimated numbers). That key phrase may be hard to rank for. The reason is because big corporations that sell products and services related to that key phrase might already have content created for it or they are running ads on it.
A longtail keyword allows you to target smaller, less competitive keywords so that you have a chance at getting traffic to your website, instead of being hidden on the fifth page of the search pages.
How is investing time in SEO better than investing money in ads?
If you invest time in optimizing SEO, the downside is that you aren’t guaranteeing ranking and it delivers slower traffic than paid traffic. However, you can use that content to share across your platforms and continue generating leads that way. However, if you don’t have a lot of time, you can invest money upfront that will allow you to be moved to the top of the search engine by “paying to play”, kind of like Facebook Ads that I know most small business owners are familiar with. However, ads do have an end date, so what happens if your ad money runs out? How are you continuing to get traffic?
While SEO takes time to ramp up, it continues to work for you in the long-run as you continue to crank out consistent content in your space. If the speed of the result is more important to you than cost, then paid advertising may be a better option for you.
13 Benefits of SEO for Small Business
#1. SEO provides value to your potential customers, which allows you to then gain trust.
When you are creating content to HELP customers, instead of just pushing products, people are realizing that you are providing them informative information so they can make an educated decision on their purchase. Being transparent about what you are sharing that is related to the products and services that you offer allows you to gain more trust. In addition, you are helping answer search queries that your potential customers are looking for answers to.
#2. SEO allows your small business to get leads on autopilot.
Once you create content, it literally can go on autopilot after you share it. Your blog content actually increases it’s “searchability” within search engines the older it gets (generally) and the more often it is linked to by industry experts. Traffic increases as your content has more time to be out in the world.
#3. SEO provides you the ability to warm up cold traffic.
You have the ability to take all the traffic SEO provides you, allow a brand new customer to be familiarized what you have to offer, and warm them up to being open to a new offer. It’s a win-win.
#4. SEO can be done for free.
You don’t need to pay a hefty fee for an SEO specialist if you follow the steps to implement yourself. Just put yourself in the searcher’s shoes, what do you expect when you search for a term you are trying to rank for? Think of a product outside your industry, and see what other companies are doing to show up at the top of search engines. This should give you an idea of what’s working and what’s not.
#5. SEO provides you the ability to re-target potential customers.
If your website has pixels for each of the social media platforms that offer advertisement, you can literally re-target anyone that has been to your website. These are warm leads that you can continue to run ads to on other platforms that will have a higher chance of converting because you know they’ve been to your site. This means that what you offered them initially didn’t convert them, so you just need to think of a different offer than can help.
#6. SEO provides authority and credibility for your business.
Google has what the industry calls as part of their algorithm EAT (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness). This is all determined by not just your content, but whether you are an authority on that subject matter. They are trying to avoid serving up pages that are uneducated advice, opinions, or harmful websites (especially in healthcare and finances) that would prove harmful for searches. However, what’s great is that small business owners, especially who have brick and mortar stores are going to be at a higher likelihood of not being impacted.
#7. SEO is a great long-term marketing strategy.
You create content once, as long as you’ve set it up with good opt-in or lead magnet, it continues to give and give in terms of traffic.
#8. SEO helps you gain a bigger market share.
If you have other small businesses that you are competing against, most small businesses are not aware of how SEO can help them. You can get a leg up on what SEO can do for your online business marketing strategies. Your small business online marketing strategies will grow your traffic, and allow you to integrate other marketing strategies to help you take the lead against your competitors.
#9. SEO helps you optimize and funnel all of your online marketing strategies.
If you are implementing e-commerce, email funnels, content marketing, and blogging, SEO provides a way to fully integrate and align your online marketing efforts in a cohesive strategy where everything coordinates with the sales funnel.
#10. SEO is more cost-effective than PPC.
SEO is an investment in time and resources to do the content. The difference is that you aren’t having to pay a platform for ads. While it is slower, the benefit is that it is a stream of traffic that continually drips traffic to your website in the long run without having to pay.
#11. SEO helps boost inbound traffic to your website.
The whole purpose of SEO is to drive traffic to your site. Once you implement SEO to your website and learn how your website can be a foundation to helping all of your efforts, you’ll learn the techniques and strategies in getting your website, and thus your brand, in front of people and driving traffic.
#12. SEO increases your customer retention rate
When you drive traffic to your website, users will get to know that you provide value (if your content is good) and will want to get to know more about you and your business. As they learn more about your business, their viewpoint of you will increase positively and referrals can be increased through this goodwill.
#13. SEO has a better ROI than PPC.
Good SEO campaigns have a 40% ROI compared to 22% of PPC. SEO has an average close rate of 14.6% from SEO leads as compared to 1.7% from outbound leads.
How to Implement SEO for Your Small Business
Implementing SEO doesn’t have to be hard, and you do not need to hire an SEO specialist out of the gate. Here are the quick steps that you can take in your small business to elevate your business’s online marketing SEO strategies:
- User Intent – What are your customers and audiences asking about regarding your industry, products, or services? Think of key phrases, both short and long tail terms that they are searching today.
- Search Rankings – Analyze how many searches per month are being done with those key phrases using a multitude of tools available out there. Please know that these are all just “guesses” as to what Google is using to rank, so take it for what it is, someone else’s assumptions of the number of searches per month. At this point, figure out the keywords you want to target.
- Create Content – Using the keywords, create website content (preferred: a blog post) on those keywords in various places in the headings, post content, and the title of the post. Avoid keyword stuffing. While there are magical formulas on where and how often you should embed the keywords, your goal is to sprinkle in other semantically related phrases as Google is continuing to learn “language understanding” via algorithms. So be as natural as possible when sprinkling in your keyphrases, but don’t over optimize or you could have Google penalize your website.
- Add in an Opt-In, Content Upgrade, Freemium, or Lead Magnet. You’ll hear these terms a lot, and these all mean the same thing. These can be a PDF, a coupon, a video training, a link to an overview sheet, etc. The goal is that you are going to be asking for this potential client’s email address and exchange it for the product.
- Create an email funnel that goes on forever. You are going to want to nurture these emails, so start creating an email sales funnel (again, see my free resources guide) where you at the minimum, send an email weekly so that your potential customers have brand awareness and you are providing them value. Once you set up the initial email funnel, it goes on FOREVER because you will be adding an email every week within that email funnel – so as long as your customers are on the list, they’ll get emails from you indefinitely.
- Segment your list further. Within the email funnel, you can get them to “click” on their interests, to further segment your audience so you can send emails that are personalized with products that are meaningful to them.
- Have a strong sales page to convert. With all of these processes, you’ll have to have a strong sales page.
- Analyze conversions. After a few months, are you seeing traffic to your website? If not, you might be targeting too competitive keywords or keywords that people aren’t looking for. Are you seeing a lot of traffic, but no one signing up for the opt-in? Maybe no one sees value in the opt-in, and you need to iterate on it. Are people coming to your site, but not converting? Maybe your sales landing page is off.
- Rinse and repeat!
To view a free step-by-step guide on how you can improve your online marketing strategies, including SEO, sign up for the FREE Online Traffic Generation Plan. It’s a 6-step guide to getting website traffic and converting social media followers into paid customers.
6 Step Online Traffic Generation Plan for Small Business Owners
Get a FREE quick start guide that will help you get more leads for your online business. This will also grant you access as a VIP member (for FREE) to the Vault Resource Library, full of freebies that will help you with your online marketing strategies.
I love spoiling my subscribers!
Once subscribed, I will send you a newsletter each week about new blogging strategies, tips, and updates on new income reports!