Suanny Garcia
By: sgarcia
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SEO Guide for Small Business Owners

SEO. The three letter word everyone hears about, but few understand. If you’ve struggled back and forth trying to decipher the technological maze that is the world of SEO, you’re not alone. Often, there are two prominent opinions regarding SEO — it’s irrelevant or it’s extremely important. We’ll venture to say the latter holds more truth. SEO can have a strong impact on the growth of your online presence and simultaneously your brand. Before we address how SEO can help your business, let’s answer the overarching question — what is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of getting website traffic in an organic way via search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. These search engines show primary search results where web pages and other content are ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. It is considered a marketing discipline and encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. In its most basic form, it’s as simple as making sure your website is structured in a way that search engines understand so that those who seek what you have to offer may find easily find you.

While there are many reasons to invest in SEO, we’ve detailed below the top reasons why SEO could help your business and why you should once again reconsider that marketing budget to include quality SEO.

Traffic — the Good Kind

Although social media plays a role in generating traffic to websites, a majority of traffic is generated by major search engines. According to research 3 out of 4 clicks from internet searches go to the top five websites displayed. When used as a marketing tool, SEO can drive in revenue to your business by attracting more visitors to your site. But it’s not just that more visitors will be visiting your site, it will attract potential customers that are specifically searching for what you have to offer. Sound romantic? In the digital sphere of things, we can say SEO facilitates matches made in technological heaven. Search engines are intelligent, but humans are smarter, and the right SEO can offer loads of benefits including increased publicity and visibility among your target audience.

Credibility — We Believe in You!

Trust and loyalty are not only key factors in determining the success and longevity of a romantic relationship, they are also incredibly important when it comes to SEO. A site that people trust is more likely to draw attention from the press and be cited by others as a credible source, thus, attracting potential buyers. Research shows that brand loyalty will determine the success of a company that has many competitors, especially because 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising — that’s 75.4 million people, and counting, which means lots of buying power!

Some easy steps to make sure your site is credible are as follows. A little ART (authority, relevancy, trust) goes a long way.

Authority: Be sure to include publication dates and author dates if it’s a blog you are hosting or if your website has a blog component to it. Is the site hosted in the name of a business? Does the site offer free information that differs from its competitors? Does it relay to useful link to support its claims? These are things to consider when trying to distribute the proper information to your audience. Relevancy: Is the content and topics featured on your website relevant? Does it help the visitors?Trust: is your site word-of-mouth friendly, meaning are users recommending your sites to friends? Is it credible?

You Have Control

One of the most important factors to keep in mind regarding SEO is that you can take charge of how well you execute your SEO strategy. You cannot control a bad review or another competitor showing up in your area, but SEO, you can handle. By controlling your rankings you can gauge how many visitors show up on your website and if you are consistent with your SEO practices, those regular visitors are sure to become potential customers.

A strategic SEO execution can have positive side benefits for your website ranging from making your site and overall digital presence better for your customers and leads, to improving your site’s functionality and user experience. Additionally, if your services are limited to one area, it is best to configure your SEO with keywords in that specific area. For example, a Google search for “sushi restaurants” will yield a different result than a Google search on “sushi restaurants in Manhattan.” If optimized properly, your business can become top-of-the-Google-chart ready for those looking for the best salmon skin roll in Manhattan.

Don’t have a website? SEO can still help you. By creating a Google My Business account or similar profile online, your business can instantly benefit from potential leads without even spending a dime on a website. Google will also display reviews and commentary from customers just from compiling their own data.

Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough

Your website may grow to be one of the highest ranking websites in the history of websites and you should still never. stop. optimizing. If you’ve built authority to the point where links are being shared and referred to organically, you might want to consider minimizing your SEO budget. However, due to the wavering nature of SEO, it is good to know that while your website can rank high now, in a few years it will not keep the rank if optimization practices are ignored or not updated.

There are bountiful benefits to investing in SEO. How many times have you conducted a Google search and have only clicked the first three options? Usually, by then, you’ll find what you need. Similarly, users click and trust on first five links that appear on search engines more than any others. Meaning, if you are selling the same thing as the website link under yours, the SEO website is likely to draw in more customers and sales. SEO is also beneficial for social promotion. Users who find websites by searching on search engines will likely promote it on their social media channels. However you choose to do it, investing in SEO will surely yield a great ROI for your business.

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