SEO is a term that gets thrown around a lot when marketing a business, but even over a decade after the rise of search engines and web page indexers, many small businesses simply don’t know what SEO really is, let alone how to tailor their websites for it. Many still rely solely on print and physical advertising for their businesses, even as younger generations increasingly shift towards computers and smartphones for their info on local businesses and stores. In addition to having a solid website, it is important for a small business to implement an SEO strategy in order to effectively reach their target customers, and rise above their competitors in the search engine rankings.
What is SEO?
The abbreviation SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a process where pages, images, titles, keywords, links, and more are manipulated on a web page and website in order to increase its standing and frequency in major search engines. Google doesn’t magically index the entire web for just what you want, it has a formula for sorting web pages, called an algorithm, and on the website’s side, there must be an SEO expert able to configure that website so that it has a chance of appearing high on the results page. Most users never look past the first few options that come up on a search, and far fewer will ever look beyond the first page of results. SEO helps to get your website into those first few results, and grab the attention of more users.
Why is SEO Important for Small Businesses?
Many small businesses assume that since they have been successful enough without SEO, their business will continue to succeed without it. However, as smartphones and other devices become increasingly more advanced, younger and even older generations turn to them for directions to local businesses. Have you ever used your phone to look up somewhere to eat or a store you can visit to purchase something? Chances are whichever business you ended up visiting, they had a qualified SEO expert helping them to appear prominently in your search results.
SEO is especially important if you do business online. Whether it’s ticket sales, in-store pickup, or items that you ship out, having strong SEO is directly correlated to how many customers make purchases on your website. Plus, for physical store customers, you may offer promotions such as coupon deals or other savings events in your business, and without proper SEO, those customers will never be able to find out about them online.
Why Do Websites Need an SEO Expert?
Many business owners, after reading up on why they need to have their websites optimized for search engines, attempt to do the task themselves. However, unless you’re already very knowledgeable about the topic, chances are you’re not really going to make a dent in your search engine rankings. Different search engines have different algorithms and preferences on websites, and while Google is the largest search engine by far, Bing and Yahoo! Still see significant use. An SEO expert can help to optimize for all of these simultaneously. Additionally, SEO is a multifaceted concept. That is to say, there are many areas which need attention, from Meta tags to title optimization to text-based keywords to simple text formatting.