SEO: Optimize your business and your search

in Your Business

It wasn’t all that long ago that new (or fairly new) businesses had few options when it came to being seen by potential customers. Direct mail was, and remains, an option, but the return on investment has historically been frustrating. And, of course, there was traditional media: newspapers, magazines, tv and radio, but relatively few fledgling companies had the financial resources to take advantage of them. Then along came the internet, and the possibilities exploded…which brings us to today.

So, congratulations, business owner! Your website is up and running …but now you face the big question: how do you get visitors and – more importantly – potential customers to see it? If you’re not prepared, it’s easy to get lost in the internet.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving a website’s visibility on search engine results pages like Google. This means fine-tuning your web pages with keywords related to your products and services. Keywords are words or phrases that people most frequently use in their search. By adding them to your website content, you can increase your odds of being found online and drive more traffic to your site.

Whether you are just getting your business started or have an existing website that’s underperforming, optimization can have an immediate positive impact and also help attract more visitors now, and in the future. Here’s how:

Higher Rankings: Your chance to chant, “We’re number one!”

Want to stay ahead of your competitors? It’s a lot easier when you rank above them on search engine results pages (SERPs). And you don’t even have to wait until the business is fully established before getting your site ranked at – or near – the top.

Quality content should be your number one concern. There simply is no substitute for great content – especially when it comes to SEO marketing. Items created specifically for your intended user increases site traffic, which, in turn, improves its authority and relevance. Develop your online writing skills (or hire someone who already has them) and present yourself as an authority in your field.

The first step is to understand your audience. This involves recognizing who they are, the content looking for and the ways they’re searching for it.

Once you have a clearer understanding of them, you can start identifying the keywords they’re most likely to use when searching for products or services like yours.

Never underestimate the power of rankings. Being the first site or near the top that anyone searching for a specific product or service on Google finds can increase your reach dramatically. Even if you don’t attain the top spot, the more successfully you optimize, the better your ranking and the more visible you are.

Increased Traffic: in this case, it’s a good thing

When you’re in your car, constant traffic can be annoying. But when it involves your website, it’s all good!

The primary benefit of SEO is increased traffic. As we explained, when you optimize your website with relevant keywords, it will appear higher in search engine rankings than competitor sites that lack those same words. That results in people who use these specific terms in their search finding your site before someone else’s. It all translates to more visitors…which can then increase your sales. When we’re talking about website traffic, more is always better!

Improved Branding – leave your impression on the marketplace

SEO also gives you an opportunity to improve your business branding. When you are reputable, well-known and unique in the marketplace, it’s much easier to attract new clients…and for current clients to refer others to you. Keywords that highlight your distinctive differences help further define your brand.

More often than not, when someone discovers your site through Google or another search engine, it will be their first connection with your brand. If your SEO and content efforts have been successful, you will gain qualified traffic, increasing your conversion prospects.  As mentioned before, content marketing, in particular, can help you build trust with people, educate consumers and inform people of your products and services.

Focus on giving your audience what they want or need. This may include FAQs, offering your perspectives on industry-related topics or crafting blog content that interests your audience. Podcasts, videos, webinars and other creative can help to define and elevate your brand. It’s particularly important to regularly update your material, so customers continue to find your site relevant.

Remember, when customers trust you and understand what makes you special, you are creating the foundation for long-term, mutually beneficial relationships…which is the purpose of branding.

Increased Sales – the bottom line

Once your optimization has been refined, people who are looking for what you offer will be able to more easily find you, and may even click through directly to your site from the results pages, which usually means they are interested enough to take the next step.

SEO has the potential to significantly increase sales. Promotions and offers tied to clickthrough can be used to increase awareness and, in turn, further boost activity.

But the reality of SEO is that it takes time to see results. While an effective pay-per-click (PPC) campaign can bring in more leads for your sales team or boost eCommerce sales right now, the benefits of your SEO efforts will compound over time. 

If you are determined to grow your business, investing time and/or money in optimization must become a priority. There are different ways to optimize your site, everything from simply following instructions on informative DIY blogs to hiring professionals who will do it for you. It’s your call. Remember, there is no single solution that works for everyone. Take time to research and determine which approach is best for your company, then give it a try; the results will be well worth it.