Many business owners are intimidated to invest time into search engine optimization because of its complex nature, mistakenly associated with programming and computer science. Although, while investing more time, you are ultimately spending less money.
First off, before we dive into further detail, we must understand what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is. SEO is a digital marketing strategy commonly used to enhance one’s website presence by improving the quantity and quality of traffic on search engines such as Google.
Building Brand Awareness
Picture yourself going away on vacation to somewhere you never visited before. You need to buy some groceries for the rental you are staying at but have no idea which grocery stores the town provides- so, you go on google. In the search engine, you type groceries and press search. Then, a wide variety of grocery chains pop up like Stop & Shop, Price Chopper or Kroger. These three stores are at the top when you search for one simple word.
Building brand awareness is crucial especially if you are a start-up business. There are few companies with unique services and products that are able to skip over the nitty-gritty of advertising. A phone company like Verizon only has a few main competitors, since that market is hard to enter into, while a local coffee shop has a whole plethora of competitors- especially those who are major franchises like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. SEO requires a lot of brainstorming on how your business stands out from the rest.
Previously, I mentioned a little bit about competitors and overall competition within certain markets. SEO is a great way to stand out and tell your customers why they should seek service from your small business. When a potential customer searches for a utility store, most likely the first franchises to pop up are a Home Depot or Lowes. In order to avoid this, picking out keywords to describe your niche is important and helps set you aside from others within your industry.
Small businesses utilize SEO because it helps promote your company and create less competition. In Connecticut, there are in total 1187 pizza shops which means each individual store needs a way to outshine its competitors. When you are a small business, it is important to brainstorm words to differentiate yourself from the crowd. For example, Mediterranean Pizza will ultimately have different results than Chicago Style Pizza. As you research and understand your target demographic, there is more probability a potential customer will check out your website and potentially attract more traffic overall.
Inform New & Recurring Customers
Now when people think of SEO, it is all about informing and focusing on the originality of keywords being used. You are informing customers where they can get their wants and needs. Mind mapping words that associate with your brand can immensely help with this process. For example, Nike is an athletic line and most customers use word association to understand what Nike is selling. Most tend to think of athleisure, sneakers, sports, and more. Narrowing down words like this while utilizing SEO is beneficial and overall helps determine what you are providing to your customers.
As mentioned before, spending the time and effort to come up with words that associate with your brand gains you a more “targeted” audience. If your small business was labeled as an all-American food buffet, how would people know you potentially specialize with BBQ flavorings or provide vegan meal options? Targeting directly to your intended audience saves you and customers a lot of time, as the average person spends only six seconds to scan through the first page of a website. You want to make the most of those six seconds by attracting customers and getting straight to the point of what your small business has to offer.
Return On Investment Beyond Any Other Marketing Tool
After understanding why SEO is important for you and your small business, it is also notable that SEO is extremely cost-efficient compared to other forms of marketing. Of course, you are still spending and investing time into finding out what works for you. The biggest pay-off SEO has to offer is the amount of traffic it creates for your website and ultimately leads to decisive loyal customers.