If you think SEO is an old buzzword, think again. SEO, or search engine optimization, is not only still relevant, it’s more important than ever. In short, SEO helps Google and other search engines find your business. And in today’s world, where nearly 80 percent of customers search online prior to making a purchasing decision, it’s vital for businesses to optimize their websites for the search engines.
Kelly Shelton, vice president of marketing at Boostability, an online marketing firm, explains that SEO helps businesses work in sync with Google’s search algorithms.
“SEO is what will land your company on Google’s first page,” says Shelton. “Everyone goes to Google when they have a question—any type of question. So it’s important that Google delivers the best results, which is exactly what their algorithms attempt to do. They rank businesses based on factors like relevance, trust and popularity. For example, they look at how people get to a website, how long they stay there, how many people are linking to them. SEO, of course, plays a huge role in all of this.”
Even though a majority of today’s consumers search online prior to making a purchase, many companies have a weak online presence and some even have no website at all.
“Some businesses think that they’ll never be able to compete with the big box stores or that SEO is too expensive. Many of those businesses haven’t converted to the digital world—about 40 percent of small businesses don’t even have a website,” says Shelton. “But more and more businesses are realizing the power of the internet and seeing that most consumers are relying on it.
If your business hasn’t taken advantage of SEO to improve your search rankings, there’s good news: it’s not too late to get started, and it’s easier and less expensive than ever before. But you’ve got to do it right.
“When businesses think about SEO, the first thing that often pops in their minds is that they’ll have to work with an expensive agency. So, they might try to find a different route, like a do-it-yourself plan or an overseas service,” explains Shelton. “Those services might be affordable, but they’re not as effective and they don’t give you everything your business needs.”
Creating and maintaining an online presence can be overwhelming, especially for small business owners who have limited time and cash. And SEO is just one piece of the puzzle that you’ve got to get right. So, what’s a small business without the resources of a big business to do?
Shelton offers four easy steps your company can take today to get started:
- Create a Google My Business profile. “Google is the dominant search engine. It is vitally important for all businesses, especially local businesses, to have a Google My Business listing and page. Even if you don’t have a website, create a profile and include as much information as possible—pictures, reviews—fill it out thoroughly.”
- Build website that answers questions. “Consumers expect to find information at their fingertips. If you’re not answering their questions on your website, they’ll go looking somewhere else. Make a list of every question your customers might have and then create content pages answering those questions. You’ll be much more successful if you turn your website into an information and educational tool that will answer all of their questions.”
- Build your business’ online brand. “Create a blog—it’s doesn’t have to be complicated. Use social media. Be active online.”
- Make sure your website is coded properly. “We’ve found that many businesses aren’t ranking on Google because there’s been a simple mistake made in their website coding. Your website could have code that is telling Google not to index a page. Make sure your website is mobile friendly and coded correctly.
While bringing an agency onboard to help perfect your company’s online presence might seem expensive and intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. Boostability is an online marketing service provider that has devoted its mission to helping small businesses compete in the online world. The company has three core specialties: SEO (search engine optimization), social media, and website design and management. Its services start for as low as $80 a month.
“When we started almost 10 years ago, we actually provided a do-it-yourself service where we’d walk clients through the process. But we found they didn’t have the time or knowledge to do it right. We were able to convert into a full-service agency that offers do-it-yourself pricing. Most agencies won’t work with small businesses because they’re not profitable, but we were able to crack the code and figure out how to help small businesses at an affordable price.”
Serving the little guy is what Boostability does best. “We love helping small businesses get to that first page ranking on Google, and we’ve helped thousands do it,” says Shelton. “We get excited about helping a business that thought they couldn’t compete get on the first page of Google rankings. It’s our passion.”[“Source-utahbusiness”]