Everyone uses the internet
According to internet live, 65,268 Google searches are performed every second. Yes, you read that right. Not every day, not every hour, but every SECOND! It’s an incredible number when you think about it, and when you really think about it, if you’re not utilizing your website as one of your marketing and sales tools, then you’re missing out on potential traffic in the thousands.
Many small businesses are hesitant to include Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in their marketing plan for 2018, however, it should not only be considered as a piece of your marketing plan, it should play a major role. Still need convincing? Here are 5 reasons your business needs SEO.
1. Build your Brand
Whether you’re just starting out, or are an established website, there’s no doubt you’d like to have better brand awareness. What company doesn’t want more people to know about their services? This is why SEO is a huge factor in increasing your online presence and exposure around your brand. With the right combination of on-page and off-page SEO strategies, your site will begin ranking better in search results, creating high quality high demand content, and improving overall user experience. The combination of these results means more traffic to your site. More traffic means more people are becoming aware of your brand. Some of these people may not be the perfect fit for your services–it’s important to drive quality traffic and understand the user’s intent, which will be discussed later, but it’s a good starting point. The more traffic and impressions to your site the better your brand awareness.
2. Edge out the Competition
If one of your competitors were to invite you to their office to share their marketing strategies, including what they’ve done that’s worked and hasn’t at no cost to you, would you? There’s no doubt you would. This is why taking a look at your competition with a competitor analysis can give you a great deal of insight into what your competitors are doing well. You can then take this information and turn into your own, and avoid the mistakes they’re making.
No matter what business you’re in, there’s going to be competition, you’re going to have someone else in your market you’re competing against for customers. There may be larger, industry leaders who you may not quite be competing directly against, but hope to in the future, as well as some other, more direct competitors. In either case, utilizing SEO to perform a competitor analysis can give you a major advantage
Industry leaders, are industry leaders for a reason; they know what it takes to succeed. Having the ability to look into things like what sites are linking back to them, what type of content they are creating, as well as what keywords they are ranking well for, is a huge advantage. While even industry leaders aren’t perfect, it will give you good ideas on how to structure your digital marketing strategy, as well as provide some easy wins to build your online presence.
While you may not be directly competing with larger industry leaders, you are still competing for clients with companies in the same weight class. When done effectively, this is where a competitive analysis can change from generating ideas, to generating revenue.
Soccer Store Example A:
You and your competitor sell men’s soccer equipment. You run a keyword report on one of your competitors. They’re ranking in the same area as you for soccer cleats, and jerseys. Shin guards however, is their best keyword. You sell the same type of shin guards as them, but they rank top 3 in Google, and you’re having difficulty even cracking the top page of search results. How do you handle these situations? For cleats and jerseys, post a few blogs, create a whitepaper, maybe some other content on those products and in time start “telling” Google you’re more of an authority on cleats and jerseys than your competition. For shin guards, maybe you want quicker results, and don’t see that happening organically. You notice your competition is ranking well for this organically, but isn’t using paid ads. You could then create a small PPC campaign based off of shin guards, with a high-quality landing page and some great ad copy, maybe even run a promotion on that landing page. Now, not only have you improved your efforts in three of your service areas, but you have directly challenged your competitor by enticing their customers to see how your shin guards are just as good, and may even be better.
With one quick analysis, you were able to gain an edge on two products you’re directly competing against your competitor for, as well as challenge them for one of their go to products.
3. Understand your Audience. What is the User’s Intent?
Although many of us like to believe we know everything, including exactly what our potential customers are thinking, we don’t. However, with a deeper dive into your own web analytics, you’re able to better understand what users are looking for and how they’re getting to your site.
Improve your messaging and positioning
Having a better understanding of your user, and what they’re searching for doesn’t just help you SEO and web strategy, it helps your marketing strategy as a whole. Having a better understanding of your potential customers helps mold your messaging and position your brand in the best way.
Soccer Store Example B:
Sticking with the soccer store theme, you position your brand and focus all of your resources on soccer cleats and soccer jerseys. It’s what you believe everyone that comes to your site is looking for and want to purchase. However, after taking a closer look at your Google search console, you discover there’s a large number of users coming to your site searching for things like “soccer bags,” “soccer balls,” and “portable soccer goals.” You sell all of those products as well, but never gave it much thought and have them all on a soccer page called “soccer equipment.” Armed with the understanding of the user’s intent, you decide to create a bit more content and break that page into three pages: one each for each bags, goals, and balls. By doing that you don’t lose focus from your top products of soccer cleats and jerseys, but still improve your site by including those pages.
Working to better understand the user’s intent will not only increase your traffic, but it will increase the quality of your traffic as well. By sending more qualified traffic to your site, you should expect to see your bounce rate drop, and your conversion rate increase.
4. Location, Location, Location
According to Bright Local, 97% of consumers used the internet to find a local business of some kind in 2017. Of that 97%, 54% looked for a local business online at least once a month. All of these numbers are an increase from 2016, and will continue to increase this year. While it’s true that local search may not be for every single company, any physical storefront/office may gain an advantage optimizing local search. Through reviews, location information, and structured data, you can allow the consumer a closer, easier look at your business, which will improve their engagement. In fact Search Engine Land’s study found, 85% of brand engagement by consumers is through local search. So, if you want to give potential customers a fast, easy, and convenient way to find your business, local search optimization is the way to go.
5. Optimize your biggest sales tool
Think of your best salesperson on your team. Now, ask that person to handle everything in their territory, plus every other territory you cover. Oh, and also ask them to be sure to constantly have sales materials, and content pieces with them to give to potential clients 24/7. Not going to happen? Of course not. No matter how great of a sales team you may have, your website is your biggest and best sales tool, period.
So, if you want your site to build your brand awareness, beat out your competition, understand your customers, and be easily accessible for customers in your area, then Search Engine Optimization should be the next step in your marketing plan.
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