Every industry has a dependence on website traffic. That’s because the internet is the first place your next customers will go when they decide they need something. Even if your customers don’t talk or connect with you through your website, they visit and do their research before they make contact. In fact, research from Forrester’s Lori Wizdo shows B2B prospects specifically are anywhere from two-thirds to 90 percent of the way through their buying journey before contacting a provider. Your customers rely on your website – and the search engine optimization (SEO) that leads them to you – before you’ll ever hear from them.
That’s why SEO is critical to your success, and why our outsourced marketing clients turn to EAG Advertising & Marketing to drive relevant web traffic to their businesses.
Let’s pause on that word – relevant. That’s the key, right? More traffic to the site isn’t better if the people coming to your website aren’t the right kind of people for your business. Through better SEO, the people coming to your website will be more likely to consider your products or services. Let’s find out how that’s done.
What is small business SEO?
Small businesses come in all shapes and sizes and may be local or national, competing against national giants at a local level, or just competing locally for attention and sales. Sadly, that means there’s nothing typical about small business SEO. In short, SEO is all about getting your website to rank higher on a Google search so the right people can find your website for the thing you sell. Broadly defined, the main elements of SEO are:
Content refers to the on-page text and forward-facing elements of your website that include keywords that help Google understand who you’re trying to attract. Links primarily refer to other websites that link to your website and send referral traffic your way. The technical aspects of SEO are generally back-end coding elements that further define for Google the keywords and phrases the site is trying to rank for and gives it structure to make it easier for search engines to read.
Is SEO for Google, Bing, Yahoo – or what?
Search engine optimization tactics apply to all search engines, but there’s clearly a winner in search engine market share. According to a recent report, Google’s market share in search was 88%, with Bing at 5.5% and Yahoo at 2.7%. For that reason, SEO tactics will primarily focus on Google and best practices will carry through to the rest of the field.
Keeping up with SEO changes can be a serious challenge. Search engine optimization has changed a lot in the past few years, especially for the local search market. Google doesn’t publish the mysteries of their algorithm to give us perfect insight into their search rankings, but the community of SEO experts, outsourced marketing firms, and digital agencies pay close attention to the information Google does publish, along with any observed changes in search rankings, to stay on top of things.
Do I need to pay for web traffic?
When companies pay for search result placement, that’s a form of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising called paid search advertising. When your site ranks for your preferred search terms organically (meaning paying for traffic by the click is not required), that’s the benefit of SEO.
While paid ads from paid search advertising appear above the first organic (that is, unpaid or natural) ranking item, 28.5% of searchers click on the first organic ranking and skip over all of the paid results. More than 71% of people click on one of the first page results, but that number drops to just 6% for second-page results. Whether through paid ads or organic SEO work, you want to be on the first page for your strategically selected keywords.
How can my small business rank for search keywords?
Addressing all of the elements of good SEO is the complete answer – but the most specific answer is about having great content on your website. Selecting the keywords you want to qualify for is a strategic effort. Imagine the best possible customer for your business. How would that person search for you? You want to identify the kinds of phrases your best customers are using when they don’t know your brand name, but they’re looking for what you sell. Writing content that focuses on those keywords and phrases on a regular basis helps Google place you higher in the ranking.
EAG’s strong team of creatives and small business copywriters are always pushing the limits in terms of generating killer content. This is the component of SEO that most businesses struggle with – having the time and resources to really create great content over and over again.
How we develop a small business SEO strategy.
Our first step is to review your website’s current SEO condition to determine a benchmark of where you stand today, and which of the SEO elements are causing the most harm to your site’s SEO performance.
We then look at the goals and objectives for your website and marketing program to determine the kind of positive impact possible with improved SEO, and we weigh that against the cost, effort, and competition to achieve measurable results.
Next, we tactically plan our priorities for each SEO area, using the periodic table of SEO elements to first reduce the negative SEO factors and then increase the positive SEO drivers. Once the initial negative SEO factors have been repaired, these mostly technical factors can be addressed in smaller increments each month on an ongoing basis. Positive SEO drivers then become the primary focus, generally focused on additional website content, backlinks, and off-page content.
Finally, we implement these tactics on a monthly, ongoing basis. SEO is a long-term play that is greatly impacted by changes in search algorithm, activity by competitors, and changes in the way your prospective customers are searching for your product or service. Careful measurement against the expected outcomes and KPI indicators keep performance on track while paying attention to competitor activity.
SEO performance is very challenging to predict. While some specific tactics are easy to measure and show direct results, others play a smaller role and merely assist in driving additional traffic. Bring competitor activity and consumer search patterns into the picture and predicting SEO outcomes is a complex puzzle. The best course of action is to implement these SEO tactics as prescribed, measure, and then assess against your expected outcomes as time goes on.
Is page 1 a place your business should be? Let’s talk.