Even though October and Halloween have passed, perhaps the ghost of SEO still haunts your small business. SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and includes optimizing your brand’s website and online presence for organic search ranking. However, in 2017, SEO has evolved to include valuable Web content. More often than not, many small-scale and even medium-sized businesses don’t believe they will benefit from spending money on online marketing services, specifically an SEO strategy. With the following facts and figures in mind, your small business will see the value of investing in a long-term online marketing strategy that includes SEO to expand your brand’s reach and increase revenue over the long-term.
No. 1: There are currently over 3 billion global internet users, and this figure is only expected to grow. According to We Are Social, the number of internet users in 2017 has reached 3.77 billion with a staggering 2.8 billion social media users, globally. Currently, over 50% of the world’s population uses a smartphone, and over half of all accounted web traffic comes from mobile devices. As the digital world continues to expand and become more accessible, it will be absolutely essential for your small business to cultivate an online presence that will help potential customers find your brand on the Web, even on a local scope. Think of it this way, if someone visits or relocates to your area in need of your products or services, they will most likely find their solution (and locate your business) through an initial online search. To compete with other businesses in your industry and area, your business will need to create an edge by implementing and maintaining an SEO strategy that will help internet users find your business’ information and content easily--on the first search results page, ideally.
No. 2: Nearly 93 percent of all online experiences start with a search engine. As mentioned before, more and more people are starting to rely on search engines to find local businesses in their area, as well as solutions in the form of products and services. Optimizing your website for keywords and user experience along with creating valuable content are just a few ways that your small business brand can boost its SEO and maintain an ongoing online presence. On top of that, all of your brand’s online listings should be current and consistent, and all client/customer reviews should be responded to so as to show that your online presence is reputable to any online searchers. The NALA provides an SEO dashboard that allows businesses to access their online listings, keyword rankings, and online reviews all in one place, making it easier than ever to maintain a relevant and necessary SEO strategy.
No. 3: Receiving more than 92% of all web traffic, Google reigns as #1 search engine. Of course, your business should rank for all search engines including Yahoo and Bing, but it will make sense for your small business to prioritize Google ranking. Not only should your business focus on its organic Google ranking, but should also consider channeling any paid search results through Google since it is the most widely used search engine by internet users.
No. 4: Top-ranking links receive the most click-through. If your small business has a unique offering or niche audience, it’s quite probable that your website already appears on the first page of a search result, ranking higher for its specific keywords (and longtail keyword phrases). However, whether or not your business is already ranking on the first page, you will still want to employ an effective SEO strategy for your brand. Keep in mind that the top-ranking website on a search results page receives 37 percent click-throughs while the top 3 results receive a click-though rate of 60 percent, combined. As the world continues to become more digital, your business will need to continue to compete for high rankings on search engines by effectively managing your SEO, which can be boosted in a myriad of ways: online press releases, social media presence, customer reviews, and multimedia content.
No. 5: Mobile devices dominate internet usage. On an average day, 80 percent of users access the internet from their smartphones. On top of that, 40 percent of all online searches come from a mobile source. In the last year, mobile search growth increased by 25-40 percent, depending on industry. With the internet becoming more accessible on the go, it is becoming a huge resource for consumers when locating businesses and making purchase decisions. Not only should your business’ website be optimized for mobile devices, but your brand’s online presence should also reflect an honest and transparent reputation to entice a more selective audience that has endless information at their fingertips just a touch screen away.
No. 6: On average, mobile users spend about 170 minutes on their smartphones per day. Furthermore, mobile users access the Web outside their homes in public spaces such as restaurants, bars, stores, and even work. The amount of time that is spent on the internet via smartphones signals that more and more people are conducting product/service research from their mobile devices than desktop computers. Because of this, your small business will need to produce mobile-friendly content that is visually appealing and valuable with its information in order to not just catch users’ thumbs but also maintain interest and foster trust.
No. 7: Sales leads generated via search engines are better targeted to your audience. Studies have confirmed that leads generated from SEO efforts have a 14.6 percent conversion rate while outbound marketing yields only 1.7 percent in conversions. Launching a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign can help your small business determine its specific return on investment (ROI) on its SEO services. PPC conversion rates are also 1.5 times higher than organic results. Overall, your small business brand will need to keep in mind that within the first year of investing in SEO, you might not break even. However, with continual upkeep, maintenance, and production of valuable content, your business will see results with ROI in the years to come.