Are you asking questions such as ‘how can SEO help my business’ or ‘does seo work for small business’? Well, did you know that Google alone conducts more than 40,000 searches every second? These days, search engines are powerful, influential entities and if you run a small business, they could open you up to all kinds of opportunities. If you’re interested in stepping up your SEO game, this guide should prove useful.
What Exactly Is SEO And How Can SEO Help My Business?
SEO, or search engine optimisation, is a marketing technique employed by businesses to drive traffic to their website. The aim of the game is to appear at the top of the search engine results page when a user enters terms, phrases or words that are linked to your business. The higher up the page you can climb, the better. Research shows that around 75 percent of consumers don’t make it past page 1 when they use a search engine.
There are myriad ways SEO can benefit small businesses. If you use search engines like Google, you may find that household names and corporate giants appear on page 1, and this may make you ask questions like, ‘does SEO work for small business?’ The answer is yes, provided that it is done in the right way.
What Are The Advantages Of SEO?
Perhaps one of the most important advantages of SEO, when answering the question ‘how can SEO help my business’, is the reach it offers. It doesn’t matter if your business is small; SEO marketing can open you up to a pool of clients you probably would never have been able to reach through other techniques.
The Internet is used by billions of people all over the world. Of course, not everyone will be searching for what you offer, but if you’ve got a good search ranking, this could make a major difference to the size and scale of your client base.
Another benefit of SEO marketing is that it puts you in touch with people who are likely to have a genuine interest in what you do. The consumer who has clicked on your link has searched for something that is similar to the products or services you offer. This means that you can generate good quality leads, which have a high conversion rate.
How Does SEO Get My Website In Front Of People?
The first thing to understand is that websites as a whole do not rank in search results; it is the pages of that website that do. So, each page of your website will rank differently and for different keywords and phrases, based on the topic of that individual page. So, in theory, the more pages your website has, the more keywords you will rank for and the wider the audience you will reach.
The second thing to understand is the different places that your website pages can come up in search results. Going back a few years, the SEO game was simple with only a couple of places that you needed to appear – you either came up in the organic results or the sponsored paid results.
However, there are now a variety of different places you can come up, known as SERP features. Understanding the people you are trying to reach and the type of content you are trying to promote will help you to decide where your page should come up, when wondering ‘how can SEO help my business’.
SERP features & How SEO Works Infographic
The below infographic shows the different places your web pages can come up in search results, based on the top 10 most popular SERP features in Google:
Share This Infographic On Your Site
The following explains the most popular SERP features in Google, taken from our infographic above:
- Organic results – this is the standard, non-paid, results that appear below the top 3 or 4 sponsored results.
- Sponsored results – this is the paid results that sit both above and below the organic results and works off a pay-per-click system using Google AdWords.
- Featured Snippet – this is a special form of organic result that displays an answer to a question, directly within the search results page, with a link to the resource for more information.
- Image Pack – these results display a horizontal row of image links, which click-through to a Google Images search.
- Knowledge Panel (or Knowledge Graph) – this is a special form of organic result that displays semantic data in the right-side of the search results page, extracted from a number of industry top sources, such as Wikipedia.
- Local Pack – this is a special form of organic result that displays the top 3 local businesses, along with a Google Map, when the user searches for a product, service or business within or near to a particular location.
- News Box – time-sensitive and newsworthy topics may generate a block of results from Google News, which is displayed within the organic search results.
- Related Questions – if Google believes there are similar questions that people ask, in relation to your query, they may also display a related questions box with links to the top results.
- Reviews – Google will sometimes display review stars or rating data with results that include the likes of products, recipes, etc, which can help to increase click-through rates.
- Shopping Results – paid shopping results, or Product Listing Ads (PLAs) help to sell products directly within their own box at the top of the results page, which includes additional information such as images and prices.
So, for example, if you have a physical storefront and want to attract local customers, ranking in the Local Pack is a must. Whereas, if you want to get traffic to a recent blog article that you have written based around a story or event in the media, the New Pack maybe more appropriate.
Whatever content you want to put in front of people, there will be a SERP feature that is right for you. If you want to find out more about SERP features, then take a look at this SERP features guide from Moz.
How Does SEO Work For Small Business?
If you took a moment to research SEO using a search engine to answer questions such as ‘how can SEO help my business’ or ‘does SEO work for small business’, you’d be greeted with hundreds of articles, links and how SEO works infographic. The truth is that there are multiple ways of improving your search ranking and using SEO to boost your business’ online profile.
The main thing that you have to remember with SEO is that the search engine will always have the final say on where and how they choose to rank your website pages. As an SEO consultant or agency, we can ensure your content has the best chances of ranking for particular keywords, but it will always be down to the search engine to honour it.
This is why any reputable SEO company will never guarantee that they can get you to the top of the organic results for a particular keyword. If they do, run a mile as they are probably using techniques that go against the search engines best practices in an attempt to deliberately manipulate the results. Even if this works short term, once the search engine figures it out, you run a high risk of being blacklisted completely.
To get that position 1 ranking, you have to earn it, which takes time and patience. However, once you do earn that top spot, the rewards you can get will have made it worth the wait and investment.
Although there is no quick and easy way to get to the top of the search results unless if you are investing in the sponsored results with a service such as Google AdWords, there are a number of things you can do to help work your way up to those top spots naturally.
Google says they look at over 200 different factors, when choosing to rank a web page, and unfortunately they do not disclose what these factors are. However, making sure that you are doing the following on a regular basis will put you in good stead to outrank all the other pages out there:
- Produce content that is relevant and of interest – the pages that rank at the top of the search results will be there because the likes of Google will understand that it is the type of content people want to read and that adds real value. Ensure your content is relevant, interesting, contains the keywords you want it to be found for and goes into greater depth than all the other similar pages out there, and you will be rewarded for it.
- Make sure your website pages are crawlable – once your site is full of good quality content, you need to make sure that your site is built and coded in a way that makes it easy for search engines like Google to crawl it. Write eye-catching and keyword-rich meta titles and descriptions to help both visitors and search engines understand what the page is about. If you want them to rank your content well, you need to do everything you can to help them find and understand it.
- Ensure your website is kept up-to-date – search engines are always on the hunt to display the most recent content, so always ensure your website is being updated regularly with fresh new content that is available for them to add to their index. The addition of a blog is perfect for this, as you can keep your site topped up with new content every week or month. Mixing up different kinds of content also works well, so make good use of blogs, videos, images, infographics and podcasts, wherever you can.
- Encourage people to link to you – when someone includes a link to your website on theirs, this classes as a referral. The more referrals you have, the more authoritative your website will become and the easier it will be for you to rank highly. Work hard at promoting your content wherever you can; this may include regular promotion on social media to encourage people to share your work, contacting other website owners in the same niche as yours in hope that they may link out to you in their own content, or adding your website to local and niche directories.
- Build reviews and testimonials – by getting your happy customers to leave you online reviews throughout the web, you can build trust in your brand and prove to both human visitors and search engines that you are worth promoting. Top review sources include Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews and top directory reviews like Yell.com.
How Can I Get Started?
As you can see, the topic of how can SEO help my business and does SEO work for small business is very complex and in-depth. There are many things you need to do and you need to be doing them on a daily or weekly basis if you want to seriously succeed.
Following the steps in this article will help you make good progress; the hardest part is finding the time to do it and to do it well.
If you feel that time is an issue, then take a look at our SEO packages, which ensures all of the above are being taken care of on an on-going basis, for one, low monthly price.