As a business owner, you most likely want to increase your profits. For small enterprises, this can be somewhat of a daunting task. How do you get the word out about your business without having the ability to do a full-blown campaign? What were once the go-to marketing tricks for small businesses, such as Yellow Pages, are now but a distant memory. However, there is one tried-and-true marketing method that works specifically well for small and local businesses, and that is search engine optimization (SEO).
What is SEO?
One key difference between traditional marketing and SEO is that SEO does not create any sort of demand for a product or service. Rather, it attunes to a specific demand, offering visibility to those utilizing a search engine.
Search engines are the most used feature of the internet. People conduct over 2 billion searches on Google every single day. That is over 50,000 searches every second. Like Yellow Pages, search engines operate on a paging system. Those who were on the front pages of Yellow Pages would end up getting more calls, and the same is true for the first page of google: they get more visitors.
A high ranking website will mean you are at the very top of whatever search your page appears on, which will result in more clicks. This ultimately means you are beating every other competitor at the same game. High rankings establish credibility for your brand–it is an extremely powerful advantage to have. So how can businesses leverage their online presence to increase sales? Well, it’s a pretty simple formula. If you rank high on a search engine, that will lead to an increase in visits. An increase in visits will ultimately open up leads, which will bring net you more sales.
Why Is SEO Beneficial for Small Businesses?
SEO is one of the most important marketing tactics for small and local businesses since they generally target niche markets. For instance, let’s say a local exterminator is looking to increase their leads via their online presence. Since an exterminator offers a highly specific service, their prospects will have to be actively looking for a solution to their problems. That’s where search engines come into play.
Did you know that 93% of all website experiences start with a simple search? After a search is conducted, only 60% of users will click on the top three organic listings. While being in the top three rankings on the first page of a Google search is an incredible place to be, just being on the first page is just as important. Only 75% of users will never scroll further than the first page of Google.
How to Increase Your Rankings
Now the real challenge is getting to the top of the page. How do you go about getting there? There are many facets of SEO, but much of it comes down to the website content. Not only does creating high-quality content give your business some credibility, but it is also actually incredibly important for getting higher rankings in search engines. Using specific keywords, or phrases will ultimately help to optimize your website for search engines.
What Qualifies as “Quality” Content?
When you’re considering how to go about creating content, you should put yourself in the customer’s shoes. You need to pretend that this customer came across your website and has no idea what your company is about. They need to know what your business does and how it can solve their unique problems. Quality content should be information that your potential customer will find helpful.
Is There More to It Than Just SEO?
So maybe your business already has a well-optimized site, yet you’re getting little to no leads. The problem could lie within the design and functionality of your website. It’s possible to have great SEO yet yield little to no results. The next problem could lie within your site’s design. You’ve won half the battle of getting someone to click on your site, so you should impress them.
A poorly designed website, whether it be an eyesore or have a terrible user experience, is no different than having an unpleasant experience in an ugly and dated store at the mall. You should also have a highly visible contact page or a live chat feature. Customer service is key to landing sales.
You Still Need Strong Sales Skills
Don’t think that having a well-designed and highly optimized website will be the crux of your sales. At the end of the day, you still operate a business, which means you and your team need to have the right skills to keep the business afloat. Many businesses benefit from sales training and leadership training to increase their profits. Having the toolset and knowledge to carry out a sale is going to be just as important as creating and optimizing your website.
Alec Cantin is a passionate online journalist at a Minneapolis based digital sales training agency and an existing contributor for a number of news outlets covering technology, productivity, apps and more. His work can be found on blogs and top-ranked websites.