Let's face it. Getting your website to rank on Google is no easy feat and can seem very daunting, especially for small business owners. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a term that is loaded with a lot of uncertainty, and smaller businesses may shy away from the topic. But, any business that ranks top in a Google search has a competitive advantage to those that don't. And, there is no denying that SEO has the highest return on investment of all online marketing techniques, and is by far the safest and best investment (with little risk) you can make in your website. So, what are you waiting for?
Here is why SEO can help grow your business, no matter how small or local your target market:
1. Because your audience is looking for you online
South Africans are increasingly relying on the internet as an information source (especially via mobile phones), and this now includes very localised information too. Nearest café, pharmacy, print shop? South Africans are relying more and more on Google to find out proximity-based information about businesses and services that they need. Optimised SEO will ensure your business is the one they find first.
2. SEO increases site traffic, without visitors feeling the big push
The aim of SEO is to get more people visiting your website on a daily basis. It allows your prospective customers to find your business quickly and efficiently, without them feeling that they are being persuaded by pushy marketing tactics.
3. SEO increases your website's relevancy and credibility
Applying SEO to your website will ensure that it ranks high on the list when potential consumers type in related keywords. This is a way of truly setting yourself apart from the competition, and increases the relevancy and credibility of your site for potential customers. In fact, the website that ranks first for a Google search gets a third of all clicks.
4. It's all about referrals
SEO involves integrating your online presence with your social networks, mainly Twitter and Facebook. In this way, sound SEO tactics encourage you to share relevant pieces of content (blog posts, videos, pictures) with your consumers, allowing them to share these as they wish. By applying an SEO strategy to your website, you are ensuring that you're providing your potential customer with a relevant and constant flow of information. This further adds to your business' prevalence on the internet, and is a great way of building a network of trusting and loyal customers, while learning more about their behavior to influence your business decisions.
5. Often a little goes a long way
SEO is an ongoing strategy. Establishing or changing up your website with SEO in mind is the first step, and the next will be creating or tweaking your current content to be search engine optimised with your chosen keywords. With a well thought-out SEO strategy, sometimes a little bit of effort can mean a massive change in your rankings. If you are serious about applying an effective SEO strategy to your small or medium business (and you should be), consider the University of Cape Town Search Engine Optimisation short course. The course is presented entirely online throughout South Africa. For more information, visit www.getsmarter.co.za.