Small business owners usually get to hear a common piece of advice, that they learn about search engine optimization (SEO) and use that knowledge to develop a digital marketing strategy for their business. That advice is based on a simple and undeniable truth – that most people today use the internet to look for goods and services they need. That search might be done using computers or laptops, or on smartphones.
The first thing that a small business owner needs is a website, but for that to start showing up on the top of search engine results pages, a lot of effort is needed. Most small business owners do take this first step of building their website either by themselves, or by using a readymade template or even by outsourcing the work to an agency. But then the results do not show up immediately. It turns out that the site hadn’t been optimized enough to ensure that it hit the top of the rankings on search pages, and therefore, not much traffic came to the website. Although the small business owner does understand that, yet the SEO domain seems much too complicated to him, and he gets the feeling that even with all the effort, it is not guaranteed that good results would come. There are several reasons why SEO makes new users wary at first and what can be done for it.
SEO is for geeks
Many small business owners get apprehensive about the fact that they might not be able to properly understand SEO and implement it in their organization’s website. But in reality, there are many aspects of SEO that either do not require too much of technical knowledge or can be easily learnt. In case the work of SEO has been entrusted to an agency, then a number of questions need to be asked so that things become clear to the business owner.
Many websites suffer from the ‘window shopping’ syndrome, where they get lots of curious visitors and users on their websites, but those visitors hardly carry out any transactions on the website, which defeats the very purpose it was created for. The reason for this is that the keywords used in the website are attracting traffic in large numbers but they are attracting the wrong kind of traffic. For example, if a website dedicated to selling Manchester United merchandise attracts supporters of Chelsea, then those supporters would surely look at the website and navigate the pages, but they wouldn’t buy too many things. The solution is to select the correct set of keywords which would attract the right kind of visitors to the website.
Take Off the Black Hat
For years, SEO has been misused by unscrupulous agencies who found ways to cheat the system and show temporary spikes in website traffic. But with the large number of algorithms now being employed by search engines to rank their searches, most good SEO agencies are using authentic strategies to improve organic traffic to their website. So a small business owner needn’t be wary of unfair tactics being used on his website now.
Penalty From Google
Till a decade or so ago, the biggest search engine Google used to only award less ranking points for sub optimal or unfair SEO practices, but afterwards they introduced penalties for such practices. That’s the reason why many small business owners get confused when some SEO strategies they were told about turn out to be punishment-attracting strategies. To avoid this, business owners must avoid strategies which sound too simple and too good to be true, because they would be likely to have some element of unfairness in them, and instead focus on improving the visitor’s experience on the website (which incidentally also helps improve ranking).
No Magic Wand
Many small business owners starting off SEO on their websites mistakenly think that SEO implementation will immediately make their business profits zoom, but in reality it doesn’t happen that way. Let us take an example. Say a website is selling footwear. Good SEO practices on the website would put the website on top of the search results, and that could drive a few visitors to the website. But after that, other things come into play. The shoes need to have great design, they should be competitively priced and they should be easy to order and ship. Also, the visitor coming to the website might not plan to buy the footwear immediately but might have come there just to have a look. Due to any of these reasons, the visitor to the website might not actually provide a sale, and the website needs to keep itself relevant so that it continues to figure on the search rankings. SEO can’t be considered as a magic wand which would give results in just one attempt.
The Era Of Mobile
SEO might make a website attractive to search engines and therefore to visitors, but it would be of no use if the website is not designed in a way that makes it friendly to mobile phones. More than 70% of visitors to websites access those websites using their smartphones, and even if a website has great SEO but doesn’t load easily and clearly on mobile phones, then the SEO would be of no use.
Content Is King
Small Business Owners need to remember that after all the points mentioned above are taken care of, the website might still not get awesome traction. The reason is that the basic rule still remains unchanged – a visitor would come to your website only if it can provide a solution to a problem he is facing, or if it can add some value to him in terms of knowledge, skills, advice etc. So apart from adopting best practices for SEO, a website owner also needs to remember that the website should continue to be relevant and useful. In the example cited above, if the photographs of the shoes on the website are not clear, or certain FAQs about featured shoes are not answered, then the best SEO can’t add value to the website.