John Swanciger, CEO at Manta explains how SEO isn’t fast or easy, but it’s key tool for small businesses looking to expand their footprints. With the right tools and mindset, small businesses can use SEO to generate leads and sales by improving their website’s visibility in Google search results

While many small business owners are familiar with the term SEO, or search engine optimization, it remains an underutilized tool for generating leads and sales. The cost and time necessary to implement a new marketing strategy are no doubt two of the biggest factors hindering small business owners. But if you can find the time and money, SEO is an effective and easy way for small business owners to enhance brand awareness and increase lead generation. With “Google Search” so heavily ingrained in consumers’ buying habits, SEO is more crucial than ever for businesses to capture that priceless digital real estate in a Google search result.

SEO puts you (literally) above the competition in search results. And isn’t the goal to drum up more business in the most cost-effective and time-efficient way possible? So how can small business owners take advantage of these benefits? Let’s start with the basics.

SEO 101

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Though it sounds like a complicated digital term, it’s really just a way of using innovative marketing techniques to attract customers online. Instead of one TV commercial that only lasts 30 seconds, SEO consistently enhances your online presence to encourage visits to your website and grow your customer base organically.

The way consumers purchase products and services is changing. People regularly conduct their own research before deciding what to buy and where to buy it, meaning you need to get your business’ name in front of them well before they walk in your store or visit your website. With much of this research taking place on Google, it’s obvious that ranking higher than your competitors is a huge advantage for brand visibility.

With that in mind, here are a few quick tips to consider when implementing an SEO program for your business:

Embrace keywords

Keywords are the terms consumers associate with your brand and what they use to search for it online. To incorporate the right keywords into your website copy, you must first figure out what those words or phrases are. Free tools like Google Keyword Planner and Keyword Tool can help you identify keywords that consumers might use to search for your small business. Once you know the right words, build a portfolio of content (like blogs, ebooks, and case studies) using those keywords throughout. This keyword-rich content will boost your search ranking for those terms, drive traffic to your website and increase leads.

Craft action-inducing content

When building out your keyword-rich content, include action-inducing copy to drive consumers to read more, buy a product, purchase your services or just visit your site again in the future. Each page’s call-to-action should encourage visitors to stay on the site longer, fill out a form to become a lead or, best of all, make a purchase. Remember that consumers retain information in different ways. It’s important to offer content on a variety of channels, including webinars, product pages, social media, and blogs, to diversify your customer reach. All the material you produce will help your site earn organic traffic and boost your ratings on a Google search.

Keep user experience top of mind

User experience (UX) is everything when it comes to creating an effective website and getting consumers to those call-to-action items. Though you may view your website as a tool to inform customers about products and services, customers view your website as a product in and of itself. The navigation system, the search function, graphic design, and overall feel of your website all factor into the customer’s overall perception of your small business. For SEO, effective UX serves as an indirect but measurable metric of a site’s external popularity, which Google can then interpret as a signal of higher quality thus, increase your site’s ranking.

By capitalizing on the innovative digital marketing techniques available today, you’ll be better positioned to capture new business and enhance current customers’ experiences on your website. If you haven’t tried SEO yet, talk to a small business marketing specialist and see if you can better utilize this tool to grow your business.

On – 03 Apr, 2017. By John Swanciger.

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