Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is often thrown around like many other internet marketing buzzwords, leaving business owners confused and wondering why SEO for small businesses is important.  This leaves doubt as to whether a SEO strategy is needed, since other strategies seem to be working or perhaps are easier.  We want to be very clear, any company denying that SEO for small businesses is not critical to their success is doomed to fail long term.  Clear enough?

SEO for Small Businesses Can Make or Break Your Company

A robust SEO strategy is complex requiring patience and understanding, qualities many business owners often shy away from, instead of looking for the quick win.  The entire point behind SEO for small businesses is to increase sales by driving high quality traffic, or sales leads, from internet search engines directly to your website.  Study after study has proven that leads generated from SEO convert at much higher rates than other media channels.  The customers are already looking for the products or services, it is up to the business owner to ensure they are found.

Consider the path of least resistance from a customer’s point of view.  SEO is a type of “pull” marketing rather than “push”, meaning the choice is in the customer’s hands.  This leads to increased intent to purchase or convert, since they pulled the small business’ solutions to them – thus a successful marketing campaign.  In stark contrast, pushing the offer can lead to less than remarkable conversion rates and lost ROI, though the results are instant, leading to a perception of success.

Outside of direct sales and revenue growth, other aspects emerge that add fuel to the SEO fire.  Controlling the conversation improves a small business’ brand performance and reputation.  For example, if a company is the industry leader in making doughnuts, but can’t be found when searching for “making doughnuts,” how would a potential customer know they are the leaders?  More importantly, the top competitor of the doughnut making firm may place higher in the search results, making them seem like the stronger brand in the doughnut making wars.

Small Businesses See Better Brand Awareness from SEO

Brand marketing for small businesses helps potential customers grasp what the company does and stands for, thus important to the overall success of any marketing strategy.  Breaking out of the “needle in a haystack” mentality will keep a small business top of mind.  Over time, a company will become associated to the keywords or phrases where they are strongest in the search results.  This can lead to a positive or negative perception of the brand, meaning control of that message is crucial.

If you are reading this article, you have likely performed thousands of Google searches in recent months.  Did you find what you were looking for every time?  There was also likely a time you became frustrated when you couldn’t locate what you needed on the first or second try.  How many times did you give up the search and locate an alternate solution?  Now, look at this from the point of view of a small business.  If a customer is not able to locate you, even by name, how can a trust and credibility be built when the competitors are already out there?  Now the picture is beginning to unfold as to why SEO for small businesses is so important.

Make the Investment of Time and Resources

A sound SEO strategy is one of the cornerstones of a sustainable marketing campaign.  While the results may not be instantaneous, the value is long lasting.  Regardless of how new and shiny a small business’ website may be, it is only useful if people can find it.  By allocating an appropriate amount of time, energy and resources, the small business’ SEO campaign will generate sustainable revenue results with a high ROI.  In many cases, truly partnering with an SEO firm or the internal marketing team will lead to the best results.