Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has come under fire recently, with many people asking is SEO worth it for small businesses.
Back in the day, SEO for small businesses was easy. You’d throw up a few keywords on your service or product pages, maybe start a blog, and within time you’d notice your position rise in search engine results.
The problem now is that SEO is a lot harder.
That means that doing your own SEO has become even more time-consuming, or if you decide to outsource your SEO, it’s become a lot more expensive.
This begs the question, is SEO worth it for your small business?
Let’s start at the very beginning.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. This means optimising your website’s pages so search engines can crawl them, assess what your content is about and decide whether they should share your content in their search engine results pages (SERPs).
Not to be confused with PPC (pay-per-click) ads on Google, SEO is all about targeting organic search results, which typically hold more authority with search engine users.
Providing they have been well built and follow best practices, most websites that have been around for more than a few months will have a certain amount of natural SEO. This means that you can be easily found by Googling your website’s name or maybe even a product or service if you’re lucky.
Search engine optimisation is about taking this one step further and actively pursuing higher positions on search engines, like Google, to increase website traffic and hopefully leads or sales for your business.
How can SEO benefit your business?
SEO can benefit your business by increasing the number of visitors to your website. Provided there is a market need for your product or service and your website is well-designed for converting visitors to customers, increasing website traffic should mean increased sales for your business.
Of course, there’s a little more to it than that. Most importantly that you need to consider search intent when carrying out keyword research and choosing which pages to optimise for what terms. If you can find low-competition keywords with commercial or transactional buyer intent, and successfully rank in the top position for those keywords, you’ve hit the sweet spot.
The more keywords you target and succeed in ranking for, the more free traffic you’ll receive from Google.
Many businesses rely 100% on SEO for their digital marketing efforts. Of course, nowadays, you should also be utilising social media, e-mail marketing and a whole range of other content marketing strategies to promote your business, but cracking Google’s SERPs for the right selection of keywords can mean you don’t need to spend as much time on fast-paced marketing tactics like social media.
That sounds pretty dreamy, right?
How long does SEO take?
Now that I’ve sold you on the dream of SEO, I’m going to bring you down to planet earth for a sec.
SEO takes a long time. It’s considered a “long game” in the digital marketing world, with results taking anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the industry you’re in.
This is because Google values authoritative websites, and a new website doesn’t hold much authority, so it takes time for you to build that trust with search engines. After all, if they’re going to show your website in their search results, they need to be sure your page will meet the needs of their users!
You also need to consider how much time each month you will need to spend on SEO.
As I mentioned earlier, gone are the days of optimising your main pages and calling it a day. Nowadays, SEO means starting, maintaining and regularly updating your business blog and further optimising your main pages.
In short, it’s a lot of regular work, which is why monthly SEO packages are the most popular SEO service available for the best results.
How much does SEO cost?
The cost of SEO varies depending on the size of the agency you work with and the services they provide. You can typically expect to spend anywhere from £500 per month to £2,500 per month depending on the level of SEO you need. This varies depending on your industry, competition and expectations. For example, if you’re in a highly competitive industry and want to see results within the first 12 months, you’ll need a high-level content strategy which may require a team of writers to implement and a lot of advanced SEO techniques. That’s not cheap!
If you’re looking for some local SEO, you may find a small SEO retainer for 3-6 months gives you the boost you need.
Alternatively, if you’re thinking of going down the DIY route, you may find one-off SEO audit services helpful for guiding you in the right direction with your strategy.
Is SEO worth it for small businesses?
Despite the rise in competition on SERPs, yes, SEO is still worth it for small businesses. A strong presence on Google is essential for creating brand awareness and trust, as well as getting your products or services in front of your target audience.
When done right, SEO has a much higher ROI than other search engine marketing tactics, like Google Ads. It increases your online visibility, helps you to sell products and increases your pool of potential customers.
If you’re ready for SEO to explode your business and want to get it right first time around, check out my monthly SEO packages to find the best one to suit your budget and needs.