With the majority of marketing today shifting towards the internet, websites such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have become the 21st century marketplace for many businesses. From the ancient Greek period, marketplaces have seen the larger corporations spent their bigger budgets on having their products and/or services displayed at the more visible points of the marketplace.
It is no different today with the large corporations spending money on ads to have their websites placed on the first pages of search engine websites to give them the advantage over their competitors.
Just have a look at Google, when you search a particular word or phrase on Google, within a second Google will show a list of websites gathered from the internet which are linked to your search.
At the top of the first page of results are the ads. These ads are sponsored Google links (tend to have a small green box beside the text with the word AD within them) which businesses have to pay for (PPC) and can be a very expensive monthly expenditure. As costly as it can be for a business spending money on sponsored links it can also be very rewarding.
If you were to search “iPhones” in Google near 12 billion results will appear, with on average 65% of sponsored links being clicked by Google users when searching a term, those businesses paying for sponsored links for the term “iPhones” are looking at just over seven billion monthly clicks onto their website between them. Which could lead to a pretty good ROI.
If, however you don’t have the capital to spend vast amount of money on sponsored links, you can achieve higher rankings on search engines using SEO strategies (Search Engine Optimisation). These strategies can help your business achieve organic (free) results and tend to appear underneath the sponsored links on the search engine.
So what makes SEO important for medium/small businesses?
With the majority of SEO strategies being free along with the vast amount of daily searches on Google, SEO can lead to free traffic on your website which is practically the same objective for those paying for Google sponsors links on their website.
Traffic though doesn’t always result in the customer staying on your website to purchase a product/service. Research gathered from The Search Engine Journal however illustrates websites using SEO achieve just over 14% conversion rates. Not bad when you haven’t spent any money to increase awareness for your website on Google, Bing etc.
If you offer a niche product/service, SEO can be even more vital for your business. Implementing the right SEO strategies and the correct content within your website (updated at least monthly to keep your content fresh and exciting for users) you may find your business becoming a leading outlet on search engines. Giving you a clear edge over your competitors. Having a high ranking on search engine websites can help you build a better relationship with your target audience and what can that lead to? More conversions.
You may be wondering why would anyone pay for sponsored links or any other methods of improving their rankings on search engine websites if SEO can be as successful without spending money. Well building the correct SEO strategy to achieve results can be time consuming and difficult which leads to a number of small/medium business outsourcing the SEO work to digital marketing agencies.
Also there isn’t a guarantee your website will make the first page on the search engine websites for the keywords you have targeted for in your SEO strategy. Unlike the bigger firms who pay for their website to be placed on the first landing page on search engine websites.
It can easily be seen why SEO is vital for small/medium businesses and even in some cases the bigger firms too, especially with more and more individuals using the internet to shop. According to Forbes between 80-90% of customer research reviews on products/services online prior to purchase. So if your website is one of the first seen on Google for example, some customers may trust your products/services before looking to review your items.
However, to achieving this has become more of a difficult task as many businesses are looking to achieve a spot on the first page of search engine websites, making SEO strategies more difficult to get right. If you have the time to work on SEO strategies or the extra expenditure to outsource your SEO activities, then great you may find yourself gaining more awareness online. If, however you don’t you may find other ways but in today’s marketplace, what is a better alternative to make your stall more visible?