The title of this article is “How Critical Is SEO To Small Business?”, and the answer is: EXTREMELY! How much would you pay a new employee if that new employee increased your business by 15% – 20%?
By now, every smart business owner knows their business must have a website. It’s as critical to your business as having a telephone. Today, a website is the number one business tool which helps you connect with potential new customers, and the place where you keep existing customers engaged and informed. But to receive the full benefit of your website, people must be able to find it.
Search engines are the number one way people find the products and services they need. But their attention span is very short and most people don’t look beyond the first page of search results. This means, even if your business is listed at the top of the second page of the search results, most people will never see your business. So achieving a first page listing in the search results is paramount to your success.
This is why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is so critical. If you apply proper on-page SEO and off-page SEO strategies, you can achieve that elusive first page search ranking. It’s not easy and it’s not a fast process, but it is achievable. In addition, once you get there, you must continue your efforts to stay there.
The Good News
Most small businesses don’t do business across the entire country. Most do business on a local or regional level. The search engines know this and that is why the top three search engines, Google, Yahoo! and Bing, try so hard to return local search results. This gives your business a head start. Achieving a first page search listing for a local or regional search is much less difficult than achieving a national first page search listing.
Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional?
So, do you do it yourself, or should you hire a professional? That all depends on you and your knowledge of SEO standards, your coding and writing ability and how much time you can dedicate to the effort. Search Engine Optimization takes a lot of time and dedication. Additionally, if you implement the wrong SEO practices (known as black-hat) you can end up having your website banned from the search engines.
On the other hand, hiring the right professional who will use proper SEO practices (known as white-hat) and has a track record of success, will allow you to focus on what you do best; running your business.
Cost? The $64,000 question. Larger corporations spend tens of thousands of dollars every month on their SEO marketing efforts. They do this because it works for them. If it didn’t they wouldn’t keep spending this kind of money month in and month out. But the average small business can’t afford a monthly marketing budget in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Fortunately you don’t have to have a five figure marketing budget. There are smaller, reputable SEO marketing firms who can deliver the top SEO results you’re looking for, at a much lower cost to you. The cost to a small business for quality SEO services should be less than the cost of hiring a full-time employee.
Depending on the level of SEO services you require, your monthly SEO marketing spend should be between $600 and $1,500 per month. Here is another way to look at it; would you hire a new employee for $1,500 per month, if that new employee increased your business by 15% – 20%? Most smart business owners would say yes.
Taking the First Step
Before you get started with any search engine optimization efforts you need to know exactly where your website stands. The best place to get this information for free is 123webconnect. They will perform a complete website evaluation including search rankings, keyword density, inbound links, on-page and off-page factors and more; all free of charge.
Once you have received your report, you’ll have all of the information you need to get your website moving in the right direction.