by Kim Deppe
Many business owners are not really sure that search engine optimization (SEO) has any value.
It is often seen as something that works for large corporations, but not for “little guys” that can’t possibly compete. But the truth is, SEO is important for your website regardless of the size of your company.
In fact, for many small businesses, SEO can be the least expensive lever you can use to position your company more prominently and get noticed by your customers.
Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, and all the other search engines drive billions of searchers to websites every month. In fact, there are more than 1.1 billion searches on Google alone each month. In that same month, 350 million people search on Bing, 300 million on Yahoo, 245 million on Ask, 125 million on Aol, and there are plenty of others. If you added up just the Top 10 Search Engines for the month of December 2015, you would see that more than 2.4 billion searches took place.
What do people search for on Google?
Users search for anything and everything you can imagine, from hurricanes to hot movies, trendy makeup, Cecil the Lion and the newest emojis. Oh, and they also search for your products and services.
Studies show that online searches result in both online sales as well as brick and mortar sales. About 64 percent of in-store sales are influenced by digital interactions, according to a recent study on omnichannel retailing. And while e-commerce sales were projected to increase by nearly 14 percent this past holiday season, online sales still only account for 9 percent of all purchases.
How does SEO fit into your marketing plan?
First, be sure that your website is optimized for mobile—both smartphones and tablets. The best way to do this is to have a website that is responsive, which means that it will automatically adjust the pages to fit the user’s device.
It is not just user convenience that makes this important—Google and other search engines value websites that are mobile-friendly so much that they penalize those that are not by dropping them lower in search results.
More than half of all online searches are done on a mobile device, and it is important that your website meets the needs of those customers.
For example, when searching for a new dog on a desktop, you might enter “boxer puppies” or “breeder for boxer puppies” in the search engine. But on a phone, you are likely to be talking out loud, so your search phrase will probably be something like “where is the nearest breeder for boxer dogs” or “find local dog breeders.”
By knowing the questions your customers are asking, and then answering them on your website, you will be creating informative and helpful content. You will thus improve your SEO and become more authoritative in the eyes of customers.
If customers can find the information they need on your website, they are more likely to buy from you—whether they are across the street or across the country.
Kim Deppe is president of Deppe Communications, whose marketing and public relations services for businesses including search engine marketing and SEO. Visit http://deppecommunications.com/ for more information.