The most common mistake business owners make when their business is struggling is to cut their marketing budget. On the contrary, and especially during the COVID 19 crisis, it’s especially important to invest in marketing efforts, and most especially Search Engine Optimization (SEO), to be more visible than your competitors. You can see how cost-effective SEO is in the chart below.
In this chart, you can see that with SEO, you get the biggest return on your marketing investment as compared to ads and social media. It’s one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies there is. Let’s dig deeper.
The Impact of Website SEO Services on Your Business
What is SEO (search engine optimization) and what can it do for your business especially during the pandemic? How does your business benefit from SEO services?
First of all, let us establish a fact: the number of internet users has already reached 4.54 billion as of 2020.
Google alone processes 3.5 Billion searches per day, and understandably so. Lockdown and travel restrictions brought on by Covid-19 have taught more people to search online for products and services they need.
So where does SEO come in? SEO is a digital marketing strategy wherein your business website appears on the first page of search engines (notably Google) when potential customers are trying to find a solution.
It is said that only those websites that land on page one of Google get organic leads. So these cost-effective SEO techniques will help get you the page one search rankings needed to get more customers online.
During the pandemic, searching for information, products, and services online has sharply increased.
What is the impact of this on your business?
3 Case Studies: Massive Growth During the Pandemic
If there is an ultimate acid test of marketing in recent years, it is the COVID-19 crisis.
For those businesses that used SEO services throughout the pandemic, their business grew significantly, and here are a few case studies to prove this:
- A Pool Contractor Increased Organic Traffic by 723% in 2 Months from March to May 2020
This client achieved 723% organic traffic growth on Google during the pandemic. “Organic traffic” means the number of visitors from Google sharply increased. This pool contractor said it was their best year ever!
- A Tattoo Artist in Arizona Increased Organic Traffic by 126% from March to August 2020
This tattoo artist achieved 129% organic traffic growth on Google during the pandemic. This tattoo artist reported that she was booked 2 months ahead, with clients coming even from outside her state!
- A Podiatrist with 307% Organic Traffic Growth from March to August 2020
Despite the travel and business operation restrictions, the organic traffic of this podiatrist’s site grew by 307% during the pandemic
Indeed, good SEO strategies can determine whether a business can climb its way up to visibility or become one of the millions of websites not ranking well on Google. Now more than ever you need effective SEO strategies.
We will discuss in this article the reasons why you should use SEO for your business and some tips to use cost-effective SEO strategies for your own business.
Why is SEO a Cost-Effective Strategy?
Most, if not all, customers instinctively use search engines for just about any query. With almost three-fourths of customers doing research online before making any purchasing decision, it is wise to try to establish your brand at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
A lot of business owners swear on SEO for their success. But what exactly makes SEO cost-effective?
It costs less than ads and PPC.
Pay-per-click is an online marketing strategy where businesses pay a certain fee whenever users click the ads. Small businesses who use Google Ads will pay about $1-$2 per click, which can compound to thousands in months. If your business has the budget, PPC can be an option and will yield quick results.
On the other hand, SEO uses a slower method of building organic traffic to sites. While companies pay for effective SEO services, it is a lot less compared to PPC and tends to decrease over time. On the other hand, PPC campaign costs do not decrease over time and even blow up long-term as the site reaches a larger audience.
SEO yields high-quality leads.
SEO utilizes strategic keyword research to target users who are actively searching for your services or products online. SEO does this by positioning your company before the right leads (who are searching for your products and services by the use of relevant keywords) and influencing their decisions.
SEO ensures that since your website is optimized for specific keywords, the traffic you will likely gain is qualified and are likely to be converted to buyers.
This inbound nature of SEO makes it more cost-effective and less expensive than other traditional outbound marketing strategies like cold-calling.
Current Google search statistics even found that SEO yields much higher conversion rates compared to other conventional marketing leads.
Building links is another effective SEO strategy that helps bring in high-quality traffic to your site (a target page, usually).
With link building, it brings in traffic from another website to yours by having your website mentioned in theirs as links.
Not only does this aid in lead generation, but this vital SEO process also builds your site’s authority and, ultimately, its ranking potential.
In short, SEO makes your site the apple of both Google and your audience’s eyes.
SEO provides a more lasting and steady outcome.
SEO is an investment – it is not a short-time marketing stint that results in quick gains. It requires consistent effort month to month. It might even take months to years to see improvements in search ranking. The good thing with SEO, however, is that it produces results over the long term.
When done diligently and consistently, SEO enables your content to garner traffic for a long time past its publication. Eventually, it will take less effort and maintenance; ergo, fewer expenses shelled out for marketing campaigns, making it more cost-effective.
SEO builds your brand’s image.
Being at the top of search results yields high impressions resulting in greater exposure. In addition, SEO, paired with excellent content marketing, builds the brand’s image by making your brand more prominent in search.
Cost-Effective SEO Strategies
Businesses that do want to utilize SEO may not have the budget to spend on paid SEO strategies. The good thing is, there are several cost-effective options that will work.
You simply need to know which strategies to use to get the most out of the genius that is SEO.
A good digital marketing company utilizes premium SEO tools to improve your search engine rankings. With SEO, the cost of promotion becomes lower as the effect is long-term.
A Good Keyword Strategy
Planning and optimizing your website involves meticulous keyword planning. This is a necessary step in any SEO campaign.
Contrary to popular belief that a website starts with web development, it does not. It starts with SEO first, because you need keyword research to plan even your domain name, down to the products and content of your webpages.
Keyword research does not end there, you need that every month, every week even, to plan your site. For example, let’s say that you have an eCommerce site, but you’re not sure what products you want to sell. Keyword research helps you plan which products to carry, and which topics you’ll discuss on your blog.
A Sitemap for Your Website
Now that you have secured a list of keywords you want to rank for, the next step is to incorporate them into your site.
An SEO company will help you plan the best structure for your website to improve the user experience. This includes planning the pages and the blog posts so that your site gets discovered more than competitors’ websites.
Next, explore relevant keywords related to the primary keywords you want to rank for and place them on the supporting pages. Make these pages focus on subtopics that are, of course, still related to your pillar page.
Structuring and organizing your website makes internal link building easier too. Internal linking is another good SEO strategy that allows you to link your pages together. This increases overall traffic and also keeps your audience stay on-page.
Run a competitor analysis. Using keywords you want to rank for, check your competition on the SERPs. Doing this allows you to reverse engineer the tactics they utilize and incorporate these into your own site.
When you’re running a competitor analysis, think about the answers to the following questions:
- What keywords give your competitors the highest ROI?
- What are their top pages?
- How long are their articles?
- Are they dominating the SERP features? If so, what practice are they utilizing?
- Can you incorporate their strategies into your own site?
Find out their strengths and utilize them. Look out for their weaknesses and make sure that your content covers those.
Know Your Customers
Before you start any SEO process, it is crucial to know who your target audience is.
Create a buyer persona. From the most basic information such as age, location, and gender to more specific information such as their interests, income level, pain points, and buying habits, mapping out relevant details about your audience will narrow down your SEO efforts.
To produce the high-quality content that they need, you must know what they actually need. What are they searching for? Are they looking for general information? Are they willing to buy a product or subscribe but not yet sure which product fits their need? Or are they sold out to buying your product or service but need a little more convincing and prodding?
Your content must meet your customers where they are in their buyer journey. From there, create an engaging piece of content that gives them a good user experience while giving them value and answering their needs. Use tools to look at trends, track what works, and adapt and optimize them accordingly.
Content Planning and Strategy
One of the most important ranking factors is good quality content. Google always wants to serve the best information possible, and careful content planning can lead potential customers to your site. This is one of the core services that a digital marketing company can expertly do.
Content is king. Provide your target audience with relevant and valuable information. Make sure that you include the keywords you want to rank for.
Besides this, optimize your headers, sub-headers, meta description, and alt texts. This is a Google-approved and cost-effective way to ensure that your target audience will be able to notice your website.
In addition to writing valuable content, a proper organization within the site itself ensures that your readers have a good user experience and helps Google’s bots crawl your site and index it appropriately.
Offering valuable content makes your audience stay longer on the site and decreases the bounce rate. Why is this important? Google actually measures it and is a factor for ranking.
How do you generate content consistently to build your authority in your industry? You can do keyword clustering. Create a pillar page where you want to direct all your audience. This one contains the primary keywords you want to rank for.
To build your site’s authority, search engines must be able to see that your content is centered on a specific niche. How do you do this? By consistently creating content focusing on topics that are relevant to your industry.
To make it easier for you, create a content schedule, ideally publishing a piece of content at least once a week, and follow through with it.
Another good strategy is creating evergreen content. That is, a topic that never goes stale and is perennially essential and relevant to your industry is an excellent way to start.
While generating new relevant content is important, your existing content must also be up-to-date. This is especially true for your high-ranking pages.
An SEO service provider will run an analysis on your best-performing pages and do an overhaul. This may include adding fresh, relevant details. If it contains data that is bound to change, like statistics, these must be updated too.
Utilize Schema Markup
Schema markups (structured data) are codes that you place on your website to assist engines in understanding your content and indexing it. This helps them better generate information for users. This allows your content to stand out and dominate the first page and search results features.
Schema markups not only help Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc understand your content better but they also improve click-through rate. How?
Your listing in Google may not be position #1, but with the markup, and with those star reviews appearing, your listing becomes so prominent that it is hard to ignore.
Aside from fresh content, another ranking strategy is through link building which is called off-page optimization. When a website of high authority links back to you, it shows Google that your site is credible and worthy of being mentioned in other websites.
Acquiring links is not an easy process. It requires careful planning because you only want links from high authority and credible websites if you want to get the best SEO results. Links from low authority and non-credible websites such as PBN’s or spam websites will hurt your SEO efforts.
Make Use of Paid SEO Services
There are many factors to be taken into account in SEO, including more than 200 ranking factors. That being said, it is quite difficult to do SEO by yourself. Planning, executing, monitoring, and improving SEO strategy is just too time-consuming.
Another reason to hire an SEO or digital marketing company is that they have access to the latest SEO tools which help in optimizing your website for the best results.
Your best option for SEO success is to hire an SEO expert or an SEO marketing agency. Just make sure they have the results to back them up. Look for professional experts who have years of knowledge, resources, and tools to help you reach your ROI faster.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Is SEO worth it for small businesses?
Yes, SEO is worth it for small businesses so that you can stand out in the industry and locality that you are in, and be able to compete with the big players without needing the large ad budgets that big competitors have.
When should I use SEO?
You should use SEO if you want to build your brand and have a strong, long-term online presence and searchability without having to compete with the ad spend of established competitors. The more that cost is a concern, the more SEO can help your business.
Does SEO really work?
Yes, SEO does work when one uses proper SEO strategies such as keyword and content planning, and competitor analysis. These strategies work because they are based on data and not just assumptions.
How long does SEO take to work?
To get results, It takes an average of 4-6 months for more established sites, or up to one year for new sites playing in highly competitive niches. To help get faster results, a digital company can use paid search and paid ads in social media.
Search engine optimization or SEO should always be in a business’s marketing plan because you will get stable, longer-lasting results over time for the lowest cost. SEO does take time to work, but with proper optimization techniques, you can reach page one on Google and achieve your business goals.
At Digital Delane, we can help you get results like the case studies we mentioned where all businesses grew despite the Covid-19 pandemic. We can help your business grow too – contact us today for a free SEO strategy session with our SEO team!