As a small business or startup looking to gain traction, you know you need some internet exposure. But between refilling the coffeemaker, answering support calls, and improving your product, you haven’t figured out where to start.
You want to get more people gabbing (and buying!), but don’t know how.
- Should I hire a PR firm in the hopes that the Wall Street Journal will do a spotlight on us?
- Should I tweet 3x per day with tons of hashtags that are relevant to my audience?
- Should I go to every trade show I can find and set up a booth to sell my stuff?
Cast your wonderings aside and focus on growing your business with SEO. It’s the best way to grow online - no doubts. You’ll get more organic traffic from a relevant audience, more visibility as a brand, and, of course, more people buying your products and services.
It doesn’t matter how small your business is. If you’re a financial consultant in Montgomery, Alabama, you want to come up when people search for “financial consultant Montgomery, AL,” right?
1. People Make 100 Billion Google Searches Each Month
Google sees 100 billion searches each month, which means an average of 3.3 billion searches each day.
…Um. Can you wrap your brain around that many search queries? I can’t!
This is a ton of traffic. Even the tiniest percent would mean a ton of new visitors to your small business’ website.
With this many people using Google to search for a local plumber, a new restaurant to try, or advice on starting a business, you’d be a fool to watch from the sidelines.
Don’t believe you can get this traffic? Well, you can. By creating great content surrounding the term “landing pages,” Unbounce consistently ranks #1 for this query. That means anytime someone searches for “landing pages,” the landing page optimization company comes up first, bringing thousands of visitors into the site.
2. SEO Traffic and Sign ups are (Pretty Much) Free
When you start a sponsored campaign (that means you pay for it) on networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or elsewhere, you’re a slave to your bank account. When the money runs out, so does your exposure.
Fortunately, organic traffic from search results is free. Sure, you have to pay an SEO specialist (or agency) to optimize your site and a writer like me to provide you with content, but these costs are up-front. A great piece of content can drive search results over long periods of time.
For example, Grasshopper, the entrepreneur’s phone system, published a blog post called “The Best States to Form Corporations: A Concise Guide” back in 2010. In 2014 (four years later!), that page still brings thousands of visitors each month to the domain. It’s one of the top pages for Grasshopper.com.
Once your site is running smooth, filled to the brim with informative, readable, and useful content, then the traffic will come pouring in. Those resources can last on your site for a long time, speaking to your target audience long after they’re published.
(That doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax. Google and other search engines are always changing their algorithms. Google LOVES fresh, recent content).
3. You Can Become an Authority via Hyper-targeted Content
One of the best ways to prove your chops is to come across as an authority. If everyone on the web thinks you have the absolute best content for your industry, then they’ll send people to you. Not only will your content speak to these readers, but they’ll trust you. When it’s time to jump in and buy your product, they’ll come calling.
Who’s killing it with this strategy? Birchbox.
Birchbox’s product is a monthly box full of lifestyle and makeup samples, so all their content is hyper-targeted to people interested in beauty. Their blog posts not only talk about the best eyebrow pencils, but also address issues in beauty as a whole, such as how many haircuts women are allowed to have in North Korea.
What’s included in Birchbox’s content strategy?
- Advice on how to use products
- Videos for completing tricky beauty techniques
- Examples of beauty trends from around the world
- Photos and examples of popular products
Because Birchbox’s content comes up when a seller searches “how to use an eyelash curler,” they’ll be inclined to buy from Birchbox when they want to try new products.
If they’re already a Birchbox customer, they’ll trust the company. After all, if Birchbox is able to supply resources that help out beauty gurus, then surely the company knows what it’s doing when it comes to selecting and recommending products.
4. Increasing Customer Engagement and Relationship Building
Think creating content is just for search engines? Think again. The reason that companies put out content (and, in turn, increase visibility in search results) is ultimately to help, entice, and charm their prospective and current customers.
So, by putting out great content, you’re going to build a community of like-minded individuals who are committed to the same things. The best example of this is Runkeeper, a fitness tracking app.
RunKeeper’s Instagram photos, blog articles, and tweets get hundred of comments from those interested in gaining insight on training. RunKeeper’s weekly Twitter chat hosts an open exchange of ideas. When it comes time for these people to buy or recommend a fitness tracking app, they say “RunKeeper is the way to go.”
5. It Lasts a Helluva Lot Longer than an Ad Campaign
Ad campaigns are great for exposing your business to a new audience- I’m not knocking them- but they only last so long. If you promote a tweet, it can suck your money down the drain. It’s the same with Pay-Per-Click ads on Google.
Plus, ads see substantially less clicks than organic results. These results are clicked by a margin of 94 percent. That means a searcher will click a natural result 94% of the time, and an ad only 6 percent. Pretty dismal, right?
All in all, you’re better off dedicating your efforts to SEO than funneling all your money towards ad campaigns.
The More Visibility, The More Clicks, The More Links…
The more visibility you have online, the better your business will do. If you want to grow, you want more clicks and more links. There are a ton of factors that will help you rank at the tippity top of a search result- links from other sites, a fast and responsive site of your own, healthy social media sharing- but it starts with an understanding that SEO is the ticket to growth.
Search isn’t going anywhere, so jump on the train. Grow your business with SEO.