Since the beginning of commerce, marketing has been a major part of growing a business. Like anything else, these methods have evolved over time. From low-balling the competition to paying for TV and radio ads to a new digital world where everything is at the fingertips of your customer, those who haven’t found ways to adapt have gone the way of the world.
In the present climate of digital marketing, many companies are paying up to tens of thousands of dollars in ads on search engines just to get their name at the top of search results. However, the small businesses that are thriving and outdoing their much larger competitors are doing it on a budget. These small businesses are using SEO techniques to gain a strong foothold in results.
In an age where a small business can serve a customer more than 1,000 miles away from its headquarters, SEO has become a staple in targeting specific geographic areas a business wants to attract customers. Those who have come to understand this technique are gaining steam over their competition who continue to spend on traditional advertising and paid ads.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a process companies use on their websites to create an environment on their website to improve visibility online. While most SEO tactics are utilized within the company’s website itself, other efforts are done to help drive traffic to the website from outside sources like social media and other websites.
Digital marketing experts at Detroit Digital Marketing say, “Local SEO is unlike other internet marketing strategies because it targets a narrower market. Rather than ranking for a word in general, you are aiming to reach people in a certain area.”
With targeted local SEO campaigns, small businesses are able to use search terms they deem the most necessary to their customers’ search habits to drive traffic to their websites. However, applying SEO techniques to a website is still one of the worst-kept secrets of the marketing world, yet many businesses continue to go without.
“SEO is a long-term initiative that can take months to bear fruit,” Mat Satell of Mechanism said in a news release from The Manifest. “Companies often decide to prioritize other quick-win acquisition channels.”
Indeed, it has been understood that SEO is a long-term initiative that can take a considerable amount of time to see positive results. Although, those who have been patient with the process in growing their SEO results are those who have also found much long-term success and sustainable growth.
In an effort to create lasting SEO campaigns, many businesses reach out to digital marketing agencies to either teach them how SEO works or to have the work done for them. While there are many agencies available that have advanced industry knowledge, some small businesses continue to spend their budget and more on marketing services.
While businesses that are making an effort to save money by using SEO, they continue to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars each month to have an agency providing services for them. Meanwhile, those who have been performing SEO in-house continue to have a leg up over the competition by saving on marketing costs.
Conversely, those who call on the services of marketing agencies do have an advantage over those who don’t. Search engines are continually trying to improve the user experience with efforts dedicated to personalizing search results. This leads to algorithm updates that require changes in SEO tactics. In order to stay competitive, marketing agencies much remain current or get left behind.
Given the current state of the world with the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses have had to scale back their overall spending in order to keep their doors open. According to WordStream, Google search ad clicks took a sharp drop in the US in March 2020. This is directly related to a decline in overall consumer activity and budgets cut from an inability to fund ad spend. Meanwhile, businesses that had an SEO plan in place, thrived without having an extensive digital marketing budget.
Despite the speculation of many in the digital marketing world, SEO is here to stay. It is, however, changing. While big-budget businesses continue to fight overpaid ad space at the top and bottom of search results pages, the majority of companies will continue to jockey for position on the rest of the page as they directly target their customers. Google, Bing, and other search engines continue to change their algorithms to improve user experience, which requires businesses to change their approach.
Even with the pandemic that continues to have parts of the world on hold, small businesses continue to see business boost by implementing SEO techniques across their websites. This has given many a second chance at life by continually making their brand name available to online customers. Those who continue to learn how to adapt to the digital landscape will likely be the ones standing at the end of the day.