Friends, welcome to post #2 in our series on SEO essentials! We’re going back to basics with this series to cover everything you need to know about SEO. Post #1 in this series was all about defining SEO, so if you haven’t read that yet, head over there and take a look.
Today I’m talking about why SEO is so essential to your business and why you should be investing in it.
I know what you’re thinking:
“But Meg…I don’t need to do SEO…all my business comes from referrals and frankly having a beautiful website. I don’t need more business, so why should I bother with SEO?
If this is you, then HUGE claps! We are so proud of you! This is a WONDERFUL thing. Referrals show that you’ve created/done something amazing for your client and that you’ve built trust and a true relationship with them. You are doing so many things right if you get lots of referrals.
But consider this:
Let’s say you’re a photographer. From referrals alone, your slots for wedding and lifestyle photography book up in advance and you’re booked almost at capacity, or even turning down business.
You might be thinking that it seems impossible to add more business.
Adding more clients may not be possible for you, but raising your prices is. In fact, if you’re booking up in advance and/or you’re at capacity you should raise your prices. Your services are in demand and even if you drop your number of bookings, you’ll likely still come out ahead from working less and making more.
When you have good SEO on top of a referral base, you’ll be nearly unstoppable. If you aren’t maximizing your SEO potential, you’re leaving money on the table and limiting your growth.
1. It’s Cost Effective and You Don’t Have to Hustle So Much
With a new or growing business, you have two main options for getting your voice heard: ‘earned’ attention or attention you purchase. Earned attention includes things like SEO and advertising. It’s called earned because you get it by merit, and you don’t pay for it (you may pay for someone to help you with it, but everything you get from it will be 100% F-R-E-E.) Marketing is something you pay for, like Facebook ads.
With SEO you get to keep the hard work you put into it. You’ll always have your blog posts, your images and meta tags will always be optimized, guest posts, social shares and all of the quality links will continue to earn site authority.
With most other advertising, you lose it as soon as you stop paying for it. There’s certainly a place and good uses for paid ads – like a product launch. We just want for you to not forget about growing your reach organically. For a deeper look into the differences between paid advertising and organic SEO, check out this article by Jeff Bullas.
2. People are Looking for you!
Recently I was trying to find landscape architects in my area. I really wanted to hire one. But I didn’t, even though I was actively looking and willing to pay someone for this kind of service.
Why? Because I couldn’t find a good one! I know these companies are in my city! I see gorgeous landscaping all over, but I just can’t find them when I’m searching. I so wish I could help them with their SEO.
Does this make you cringe? It should. People are trying to find exactly what you offer and aren’t finding it. Master a little bit of SEO, get yourself found on Google, and get new customers. It will happen.
3. People Trust Search Engines
According to Vendasta, 88% of buyers will Google their purchase before they buy – even if they end up conducting the sale at a store and not online.
I found a number of amazing stats on online reviews and their importance, here are a few of my favorites.
92% of consumers now read online reviews vs. 88% in 2014
40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just one to three reviews vs. 29% in 2014
Star rating is the number one factor used by consumers to judge a business
44% say a review must be written within one month to be relevant. This highlights the importance of recency in reviews!
More consumers are interested in “good value” than before, while less are concerned about the “expertise” of a business
On average, a consumer will look at over 10 information sources before making a purchase
88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decision
Over half of young people aged 18 to 34 say they trust online reviews more than the opinions of friends and family
Reviews produce an average of 18% uplift in sales
86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews
4. Your competitors are doing it.
SEO is a competitive game, and while this might sound like a total antithesis of the ideal “Community over Competition” philosophy, imagine this:
Your business has a brick-and-mortar shop, and you’re in a high-end shopping center with lots of other lovely shops. You’re friends with the other shop owners, and while you all have your own style of products, there is some overlap. That is what attracts shoppers!
Can you imagine for a second not putting up a sign or window display for your shop? Of course not! This would be one of the first things you’d do.
Because you want customers to be able to find your shop and because other shops are doing it! SEO is just the digital version hanging your chic sign outside and propping your door open. It lets people know you’re there when they are already looking for you.
5. It works!
Like we’ve said before, there are no guarantees in SEO. I can’t promise a ranking position in a specific time, ever.
However, I do know that SEO strategies work. With hard work, research, and consistency, you can carve out a niche for yourself, build trust and a strong reputation with your audience, and gain rankings with SEO and in the end sell more products, earn more money and make a greater difference — isn’t that what this is all about?
Do you know where you stand with SEO?
At Clapping Dog Media, we thrive on working with businesses who have something important to say. We help you say it louder and to more people. SEO is like a megaphone, it amplifies your voice.
Do you need help getting your voice heard by more people?
Let Clapping Dog Media get a SEO plan into place, so all of your blog posts and content are heard a bit louder on the internet.
Are you curious about where you stand with SEO? We do a deep-dive into your site, and it’s often surprising what keywords are associated with your site.