SEO for Small Business: Cost, Considerations, and more

Source: Richard Yoshimura is an SEO specialist, search engine optimization forum owner, and so much more. When it comes to SEO for small business, he is one of the top minds in the industry.

In today’s day and age, small business success is based on a variety of factors with an online presence being among the most important.

While many companies understand the importance of search engine optimization, others feel that simply “having a website” is good enough.

With competition on the rise, it is no longer good enough to throw up a website and hope for the best. Instead, you must pay close attention to the competition while spending a considerable amount of time on strategies related to SEO for small business.

There are three problems with this:

  • Most people don’t have any knowledge of small business SEO
  • Even those with knowledge of the industry don’t have the time necessary to implement a well rounded strategy
  • The myth that affordable small business SEO is a thing of the past

Are you holding back due to one or more of these potential problems?

Small Business SEO – Tips from a Pro

If you know anything about search engine optimization it is probably this: nothing stays the same for too long. Just when you think you have a grip on what Google is looking for, their algorithm changes and you are back at square one.

Those who are on the fence, lost and looking for answers, or just hoping for some encouragement should find the following information from Yoshimura helpful:

1. What are the biggest mistakes start-ups make when it comes to SEO?

One of the biggest mistakes start-ups make when it comes to SEO is not thoroughly researching the keywords they target. When determining what keywords you should target for an SEO campaign, the two factors that you need to consider are search volume and conversion rate.

Many companies new to SEO target keywords they intuitively believe are widely searched for, when in fact they are not. If they were to run their target list through any number of research tools widely available on the market today they could easily avoid this costly mistake. Devoting a lot of time and effort into ranking well for keywords that won’t even bring in search traffic is a mistake that needs to be avoided at all cost.

On the other end of the spectrum, many companies new to SEO pick keywords purely based on search volume alone. This is also incorrect as keywords with the largest search volume aside from generally being tough to rank for often may not even convert well for your business. Companies should focus on targeting keywords that will convert for their businesses rather than just overload their websites with traffic.

For example if you are a wedding photographer based in Los Angeles, a keyword like “wedding photography” has a good amount of search volume, but how much will ranking well for that keyword really be worth for your business? It would take a lot of time and money to rank for such a keyword, and people that search for this keyword could range from anyone looking for a wedding photographer, aspiring photographers, or even students doing research for a paper.

Furthermore, if your business has geographic limitations, such broad keywords won’t help you much either. In our example above, if you are a wedding photographer based in Los Angeles, someone who finds your site searching “wedding photography” that lives in New York probably won’t be any value to your business. A better strategy would be to target a keyword like “Los Angeles wedding photographer” that despite the lower search volume, would probably be much better converting for your business as well as yield a higher ROI.

Another mistake companies new to SEO make is not giving the work enough time. SEO is an ongoing process, and depending on what industry you are in, if search engine traffic is your goal you may be possibly looking at a few years before you reach the top of the search results. Just understand SEO takes time, and a general rule of thumb is the more money there is to be made, the longer it will likely take for you to reach the top.

And finally, new companies sometimes rely too heavily on SEO for their businesses. Any good marketing strategy not only includes SEO work, but also promotes via other avenues such as social media, video marketing, email marketing, PPC and even more traditional advertising outlets such as TV and print. Well diversified traffic is the key to long-term success in any business.

2. Is there an easy way to determine how much a company should budget for an SEO firm?

There is no formula or general guideline that exists to determine how much resources a company should devote to an SEO firm.

The only rules that are generally true are the more lucrative the industry (insurance, real estate, finance) the more you will likely pay, and the longer results will take due to the level of competition and budgets these larger firms you are competing against are working with.

I would also recommend sitting down with your SEO firm and drawing up realistic timelines along with costs estimates to see whether or not you can make a good return on your investment. Though these projections won’t be 100% accurate, you can more or less gauge whether or not SEO will be a profitable choice for your business.

3. What would you tell companies who believe that hiring an SEO firm or professional is a waste of money?

I would just tell them to do a simple search of keywords related to their business and see what comes up. More likely than not they will find their competitors websites and see they are investing in building a strong online presence for their business. Millions of people every day use major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing to find products and services they need. If your business website is not showing up at the top for these search results, you can bet there is a good chance one or a few of your competitors are taking away potential business from your company.

Final Thoughts

If nothing else, this advice should help you understand more about SEO for your small business.

By avoiding mistakes, setting a budget, and hiring the right firm, you may find the online side of your business taking a serious step forward.

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