Should you pay for Search Engine Optimisation?
Search Engine optimisation (SEO) is often promoted as a key part of any digital marketing strategy. As a Virtual Marketing Director service, we get lots of enquiries from SEO companies asking us to re-sell their services. For the right businesses, SEO can deliver a great return on investment, but it isn’t right for everyone. That saying, you need to ensure you are doing the basics right, so that people can find you, even if they are using your company name because they became aware of you in some other way. Here are 7 small business SEO tips to get you started, before considering whether to invest in SEO…
What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation is defined by SEMrush as “SEO is the art and science of persuading search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, to recommend your content to their users as the best solution to their problem.
It is about getting your web content in front of potential clients so that they engage and consider using your small business as a solution provider.
Where do your leads come from?
Before you even consider asking “should I pay for SEO”, you need to be able to say where your leads are currently coming from. If you cannot, there is a good chance you are wasting at least some of your marketing budget anyway. If you don’t know where your leads are coming from, how are you going to measure the performance of any SEO you get done?
Have you got the SEO basics right anyway?
There is a lot of on-site SEO you can easily do for yourself and that can quickly improve your search engine performance, with the only investment being some of your time. Have you:
- Added meta descriptions to every page?
- Ensured your images have alt-tags, so the search engines know what they are of?
- Fixed any broken links on your website, so you aren’t penalised by the search engines?
- Added internal and external links to relevant content within your site and on others, improving the user experience?
- Written enough content on the pages, so the search engines consider that page worthy?
None of these are difficult. Investing some time into these can pay dividends? If you would like to know just how much there is to do on your site, we can tell you. We’ll do a free audit, so you can get the SEO basics right.
Is your Google My Business account set up right?
When someone searches on your company name, you want them to see not only your website, but also your Google listing. Google My Business not only helps you improve your local SEO performance, but it also gives people the ability to provide independent reviews on how your business performs. You can comment on what they say, but you cannot alter it, so other people really trust the rating you get from this.
What other local directories are you in?
If you sell locally, you should be in as many local online directories as you can. The more places you can be found, the better. Plus, all of these provide valuable inbound links to your website, improving your SEO performance.
Are you in a highly competitive market?
Entering a highly competitive market isn’t easy, especially if you want to rely on SEO to get found. SEMrush stats show, for example “IT support” has 12,100 searches a month and have 16.9 billion search results. “Marquee hire” has 14,800 UK searches a month and whilst “small business marketing” has only 720 searches a month, the keyword difficulty score of 77 suggests it would be a hard search term to rank well for. SME Needs currently ranks on page 6 for “small business marketing”, but at No.1 for “small business marketing support” – just in case you were curious!!
Making use of and SEO ranking tool, such as SEMrush and Google’s Search Console, can help you find the right keywords and the difficulty you face in getting traffic from those keywords.
Do you have the budget available?
SEO is, perhaps above all, time-consuming. That time has to be paid for, so if you have limited budgets, SEO is probably not the right marketing tool for your business. If you aren’t spending at least £500 a month on SEO, with a plan of what you want from that spend, don’t do it. Spend your money on other channels that are far more likely to generate a return on investment.
Are you getting a great marketing ROI at the moment?
If you know where your leads are coming from, you should have a good idea of the marketing ROI from each channel. If you don’t this tool will help you.
If you are getting a great ROI from your current marketing channels, why are you thinking about SEO? Until your marketing ROI starts to decrease, it is our definite recommendation that you simply spend more on what is working for you. By doing this, whilst, keeping an eye on that ROI, you will continue to grow your pipeline and grow your business. At the point the ROI starts to dip, then it is time to consider other marketing channels.
 Correct as of 25/6/2021