SEO has always had a weird position in the world of marketing, some arguing that it’s not so much traditional marketing but more of a process that replicates marketing results.
This may have been true 5-10 years ago when most SEO was based on manipulative techniques, fooling Google into trusting a website.
But as Google and other search engines have updated their algorithms to become smarter and less susceptible to manipulation, SEO has been forced to evolve into a marketing tool that uses traditional marketing techniques at its core.
With the new wave of SEO being headed by content marketing, it’s now more about building a real brand online rather than just another website. This forces businesses to start creating content and communicating their expertise and brand messaging through expertly created content.
And in the modern-day, that’s what really matters to consumers…
SEO in the Small Business Marketing Mix
The marketing mix has always looked different for every business, with some seeing a lot more success with heavily offline activities like networking, while others see great success using paid online advertising.
However, as the world changes and we as consumers turn our focus to digital devices for every part of our lives, the reliance we place on search engines is becoming more and more.
Even while most people may not even realize they’re using a search engine, like when speaking to Siri on their iPhone, they are. Google is used across multiple different software, apps, and devices.
In the past consumers would ask a friend if they could refer them a good plumber, then they’d blindly use their services regardless of anyone else’s experience with them. As with everything things have changed now.
That same person would now start their search for a plumber online, and more than likely on Google. Filtering through the first page of results to find a plumber who’s website and position on Google make them seem credible.
Even if this consumer has been referred a plumber by their friend, the likelihood is that they’ll then search for that plumber on Google to check their reviews and verify that they’re a professional.
This is why now more than ever, businesses need to be including SEO as a part of their marketing mix or risk getting left behind by their competition.
How can a Small Business Fit SEO into their Mix?
The topic of how to do SEO is covered in millions of articles elsewhere online so I won’t delve into that here. Instead, I’d like to explore the ways in which a small-medium sized business could approach SEO for their website in the most cost-effective and ROI positive manner.
There are plenty of services, freelancers, packages, and software are available that a small business could pick up to do SEO. However, from experience (and a slightly biased standpoint) there are only two effective ways to do SEO. As explained below:
Doing SEO used to be harder back before it was classed as a marketing activity and there were less in-house marketing teams who had the first clue about doing SEO.
With the switch in SEO emphasis that I mentioned earlier on, more and more marketing professionals are able to do some SEO activities using their existing knowledge of branding and newer content marketing.
That’s not to say that your internal marketing team/employee can deliver a complete SEO solution, but it’s a great starting point that can save you money. Also as with anything, by working within your organization it becomes easier to keep the brand message and strategy consistent.
In-house teams are regularly also supplemented by SEO agencies, providing consultation, training, or technical SEO support. This leads me to the second SEO solution for small-medium businesses.
Even as an agency owner, it still feels a bit dirty to say the phrase ‘SEO agency.
Mostly because the usual reception to that sort of introduction is met by people rolling their eyes, or completely blanking over due to being previously burnt by so-called ‘SEO agencies’.
I could spend days rambling about why these people are burnt and why they should have never hired their agency but I’ll stick to the brief which is how hiring a professional agency is one of the most effective ways to do SEO as a small business.
SEO professionals are not cheap. If they are then they’re likely not even worth spending money with.
Full-service agencies with a good reputation, like Brick Digital & ALVI Web Tech, should act as an outsourced branch of your business who handles your SEO at an expert level. This involves a lot of heavy lifting, content creation, content distribution and relationship building on your company’s behalf.
But when it comes to results, it’s like anything, if you hire the professionals then you’ll get a professional job. The same applies to hire an SEO agency.
If I didn’t emphasize the point enough in this article I just wanted to make it clear that for nearly all small to medium-sized businesses, a properly optimized website, and online presence is no longer an option. It’s a necessity.
If your business is not appearing on the first page of Google when your potential customers are looking for you then you’ll lose 75% of those searchers, as this is the number who never go past the first page.
Lorenzo Luiso is the founder of Brick Digital, a digital marketing agency that specializes in building brands online presences through SEO, PPC, and content marketing. With an extensive history in online business, and an innovative approach to internet marketing Lorenzo shares his thoughts, tactics, and advice online through his SEO Agency site here.