Small business SEO is a term that describes a set of tasks that ‘help’ a website owned by a small business to rank higher in search engines such as Google.
If you ask any small business owner about SEO they will likely respond with something like:
“I don’t understand what it is, it’s all a bit technical”
“It’s way too expensive for me”
“It’s a complete waste of time, I paid an SEO company and got no sales”
Before you dismiss SEO or even take out that cheap SEO package that the guy next door recommends, let me waffle on about small business SEO for a bit, you might find it useful.
Every small business should learn the SEO basics
If you have ever had a brainstorming session with me or attended one of my workshops then you will know I am passionate about small business and helping new start-ups get to grips with internet marketing. One of the things that I emphasis is the need for small businesses to gain as much knowledge as they can about marketing, even if they plan to outsource it all to a marketing company. Why? Because knowledge is everything and unless you understand something how do you know what you are paying for?
It’s very easy to throw money at an SEO company but most of the time you’re throwing money at a false promise. Not all SEO companies are out to take your money and not deliver, a good SEO company will take the time to get to know your business, however, there are lots that are great sales people but lack knowledge and cut corners that lead to heartbreak for your marketing campaign.
By taking the time to know what SEO really is you will be able to pick the right person to do your SEO. If you put your website in the hands of someone inexperienced and unaware of Google’s ever changing search engine optimisation guidelines I guarantee you will be throwing money away and ruining all chances of any positive SEO in the future. By gaining knowledge you can remain in control and monitor exactly what your SEO company is doing.
How do you know if SEO is right for your small business?
If you’ve ever contacted me about SEO then you will be forgiven for assuming I tried to talk you out of it. I make a living out of providing internet marketing and yes one of the services I offer is SEO but that doesn’t mean I’m happy to take your money unless you 100% know the basics of what it’s about, the return you will get and most importantly what I will do with your website. I spend my spare time constantly retraining myself, testing and testing some more, I love to share my knowledge and nothing gives me more pleasure than working with clients that are eager to learn.
If you’d rather stick with impartial internet marketing advice then spend time visiting forums where small business owners like you have tried SEO and unfortunately been stung, these people are only too happy to pass on what they have learnt from their experiences.
What about cheap SEO packages?
As with everything you DO get what you pay for. SEO is no different, good SEO involves lots of very time consuming research and tasks. If a company is offering cheap SEO services then they are cutting corners and this will only lead to penalties like this one http://www.seroundtable.com/google-penguin-update-15069.html.
The bottom line is, good SEO will cost you money but there are ways you can ensure a good cash flow to help finance it. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Platforms such as facebook and twitter can generate immediate enquiries. When doing SEO you should always run other internet marketing along side, this will keep a good cash flow going whilst SEO is being done.
Ok I’m nearly done, let me round things up for you.
Make sure you have a knowledge stream.
Your SEO consultant should always be willing to speak with you on a one to one level. During these sessions you should ask what’s being done and what extra tasks you could do personally that will help. Use this time to combine the knowledge you gained before starting SEO to check that they are keeping to the pre planned agreements and more importantly filling you in on new developments.
SEO changed dramatically in 2012, diversifying search engine optimisation tasks was a big issue that website owners and SEO companies failed to implement. If your budget is small and your SEO Company cannot do a variation of internet marketing tasks for you then you should learn to do them yourself. Things like, facebook, twitter and blogging are now considered vital aspects of SEO.
Always remember that NOBODY!!!! Can ever guarantee to get you to the top of search engines. Google do not work with SEO companies so if you get a call from a sales person who says they are a Google partner, ask them exactly what that means!
If you see an SEO package that looks fantastic then congratulate the writer who wrote the sales pitch, keep the page bookmarked and go and do your own research. Once you’ve spent time (have patience on this one) contact the company directly and fire some questions at them. Don’t ever feel pressured, a good internet marketing company will only be too happy to answer any questions you have.
I can write a whole book on choosing the right keywords, this is where most small business SEO fails. Have you ever seen those SEO offers that declare they will refund all of your money if you don’t reach page 1 for at least one of your keywords? Well they will never have to refund because they will get you ranking for keywords that have little competition, nobody wants to rank for and more importantly nobody will ever search for!
Small business owners work hard, are dedicated and often have little spare time. Whatever you do, please make the time to find out about what SEO really is and what it involves.