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Is an investment in SEO worth it for small businesses?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, are techniques that are used to get your website to rank up as high as possible on Google – like creating lots of relevant content, creating backlinks, social signals etc. As we have discussed in a previous post, if you are not on page one of Google, the likelihood of someone finding your website becomes almost negligible.

The reason why you want to rank high in search engines is that it means you get traffic without having to pay for it directly. Paying via adverts to get your site on the front page of Google can cost anything from R5 to R300+ for each click. A click that naturally appears high up, known as organic ranking, costs you nothing.

So if you have a website, at a bare minimum, you want someone who types in your company name for it to come up without having to pay for it. But this is relatively easy, unless you have a very common trading name.

More challenging is to get your website to rank high organically for words or phrases that relate to your business or products you sell. So, for example, if someone types in ‘racing bicycles’ and you are a cycle shop, you want to have your website showing up near the top of Google.

The reality is that this is easier said than done, and will require a lot of investment in time (and possibly money).

The way Google order their pages is a well-kept secret, and they change it often. But Google will naturally favour the sites that have already built up a lot of traffic, which tends to benefit bigger businesses and those sites that have been around a long time with lots of content on them. So unless you have such a niche business that you are one of the few selling that product or service, you are going to have to work hard and consistently to build your website ranking.

How important is having your website found to your business?

So, as a small business, the first question you need to ask yourself if your website is important to your business. It may be if:
– You sell online
– People research the products you sell before choosing where to buy
– Your brand is not well known and people may not think to look for you

If it’s not important, then investing in SEO will be a waste of time and money. And even if it is important, you may not have the resources to get your site to rank high enough across all the products you sell anyway. This will, unfortunately, be the case for most small businesses.

But this is not the end of the word. There are other ways to create awareness for your business and website other than through SEO, even if it means you have to pay a bit for that website traffic.

Click here for a free, no-obligation digital media proposal for your local business.

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