Yes. SEO is worth it for small businesses because of the long-term benefits it can bring. Simply put, SEO is the best long-term growth strategy you can employ in your business. In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits of SEO for small businesses, give you a guide on how much it costs, clarify its importance, and provide you with some quick-fire ways to improve yours today.
Let’s jump in.
WHAT IS SEO?
SEO – or Search Engine Optimisation – is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) on the likes of Google and Bing.
The key to SEO is building content and authority in your chosen area of expertise so that when searchers are looking for the products or services you offer, you appear higher in the list of organic results.
However, if you're asking if SEO is worth it for your small business, then you probably already know what SEO is. But if you want to learn a little more about it, check out this blog. Otherwise, keep reading to learn more about why SEO is important for your small business.
IS SEO IMPORTANT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES?
SEO is important for small businesses because of the long-term benefits it can bring to your business. Although outbound marketing channels such as email and PPC can drive immediate sales results, the leads these sources generate will cease once the outbound activity is paused. Whereas with SEO, the results will continue to flow years after the work is done.
EXAMPLE: We worked with a client who generated 80% of their entire website traffic through one blog that they posted nearly a decade prior!
Although SEO needs a regular and consistent effort, it helps you continuously stay updated with search engines. By optimising your website and content to match customer intent, you will continue to see the results from your SEO strategy years after you invested in it.
This means when you invest in SEO, your business can reach your target audience, attract new customers, boost sales and revenue, and help your business grow. This is especially important in times of recession or economic downturn.
DOES SEO WORK FOR SMALL BUSINESSES?
Like all marketing channels, to drive results, they need to be considered, thought out and most importantly, have a strong strategy behind them.
If for example, you’re a Gas Engineering firm, you want to be ranking for search terms and keywords related to the services you offer. These could be things like "gas engineer near me", or "how to fix a gas leak".
SEO can help you gain visibility in search engines by creating content (and optimising your existing content) to rank for these specific keywords. By producing high-quality content that addresses your customer’s specific pain points, you can drive relevant traffic to your site and open up opportunities to win new customers.
SEO in Action
To use ourselves as a case study, at the time of writing, SEO is the only marketing channel we use. In the first three weeks of January 2024, we've averaged two new leads a week who match our ideal customer profile and have closed one deal already.
Now that might not seem like a lot, but we’ve worked with businesses who are 20 years old and don't produce those numbers.
We've only been doing a small amount of SEO since we launched in May 2023 and it's taken us eight months to see the return. If we'd given up after three months, we wouldn't be where we are now.
Now imagine you're an established business that can invest a lot more into SEO than we can. What kind of numbers could you achieve?
HOW DOES SEO HELP YOUR SMALL BUSINESS?
SEO brings multiple benefits to small businesses. Depending on the industry you operate in, and/or the products and services you offer, SEO can help grow your business by:
Increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by attracting potential customers who are interested in the services you offer
Increases brand awareness and credibility through optimising website content to address your customers’ pain points
Improves user experience by enhancing website performance and in turn providing a great user experience
Improves your digital marketing ROI because it supports your other digital marketing efforts and ensures content is found organically by potential customers
Boosts your business’s long-term success by ensuring your site remains authoritative and visible to potential customers searching online
HOW MUCH DOES SEO COST FOR A SMALL BUSINESS?
There is no fixed answer for this. The cost of SEO comes down to what activity you’re doing and how much of it you’re doing.
Backlink building for example can be a time-consuming process that takes a considerable amount of effort to generate genuine backlinks from other websites. Whereas some Technical SEO improvements could be completed in just an hour or so.
How much SEO will cost is therefore based on the budget you can afford to invest. The more budget you can invest in hiring an SEO consultant or agency, the greater – and quicker – you’ll see results.
But as a rule of thumb, don’t expect to be ranking at the top of page 1 for Google if you can only invest £200 a month in SEO.
For start-ups and small businesses that have little to no organic presence, you'll want to start by optimising your existing website content to rank better for your targeted keywords. In most cases that is likely to be service or product terms.
Additionally, you'll want to be creating new content in the form of blogs and landing pages to capture those all-important keywords you don’t currently rank for.
You’re probably looking anywhere between 2-4 days per month for this depending on the size of your website – if your agency or consultant has a day rate of say £500, you’re potentially looking at £1000-£2000 a month.
SHOULD I INVEST IN SEO FOR MY SMALL BUSINESS?
SEO would be a great investment for your small business if you’re looking for long-term impact and business growth. However, here are a few key pointers to remember before you invest in SEO to ensure you see results.
1. Don't Invest in SEO if You’re Only Looking at Short-Term Results
If you do, you’ll likely experience:
Frustration with the speed of results
Miss out on its long-term potential
Hop from one strategy to the next
SEO results, especially for smaller businesses can take 6 to 12 months to come.
Can they come sooner? Yes, but don't expect it. Plan for the long term and be patient. You're building for the future.
TIP: If you need immediate results, you should look at other forms of marketing instead (or as well as, if you have the budget). Check out our full suite of digital marketing services for some inspiration.
2. Use SEO to Build Your Marketing Foundation
Doing this will create:
Compelling content you can use in other channels - email, PPC, outreach etc.
Credibility and authority in your space
Success for your business in the long term
Increase your marketing ROI
Win new customers and opportunities
When you invest in SEO you're investing in the long-term success of your business. It may not reward you today, but it will tomorrow.
Build your strategy around understanding who your customer is, what their pain points are, and how you can solve them. They will come if you give it time.
3. You Get Out What You Put In
The more time you invest, the greater the result. If your budget is modest, that's fine, just be realistic with your expectations and be prepared to play an even longer game.
If you can afford to put a bit more in, do. You'll get better results, quicker.
TIP: Ensure you have a clear strategy in mind – understand how you compare against your competitors and target search terms you have a chance of ranking for. You won’t be able to compete with the likes of Amazon, so don’t even try. Find your niche and low-competition keywords, create better content than anyone else, and you’ll have a chance.
HOW TO IMPROVE SEO FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
SEO is complex, highly competitive, and difficult to master. Wonder why SEO consultants charge a premium? It’s because they have spent years learning what works and helping their clients succeed in SEO.
But to give you a quick leg up, check out the two resources below that we think will help you instantly improve your SEO performance.
CONCLUSION. IS SEO WORTH IT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES?
The short answer is yes. But you need to consider the level of investment you can make and the results that investment can achieve. It's also worth understanding the value it can bring to your business in the long run, how long you are prepared to wait to see those results, and how it fits into your overall marketing strategy.
Still not sure if SEO is worth it for your small business? Talk to us. SUM Agency are a full-service, digital marketing agency that specialises in helping start-ups and small businesses achieve their goals through affordable and effective marketing strategies.
If you'd like to see how we can help your small business grow through SEO and other digital marketing strategies, book a free, no-obligation consultation with us to find out how.