SEO is critical to ensuring a business can be found online, which is more important than ever given recent social distancing guidelines closing physical stores. But according to new research from business news and how-to website The Manifest, just 30 percent of small businesses use search engine optimization.
SEO takes time to show results, though, which is likely why 70 percent of small businesses don’t have an SEO strategy in place. Even if a brick-and-mortar business is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it can implement an SEO strategy now to draw customers in when it reopens.
“SEO is a long-term initiative that can take months to bear fruit,” said Matt Satell, SEO manager at venture capital firm Mechanism, in a news release. “Companies often decide to prioritize other quick-win acquisition channels.”
Businesses, however, should use SEO to improve their online visibility and traffic at little cost. The Manifest found that 5 affordable SEO strategies small businesses should use are:
- Keyword research and targeting
- Local search engine optimization
- Mobile optimization
- Content creation
- Link building
SEO is affordable and easy to learn
Most businesses have succeeded at SEO without paying an expert: Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) rely on in-house employees to manage their SEO strategy.
About 77 percent of those in-house employees work on SEO in addition to other responsibilities.
According to the report, “most small businesses are not hiring experts to manage their SEO, which shows they can still implement effective strategies by training in-house teammates.”
In addition, 53 percent of small businesses began their SEO strategy in the last three years. This shows that basic SEO doesn’t take long to learn.
Small businesses can see results from SEO without hiring outside expertise, but SEO firms or consultants can further bolster their success.
SEO makes your business visible to customers
A keyword is a word or phrase that people type into Google to search for content. Businesses must incorporate the correct keywords on their website to rank on the first page for many search results.
This is why 70 percent of businesses that invest in SEO use keyword research and targeting. Most people look at only the first page of Google results. If your business doesn’t rank on the first page, you’re missing out on valuable visibility.
Keyword research is an easy way to rank highly on Google. It’s free to start, and basic research takes little time and effort.
Businesses should pursue SEO for affordable, long-term marketing
SEO is an effective and affordable strategy for any business to increase its visibility. With the closure of physical businesses during the pandemic, more people are shopping online than ever before. You must use SEO to ensure these people find your business online, both now and in the future.
The Manifest’s 2020 Small Business SEO Survey included 500 small business owners and managers across the U.S.