The challenges for small business owners are massive. Small business SEO and internet marketing add more challenges. Indeed, in some ways it presents a threat.
Imagine you own a store. Then, imagine that one out of every ten potential customers are blind to your store when they walk by. Then can’t see it at all. It doesn’t exist for them. Now imagine that was five years ago. Since then the blindness has increased to three of every ten and within another year it could be five or more.
This is exactly what is happening for business owners who don’t have a web presence or don’t have a web presence in the search engines. Local SEO is needed to make your business visible to search engines and visitors who buy what you sell.
The Three Challenges of Small Business SEO
Let’s categorize the challenges for small business owners when thinking about internet marketing. Here’s a story to illustrate.
Sergeant Johnson must do some crazy things to qualify for special forces. He must dive off a cliff, land in the water without hurting himself and then swim five miles across the channel to the other shore.
Sergeant Johnson has some thinking and deciding to do. First, is this special forces thing really worth it? Second, do I have the skills to jump off a cliff without hurting myself. Finally, do I have the stamina to swim five miles across open water?
The small business owner looking at internet marketing for the first time is a lot like Sergeant Johnson. Is it really worth it? Do I have the skills or can I find them without a huge hassle and expense? Will my efforts get me to the search engine rankings and how long will it take?
The Challenges of small business for local search engine optimization can be looked at in three steps:
- Deciding if internet marketing is worth it for my business
- Getting started
- Staying with it until it pays off
Deciding if Small Business SEO is Worth It
Let’s go back to the beginning of this article. How many potential customers are walking by your door because they never see you? It’s pretty simple but powerful question. If some percentage of customers in a business come from online searchers and your business is not where they search, they will never see you.
So, this decision comes down to two basic questions:
What percentage of potential customers start their search online? The National Association of Realtors reports:
Information sources used in home search:
- Internet: 74%
- Real estate agent: 69%
- Yard sign: 22%
- Open house: 12%
- Newspaper ad: 9%
- Home book or magazine: 6%
If you’re a real estate agent and you don’t have a solid internet presence, you will be missing out on a lot of business. What are the numbers in your business segment? Check with your industry association, talk to other people in the same business, but find out.
The second question is do you have the resources necessary to compete in the search engines and using other forms of marketing on the internet?
Budgets are critical for most small business owners and if you don’t have the money, you need to determine if you have the time to learn and do the work necessary for building a web site and ranking in the search engines. If you don’t have the time or the money you’re not going to make a dent in a competitive market.
But, let’s assume you have the resources necessary and you are sure of the need for small business SEO and a search engine presence. Now what do you do?
Getting Started With Small Business and Local SEO
What do you need to get started with SEO? If you are new to SEO, watch our Small Business SEO Explained Video that we created just for small business owners.
Whether you do the work or someone else do the work, to get started you need to get the technical aspect of site design and SEO right:
- Site Structure
- Site Design
- Content Management and Content Management Platform
- Market Research
- Competitive Research
- Keyword Research
- On Page SEO
- Link Plans
Practical SEO – The Real Work
Once the technical aspects of SEO are complete, the work begins and the work is all about content. Content offers three challenges:
- Creating Content
- Creating Lots and Lots of Content
- Staying With Content Creation
The quality of your content must be better than the competition. It’s that simple. Do whatever it takes to make your content the best in your industry. Then the content must be written for both customers (first) and SEO (second). Don’t be fooled into believing that only SEO content matters. It’s always customers first.
I believe in the very near future that content creation quality and volume will be barriers to entry into many business segments. If you’re not able to create good content and lots of it – you can’t play.
Blog rate abandonment is estimated to be 95%. If you spend a lot of time searching on the internet you see that many businesses fall into that category or they’re teetering on the edge. The rate of content creation and maintaining that rate are critical. If you are not in it for the long term, you are not in. You must stay with content creation forever. The rate of new content is based on your business segment and competition, but plan to create new content for as long as you are in business.
Not What You Wanted to Hear?
Sorry, I don’t pull punches. I don’t tell you BS to sell you. Internet Marketing and small business SEO are competitive and becoming more competitive by the moment. If there’s a market, then there is or will be competition for search engine rankings. It takes work, it takes resources, it takes skill and knowledge. If anyone is telling you it’s easy, they’re wrong. Easy rankings generally mean that there’s no competition or no market.