As anyone running a small business will tell you, the market can be a brutal and unforgiving place. Competition is fierce, and there’s always someone out there ready to undercut you or blow you out of the water with a monster sales and advertising budget.

SEO for small businesses is the best way to fight back. A long-term SEO strategy helps you even the playing field and drive sustained traffic and revenue for your products or services.

Benefits of SEO for small businesses

Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is the process of designing your website and content so that it appears on search engine results pages (SERPs) provided by Google, Bing, etc.

A good business SEO strategy involves using the keywords that your customers use when searching for the kind of product or service you provide. You can implement keywords on your website, social media pages, content, landing pages and more with the aim of driving a steady stream of traffic.

Many small businesses use pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements, such as Google Ads and Microsoft Ads to achieve the same effects. But PPC is like a fair-weather friend. They’re there for the good times when you’re buying drinks at the bar. But when the money runs out, so do they.

PPC is a short-term fix that only works while you pay for it. But a long-term SEO strategy can produce sustainable results for as long as you need. For example, a great ‘evergreen’ blog post can drive high-quality traffic to your site for years after publication.

So, let’s explore some of the benefits of SEO for small business owners.

  1. Brand awareness

One of the biggest benefits of SEO for small businesses is brand awareness. No one can buy anything from you if they don’t know you exist.

On top of that, we all need to trust a business before we buy from them — with the exception being burger bars at festivals. But for everything else, we rely on our critical faculties.

You can use SEO for small businesses to create brand awareness and build trust by providing answers to questions. Let’s say I’m in the market for a diamond ring, but I don’t want to get shafted. So, I Google “how to tell if a diamond is fake?”.

If your diamond business provides me with a list of ways to tell a real and fake diamond apart, a) you’ve won my trust b) I know who you are. If the price is right, I’m way more likely to become a customer.

SEO benefits for small businesses
  1. Better rankings = more customers

Relying on ads can get expensive. Especially when your competition grows and the cost for each lead or click goes through the roof. A solid long-term SEO strategy is focused on getting your pages to rank near the top of a SERP.

You can unlock the benefits of SEO ranking in many ways. Targeting keywords, ensuring your website loads quickly, and sorting out your H1 and H2 tags so your pages are easy to crawl and index will go a long way to boosting your rankings.

However, the best way to think about a long-term SEO strategy is to take a step back and consider what search engines like Google are trying to achieve. They want their users to trust their SERP results, engage with their platform and keep coming back.

To do this, they need to ensure that they serve their users the best, most relevant content for each search term. So if you want to rank for a search term, you need to deliver on your promise. No trickery, no shady shortcuts.

Do what you say you’ll do, and Google will use audience engagement as a sign that your website is helpful and relevant. When you appear near the top of the SERP, you can expect to generate a lot more traffic and, by extension, a lot more sales, revenues, appointments, or whatever metric you use to record success.

  1. Search is evolving, so you should too

Google changes its search algorithms at least twice a year, sometimes with a few extra updates with minimal notice throughout the year. Content that was driving traffic can suddenly be banished into obscurity. A long-term SEO strategy helps you prepare for this outcome and even update and rescue these pieces.

Additionally, how customers think and talk about products or services constantly changes. Buzzwords flitter in and out of relevance, and specific concepts suddenly become important.

A long-term SEO strategy stays on top of the keywords and phrases that customers use. It snoops around forums and social media, holding a glass to the door and trying to figure out what people are saying. Then it builds all of that into websites, blog posts, landing pages, and so on, reaping the rewards.

  1. It forces you to make great content

A successful long-term SEO strategy needs excellent content. And that means producing material that is easy to digest and valuable.

So, think about your typical customer. If you sell high-end luxury apparel, it could be that twirling moustache Monopoly man. Or, if you sell anything else, it could be anyone without a top hat.

Think about your demographics. What are they interested in? How do they talk about the products or services they need? What are the problems that your business can help them solve?

Use all of this to produce content that speaks to your audience. Remember, your customers don’t give a shit about how great you say your company is. What they care about is how you can make their life easier. So, give that to them with content that shows them how to do things quicker, cheaper, better, etc.

Local SEO
  1. Local SEO for small businesses can be a huge source of traffic

The benefits of local SEO for small businesses are endless. Imagine this. You’re walking through the city, and you see a tired-looking, worn-out shell of a human being.

You’ll feel immediate pity for them, but then you get a strange dryness in your throat when you realise you’re looking at your own reflection. Time for a haircut!

Local SEO is a kind of map SEO that targets users who enter terms like “hairdresser near me”, “restaurant near me”, and so on. It uses your potential customer’s location data and Google reviews to recommend services they are looking for.

It increases your web traffic — and your foot traffic if you have a physical location — by targeting high-intent users. Think about it, if you’re Googling “hairdresser near me”, it’s because you’ve got one thing on your mind: sorting out whatever the hell is happening on top of your head.

Local SEO has excellent conversion rates; it can beat your competition and drive your search visibility and performance. The more 5 star reviews you get, the better your rankings in map searches as well as the trust you build with potential customers, allowing your business to thrive.

  1. More targeted traffic

One of the most significant benefits of SEO for small business owners is that it helps them build a more targeted user base. As we mentioned earlier, it’s competitive out there. There are lots of businesses doing the same or similar things, so to get a foothold in the market, you need to do something a little different.

Now, your business could be a generalist or specialist. Either way, you need to target the right type of keywords to get the right type of customers.

Let’s say you run a computer repair shop. However, you specialise in Macs. You know them like the back of your hand, you have all the parts, and it’s what helps you stand out.

Your long-term SEO strategy should be about targeting Mac users with broken computers. If your website and content are too general, you’ll end up attracting PC users who, when they look at your site, will realise you can’t help them. That scenario will hurt your search performance because it’s not relevant enough to the search terms. So pick your targeted keywords wisely.

But when you target keywords like “how to fix broken Mac fan” or “Mac repair London”, you’re competing with fewer businesses and helping Google serve more relevant and meaningful results.

  1. A long-term SEO strategy produces long-term results

Driving traffic to your site takes resources. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, so if you want to attract customers, you need to put in time, money, or both.

PPC ads are effective. But like we said, once you turn off the money tap, they stop producing results. A long-term SEO strategy will also cost you money. For example, you might need to hire an SEO agency to help produce a website and content that resonates with your audience.

However, investing in a long-term SEO strategy produces results that last. It’s like tending to a garden. You plant the right seeds, do some upkeep, and in time, it bears fruit, vegetables, flowers, or whatever the hell it is you’re trying to grow.

You can’t rely on advertisements alone. Customer acquisition costs are going up all the time. Google, Facebook, and Instagram ads are subject to more competition and higher ad bids every week. A good business SEO strategy has predictable costs, alongside all the excellent SEO benefits we’ve listed.