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Why Search Engine Optimization matters for your local business

Google searches have evolved into a fundamental part of everyday life. Yes, even now during this globally felt trying times. There are over 3.5 billion searches per day, and over 40,000 searches per second. Google is by far the most important search engine and it continues to monopolise the way we search for products, services and information on the internet. No matter how your prospects find you, they will probably also Google you. If they can’t find your website, or don’t like what they see in terms of online presence or reviews, they will buy elsewhere. Your website represents the most important element that adds credibility for your business. If you are a small business owner, people will now judge your entire life’s work based on the design and content of your website.

 

SEO is key to your business growth

Google is like getting the horses to the water; but your website, its design and content must get them to drink. If you don’t get your website and SEO right, many of those who are looking for your type of business will bounce into the arms of your competitors.

We find that many B2B companies ignore SEO and Google because they think their customers buy via direct sales or trade shows. We have to face the fact that nowadays companies are hiring millennial staff who are tasked to search the internet for potential suppliers in order to short-list them for in-person meetings. This younger generation of employees does not have the experience to know who the players are in your industry or sector – they depend on Google to find the best company. They will base their opinion on whether your website is up-to-date and your online reputation is strong and your content conveys authority. If you meet that criteria, you get to be on their list.

 

Get on the FIRST page!

If you are serious about growing your business, you simply cannot ignore Google. Google uses a special algorithm to generate search results. While Google shares general facts about its algorithm, the specifics remain Google’s secret. This helps Google remain competitive with other search engines on the web and reduces the chance of abusing the system.

We all know that the business’ physical location is key to successful operations and overall growth for certain businesses. The same applies to your website on search engine result pages — the higher your website is listed, the more traffic you are going to get. Few people click beyond the first page of search results, so if you want to be seen, you need to be among the top listings. To do that, you need to learn a bit about how search engines work and how to optimise your website. And by applying best SEO practices to your website, you can increase qualified traffic, which means more new customers.

Once search engines know your site exists, they scan your site, index the information, and analyse the content to determine how and where your website should display on the results page. If your site isn’t optimised, it won’t rank well and may end up well below your competitors.

 

ORGANIC vs. NON-ORGANIC

SEO can be done in two ways: organic and non-organic. Organic SEO includes activities like content creation, link building, meta tag optimisation and keyword enhancement. One key advantage of this method is that you can gain long-term results. Another advantage is that it’s inexpensive if you can invest the time.

Non-organic SEO, on the other hand, works by concentrating on search engine marketing which involves paid advertising and pay-per-click advertising. It may yield quicker results and bump up your ranking and placement, but the effects are generally less effective in the long run when compared to organic SEO. This technique is ideal for targeting customers and great for brand awareness. This technique, however, can be expensive, requires constant fine-tuning and ranking can drop if you stop.

 

Quick SEO Tips

The process of optimisation is set according to a certain set of rules and procedures created by Google. Google will rank your website only if you follow these rules. There are lots of tutorials online that can help you understand and implement an SEO strategy. I would strongly suggest that you invest the time to bridge the knowledge gap and start to take your online ranking seriously, before your competitors beat you to it. But here are some tips that can start you in the direction of getting organic SEO underway.

 

1. Get a Google Webmaster Account:

It’s easy to set up an account with Google Webmasters, and once you do, you can verify your site, view your ranking, and ensure Google indexes your site on a regular basis.

 

2. Location Relevance:

If your site is only relevant to people in a specific area, use content to highlight your location. Create a Google Map and pinpoint your location. Also, refer to the physical location when applicable throughout your site, such as “Visit our Manama Showroom”.

 

3. Keywords:

These are select words and phrases that someone would use when searching for your business. You’ll want to research and discover what your customers and potential customers are searching for and then produce content targeting those terms. If you publish a page targeting “creative design furniture” then that page should utilise that exact phrase a couple of times naturally (only where it make sense) in the body copy.

 

4. Blog for Life:

By maintaining a regular blog, you are continually adding new content to your site. This appeals to search engines, because they like fresh content. Bear in mind, it’s not the quantity of your blogs that counts; it’s the quality of your content. Blogging is an easy, inexpensive way to boost your Organic SEO ranking. Focus also on getting your site to show up in a search for your own name. Try to get the attention of bloggers who may write about your business and encourage visitors to review your business.

 

5. Focus on Quality over Quantity:

Great content encourages people to link to your pages, which shows Google that your pages are interesting and authoritative. This leads to search engine success because that’s what Google wants. Google has become much more sophisticated when it comes to understanding what “high-quality content” is. Write fantastic, useful content that uses words and phrases used by people who search for your type of products and services. It’s not only about how well your article is optimised: it’s also how in-depth, useful, and comprehensive it is. Make sure that the content on your site is original material. It’s not that Google penalises websites for duplicate content; Google just doesn’t show it in the search results. That’s all Google is doing.

 

6. Refer to Notable People, Places and Brands:

One of the biggest changes in search engine optimisation is Google’s focus on understanding entities. “Entities” are related notable people, places, organisations, brands, etc., which associate in some way with your keyword. Google pays special attention to entities when trying to understand how concise and useful your content is. Don’t you notice that Google suggests related words while you’re still typing your query?

 

7. The Power of Links:

The more sites that link to your site (as a general rule), the more Google perceives your site to be worthwhile. This is digital word-of-mouth, both for potential visitors and for search engines. The best you can do is build interesting content and let people know it exists. Get listed in online directories that will create a link back to your website.

 

8. Make the most of Social Media:

Links published on social media could be marked as credible back-links to your website and thus influence your page’s rank. Social profiles can also influence your search results. In fact, social media profiles are often amongst the top results in search listings for brand names. Search for any brand name you know and see which social media profiles appear in the listing. Try it! You may also find that most people would visit social channels because these are more current than websites. A few active social channels can make the experience of getting to know your brand online more fun, engaging and personal.

 

What’s best for your business?

For SMEs, it is better to start with Organic SEO because, aside from its low investment, it will build internet presence gradually and eventually have a solid foundation in your own niche, provided that you are using the right approach. It is not a bad idea to invest in non-organic as some point. You just have to make sure that you are investing on the right campaigns that you can track and assess its return on investment. What’s best for your business is to invest more on creating relevant and useful content on consistent basis. That in itself will earn you the ranking more than any other technique you may use.

 

Conclusion

These techniques are useful for SEO and Google organic traffic analysis, but they build on each other, so you need to use them together. If your competitors are not paying much attention to SEO, this gives you an advantage of getting more leads by showing high in search engines. Do your homework and understand what kind of content your potential customers are looking for. Create a great site, create content people need and make it easy for them to share. Do this and you’ll start to see your website traffic increase. See you at the top… go ahead and optimize.

Eman BurashidWhy Search Engine Optimization matters for your local business
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