The small business landscape in the United States has changed dramatically since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. While consumers were gradually moving towards digital options in pre-pandemic times, the social distancing and lockdown measures have accelerated the shift from brick-and-mortar browsing to online shopping. According to consumer research, online shopping is here to stay with digital purchases of groceries up by 41 percent and digital purchases of furnishings and appliances up by 30 percent. The trend continues for all categories of goods, with most categories seeing a 15-30 percent increase in digital transactions. In addition, most consumers indicated that they research various brands and products online even if they plan to purchase from a physical store.

What Does SEO Really Do?

In this new digital marketplace, small businesses have a simple decision to make: sink or swim. Some small business owners may think that maintaining an active online presence is unnecessary. After all, your customers may come from the immediate neighborhood or from personal recommendations. However, since the pandemic, 75 percent of consumers have tried new shopping behaviors and 36 percent of consumers have switched to different product brands from their previous purchases. Online pop-up stores focused on attracting digital shoppers are making waves in a myriad of industries. With the attention of customers constantly being captured by competitors, can small businesses truly afford to rest on their laurels and ignore the Internet?

Of course, many small businesses do want to have a good web presence but are overwhelmed by all the technical jargon. Perhaps, this overview of SEO may help. SEO, short for search engine optimization, refers to the way digital marketing professionals can improve the ranking of a web page in search engine results. In a process called indexing, search engines such as Google use thousands of robots to crawl across the Internet and find new pages. The defining characteristics of these pages are noted in the search engine database and used to determine whether or not a page is relevant to a user’s search query. By enhancing the defining characteristics of the pages on your website, SEO professionals help to ensure that they show up in the top search engine results.

SEO for small business is extremely important as it helps to generate quality leads. Unlike traditional advertising where you broadcast your product or service to the largely indifferent public, people who are searching for keywords or phrases relevant to your business already have the intent to be a potential customer. Therefore, when they find your listing on the search results page, they are more likely to make a purchase or sign up for a service. High search engine rankings also subconsciously translate to more brand reliability, with 54 percent of consumers saying they trust websites that appear at the top of result pages more. Most importantly, in terms of ROI, SEO is one of the best long-term investments a business can make. Because SEO upgrades do not expire as such and can increase in effectiveness with time, they continue to increase your brand recognition even after months and years.

How to Get Started

To the uninitiated, SEO may seem scary and technical. But small business owners need not undertake this mammoth task on their own. Many knowledgeable digital marketing companies can provide small business SEO at competitive prices. Marketing1on1 is a small business SEO services company with more than ten years of experience in digital marketing. They specialize in search engine optimization strategies that are customized to each business’s individual needs and goals and ensure that your web presence is boosted using the latest best practice techniques. A typical package starts with researching your current web presence compared to the target market and your competitors. Then, the experts will decide on the best search engine keywords for your brand and work to implement SEO methods that will attract visitor traffic and potential clients.

If you would like to focus on the nearby community, SEO efforts can help you to become more visible to people searching within your locality. For example, a consumer searching for a ‘coffee shop’ in your area may find your website and decide to give it a try instead of going to the standard Starbucks store. If your sights are set further afield, SEO efforts can similarly get the awareness of your brand out to the international audience. For example, Europe may be a huge potential market for your hand-made jewelry and SEO can help your brand to show up on searches made in numerous native languages. Ultimately, SEO is about building a support structure that provides your target audience with their desired information, thus making it easy for them to choose your business over others.

In this digital age where much of marketing is done online, ignoring SEO is a surefire way to be left in the dust of your competitors. With the assistance of experts, small businesses can use SEO to boost brand recognition, expand their target audience, grow leads exponentially, and generate long-term profit. For small businesses seeking to stand out from the crowd, SEO is the ideal solution.