Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a long-term online marketing strategy.
But, for a small business owner, is it really feasible to fork out hundreds, or thousands of dollars for something which takes so long to see results?
SEO is intangible. You only understand its value and importance to your business when you see how much it can impact your business.
The fact is, you need to be regularly working on your SEO to see return-on-investment results. Which takes time and it costs cold hard cash.
So that got me thinking, even though the big rewards come over time, is there anything to look forward to in the interim?
It’s this ‘interim SEO value’ that sometimes gets forgotten about when we are so heavily focused on ‘getting to number 1 on Google’ or having a million dollar profit in our bank account by next week.
“Rome was not built in a day.” – John Heywood
On my SEO pricing page, I mention that Google says it takes 4-12 months to see the potential benefit of SEO. So, the question is, what SEO results and/or benefits can you look forward to in the meantime?
1. Impressive first impressions
Most initial SEO audits and projects, will involve reviewing metadata and optimising it (if it doesn’t, then perhaps you need to look for a new SEO consultant!).
Metadata is how you appear in the search result pages (SERPs). It is the first thing people see of your website. So it makes sense to make those first impressions count right?
Your SEO specialist should aim to update your metadata across your key landing pages (and all other pages if time permits) as soon as the keyword research is signed off. Once the updates are made, it is really up to Google to decide when to show the updates. From my experience it takes about a week. There are some ways to get Google’s eyes on the changes faster, your SEO guru should know all about those 😉
A lot of your results may not be seen just yet if you’ve only just started SEO. However, if anyone searches your brand name, they’ll definitely see how great you look on the search result pages.
Bonus tip: It pays to search your business name every so often to see what is showing up on the first page of Google. Ideally you want not just your website showing, but all/the majority of results on the first page to be connected to your business. See point 7 for more info.
2. Content for sharing on social media
Part of any great SEO strategy should involve content writing and strategy. The beauty with content is that if you put the time and effort in to make it high quality and evergreen, then it can benefit your website and business for many years down the track.
In the short-term, it provides great content for you to share across your social media channels.
Every blog post you write on your website should have the aim of enticing the reader to like, comment and/or share it. The more content you can do like this, the more it will benefit you in the long run. But don’t get sucked into the trap of creating content just because, it needs to be published for a reason.
3. Content to save you time
There is one particular example I want to mention here.
When I was first getting to know a client pre-signup, I had a certain frustration with their website. I wanted to see a specific category of hampers which had only local products in. As I couldn’t locate this on the website, I tweeted the business who emailed me a list.
After the client signed up with my agency at the time. One of my first content suggestions was to create a page for hampers with only local products in. The funny thing is, the owner said she got that question quite regularly. Now all she needs to do is send the link through if anyone asks.
Therefore the content is saving time for the business owner. Plus it’s also making that information readily available on the website so people can get answers quickly.
The more information you can give on your website, particularly answering those frequently asked questions, the quicker you’ll convert customers.
4. Avoid missed customers
During that first stage of your SEO project, your specialist will analyse your site from a technical standpoint. It’s during this audit your SEO consultant should uncover quick wins like broken links, if buttons aren’t working or gasp, someone can’t make a purchase because the shopping cart isn’t working.
A technical SEO audit will bring your website up to scratch and it could save potential customers from making that split decision to leave your website and go shop elsewhere.
5. Increase returning visitors
SEO isn’t just about getting people to your website. It’s about making it a place that people want to visit again and again. It’s a place that’s easy to move around and find the information they need.
By completing an SEO content and technical audit during that first month after you sign up with an SEO company, you’ll have a bunch of suggestions on how to make your website a place people want to come back to.
6. Another brand ambassador
Any supplier or partner your business aligns with should have similar values to you. These make the best types of relationships and also provide the best word-of-mouth recommendations for your business.
When you partner with an SEO consultant, they should understand your business and believe in it. As a result, you’ll have a walking, talking brand ambassador on your hands.
I have been lucky in my SEO career to work with some amazing businesses. They have fantastic products/services, awesome customer service and are genuinely great people.
As a result of this, if you ever need a financial planning company in Perth, I know exactly who I will recommend. Or if your looking for a tour in Broome, I have a top recommendation for that too!
7. Stronger digital presence
Business listings should be looked at within the first few months of working on your SEO. By this I mean, your Google Maps listing, Bing Places and key business directories like Yelp, True Local, YellowPages, etc.
By adding your business to these directories you’ll:
Increase the touch points for your business
Start to dominate the first page of the search results when someone searches your business name
Improve your local reach (Google likes to show businesses close to where the searcher is)
Most listings will be active within 2-4 weeks to help you start reaping the benefits.
8. The extras
Firstly, I cannot promise this from every SEO consultant, but I do know there are some of us out there.
Your SEO manager should be an extension of your team, they should provide suggestions and opinions based on their experience, even if its not directly related to their speciality.
For example, I have a Bachelor of Communications Degree, majoring in Public Relations. I have travelled all over the world, including working in New Zealand, Thailand, Dubai and Australia. Plus I run a wine blog that attracts over 500 visits a day and has a social media following upwards of 20,000.
I believe in good karma. The more I can help you, and your business grow/meet its goals, the more valuable my skills are to your business.
SEO doesn’t have to be completely intangible. Yes the goal is to move up the ranks and have plenty of converting traffic to your website. But there are plenty of valuable and tangible wins along the way for small business owners.
It’s just like having children. The end goal is to see them grown up and be happy, but along the way, there are all those wonderful memories you’ll have forever. From that first butterfly feet painting to that principle’s award they win at school.
Yes we all want return on investment. But sometimes it’s not all about the cold hard cash. It’s also about enjoying the little perks along the way. Despite how small they may seem in the big picture, you never know what they may lead to.