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The Importance of SEO For Small and Medium Size Businesses

Tom Dempster

Tom Dempster

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital for businesses of all sizes. In this article, we’ll define what your business needs to consider from an SEO perspective, and explain how it can help smaller businesses compete with larger competitors.

Are you a business owner? Do you have a website? 

If you answered “yes” to both of those questions, then you and your business are playing the SEO game. You have no choice in the matter. You are automatically enrolled by virtue of the fact that you have a business in the year 2020. You’re playing the game – even if it’s involuntarily – and so are your competitors. 

The rules of the game (or the reasons why Google and other search engines rank a specific page or website higher than another) are ever-changing. There isn’t a clearly defined rulebook, just a set of broad guidelines you have as a reference point. 

And one final thing – the game never ends. You can never truly ‘win’ the game. There is no final whistle or buzzer.

So why should you bother? Why even care about a game where you don’t even know the rules? Why try and be good at it if you can never actually win? 

The reason is really simple. SEO levels the playing field.

Regardless of your industry, or the product or service you’re providing, or the size of your business, or your location, a good SEO strategy gives you the chance to take on your competitors – even if you have a marketing budget which is a fraction of your larger rivals.

The basic principles of SEO

SEO is a constantly moving target, but there are certain things that search engine crawlers will always look for when they scan your website.

Take a glance at your own website for a second, then review this list of questions. 

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In the SEO world, these are questions we have to constantly ask ourselves when we look at websites. This particular list is not exhaustive, but it’s a good starting point for many small or medium size business owners.  
 

Once you have the fundamentals in place – solid website architecture, great user feedback and relevant content – you have a base to work form. You don’t build a house without laying the foundations first. Once you’ve got your base, you can build on it by producing creative content which will accrue backlinks and other positive ranking signals by virtue of its quality.

How does SEO level the playing field for small businesses?

Traditionally, advertising – whether we’re talking print, radio, TV, billboard or even pay-per-click (PPC), revolved primarily around your budget. The more money you have to spend, the more visibility you have. The more visibility you have, the more customers you can accrue. The more customers you can accrue, the more money you have to spend. And so the cycle repeats itself. 

SEO is a little bit different. It is more meritocracy than oligarchy, where the emphasis on advertising dollars is replaced by quality and relevance. This opens up space for smaller businesses to compete and thrive.

Taking the time to work on quality content for your website is a long-term investment. It is a strategy that can reap dividends. A high-performing blog post which ranks well on Google can attract traffic for years to come.

With the right optimization work, you can make sure your content stays at the top of search results. Instead of shelling out dollar after dollar in advertising spend, you’re creating an asset which works for you and brings people to your website on a consistent basis.

A word (or five short paragraphs) of warning

It’s unrealistic to overturn twenty years of spam emails and false promises in one blog article, but I do think this upcoming point is important to note. It is one of the main reasons why so many people are frustrated with SEO ‘experts’.

Google’s algorithm is the wonderkid of the search engine world. Much like the child you knew growing up who got straight As in every subject and still had enough spare time to master three languages, play the piano and captain the sports team, it is only getting smarter every day. 

The point of the analogy is that it is futile to outsmart Google or other search engines. You may do it once; you may do it twice; you may even do it for a week or a month or longer. But eventually, Google catches up, and it will penalize your site. 

There are countless ways to handicap your SEO efforts. I could write a book on the tactics I’ve seen businesses use (and even some agencies), but if you’re doing things like stuffing keywords in your text unnaturally or buying backlinks, your ‘efforts’ will be obsolete when Google finds out and your website is handed a penalty.

As a rule of thumb, if you think what you’re doing with SEO seems underhanded, manipulative or unnatural, then you are basically trying to outrun Usain Bolt with both arms tied behind your back and both legs tied together. Even if you have a headstart, they’ll catch up to you eventually. Just don’t do it.

The importance of small businesses to society

We’ll continue to utilize this platform to help small and medium organizations grow their organic traffic and achieve their business goals. 

At True Boost, we actually believe there is a wider conversation to be had about the role of smaller businesses in our communities and the important part they play.

When these businesses prosper, it benefits our local communities. Their success means we have a diverse range of products and services to choose from. It propels innovation and helps strengthen our local economies. A stronger local economy creates opportunities in society for everyone. 

Stasia and I moved to North Carolina a little over a year ago. The warmth and friendliness of the people in this state is something we have never experienced before. Our work with organizations like Highland Canine and conversations with other business owners here in North Carolina has enjoyable and rewarding.

Our mission is to continue offering ambitious, like-minded organizations the digital marketing expertise they require to succeed.

Our Mission

We strive to help small and medium-size businesses achieve their goals through a combination of digital strategy, brand optimization and high-quality content.

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