Search engine optimization (SEO) is something you need to worry about as you are growing your business. The second you have an online presence, whether you’re a freelancer, small mom and pop shop, or a small business owner on the brink of moving into mid-sized territory, SEO matters. Sometimes, local SEO (LSEO) is crucial, too. It’s a lot easier to start your online presence with SEO best practices than go back and try to “fix it” later.
There are many things entrepreneurs should be grateful for, and a killer SEO guru or agency should be on that list. It’s rare that a small business will need an in-house, full-time SEO professional. This is why you need to dust off your outsourcing hiring skills, do your research and find a firm or solo professional who can bolster your rankings like you deserve. If the real risk with your endeavor is not becoming an entrepreneur at all, remember that the actual real risk of having a website is not having it found at all.
Without SEO, you may as well not exist. Here’s a refresher course of why it matters:
1. Most people don’t look past Google’s first page
Numerous studies have shown that the vast majority of people Googling away don’t look beyond the first page of results. In fact, most people don’t look beyond the first few hits according to Search Engine Watch. If you don’t have SEO as part of your strategy and your online presence is on page two of Google (or even the bottom of page one), your potential customers aren’t seeing you.
2. Most Americans “window shop” on mobile devices before making a purchase decision
It doesn’t matter if you’re 100 percent e-tailer or strictly a brick and mortar establishment. Internet Retailer recently reported that not only is mobile readiness here, but every type of customer is relying on online research to drive their decisions. If your SEO isn’t making you visible, you’re not even in the running for the majority of shoppers.
3. Your keywords are changing
Depending on your business and niche, you might have some very competitive SEO keywords—or not. However, every single website can find at least a few keywords that aren’t hyper competitive and capitalize on them. SEO isn’t something that can be “completed” with any website or business. Businesses change, customers change, the economy changes, and in turn, keywords change. Keep up.
4. SEO algorithms are getting updated more regularly
While Google is notoriously secretive about the details of their SEO algorithm, one thing is certain: It’s getting updated on a regular basis. Some experts expect there to be a new Panda update every quarter. This means you need an SEO agency that keeps up with those updates and will respond accordingly. If you’re following outdated SEO best practices, you might be even worse off than if you’re not following any at all.
5. It’s your best visibility tool
Do you want to be easy to find online, matched with users who are querying keywords related to your business, and be seen as a leader in your field? That’s exactly what SEO does. SEO is what moves your website up the rankings, ultimately making you more and more visible. Without it, your business can’t succeed.
6. Amazon is getting more attention
There was a time when “SEO” meant, "appeasing Google," since it’s the biggest search engine in the US. However, Amazon is giving Google a run for their money. Dubbed the biggest shopping search engine in the US, some retailers (who sell on Amazon) are learning that they should also be optimizing for this giant. Check out tips from Moz on how to optimize for Amazon, and consider it equal footing with Google.
SEO may as well be an acronym for “start early optimizing.” No matter the size of your business, right now is the best time to add search engine optimization to your strategy. If you don’t, you might as well run a marathon without training—and without legally signing up for it.