This blog by Italian SEO and Web Hosting specialist, Nicola Carmignani, really illustrates the importance of SEO and website optimisation for small companies – some of the statistics he cites, both regarding Italy and the US, are shocking. SMEs, even in 2015, are still not aware of the impact they could be making online.
As Nicola states, it may require hours of input and money, but the investment is really worth it, and there are less expensive ways to go about it, such as WOM marketing, reviews and social media.
6 SEO Tips for SMEs
SEO is a crucial element of online marketing that includes all the technical and strategical actions that help a website gain a better positioning in Google search results and other search engines. Though rarely emphasised, one of the advantages of good SEO is traffic optimisation to your own website and, therefore, a higher probability of converting a hit into a purchase or an enquiry.
These functions may seem simple and banal, but they often require technical knowledge about how search engines work and the technical characteristics of websites. SEO experts are professionals who work consistently every day to hit the best targets, keeping as up-to-date as possible since SEO-related issues can change frequently.
SEO requires much investment in terms of time and therefore also money, so often only large companies can afford to use it. Writing reams of content, organising media events, investing in campaign ads and viral online campaigns or involving influencers from a specific industry is not within the reach of any SMEs. For this exact reason, smaller companies dispense with using SEO for their websites altogether.
In reality, small companies and even small businesses can benefit greatly from SEO intervention just as they can from social media marketing strategies (used to gain new potential customers), increasing traffic to their website, improving their brand awareness and building an online community.
Here are six suggestions to help you strengthen your brand through search engines:
Optimise your site using keywords
Keywords are a key and integral part of SEO: firstly, you have to identify a set of keywords on which to develop the optimisation of the site, page by page. Once you have chosen these keywords, you can then begin to understand what already exists online and which keywords would represent the best strategy for keeping up with your online competitors.
Use Google Places
Tracking traffic on Google and Google Maps can be useful for companies who generally have one (or more) offices that are easy to track. Through Google+, a company page can be created and configured displaying all the information from your website, including contacts, services and your office’s geographical location (complete with up-to-date working hours).
Ask for reviews
Perhaps we don’t always realise, but often our purchasing preferences are influenced by the life experiences of our family and friends and other people we particularly trust or respect. Asking our clients to say what they think of our brand and our products or services online is therefore extremely valuable and beneficial, as online you can reach more people and, with a reference to your website, your brand can be indexed by search engines.
Add a blog to your website
Even if you’re not in the industry, you’ll have heard the phrase “Content is king” dozens of times. This famous article written by Bill Gates in 1996 was years ahead of its time in defining what is now the standard in terms of online marketing. Obviously this requires the work of a specialist and, even if amateurs do attempt to take on the task, to get good results, it should be handed over to a professional. Good results are guaranteed, because, according to the infographic below, 97% of companies with an active blog gain more contacts. To get started, use a WordPress Web Host to set up your blog.
Engage in WOM marketing
As previously mentioned, if you have a small budget to spend on content marketing or incorporating industry blogs, consider promoting your brand through other sites or blogs. Alternatively, you could invite bloggers to get involved in your company offline or in the office to experience the essential values of the business, and ask them to write posts on their respective blogs about what they think of the brand.
Get on social networks
Indisputably, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter play a primary role, along with websites, in spreading a message or expressing opinions and thoughts about a product or a given topic. These channels must be used strategically and monitored in line with the marketing objectives of your business, in order to inform your clients, gain their loyalty, and make social media users aware of your brand.
The statistics are not particularly reassuring for small businesses.
In the United States, 52% of small businesses have no website.
In Italy, this statistic rises to 76% and only 3 out of 10 small companies invest in e-commerce.
This is why it is so important to encourage SMEs to get online and, above all, to use all the digital marketing tools available to them.
Hosting Virtuale: Nicola Carmignani