If you’re a small business owner or non-profit manager, you may have wondered why SEO matters. Search engine optimization sounds like something that only applies to large corporations. It sounds like something that only people with million dollar advertising budgets can afford.
If this is what you think about when you think about SEO, you’re probably thinking about national SEO or the ability to be the top search result for an entire country for a relatively simple keyword like “digital marketing.” If this is how you think about SEO, however, you might be completely neglecting the form of SEO that can be far more powerful for smaller organizations: local SEO.
Reason #1 Why SEO Matters for Smaller Organizations: Being the First Thing People See When They Search Locally
When you search for local businesses or non-profits, what do you do? Chances are you open a search engine and search for things like: “local homeless shelters” or “shoe stores in [name of city].” That’s because consumers know that search engines have gotten smarter over the years and now factor in such things as the proximity of the address to the location of the user.
What you may not be aware of is that you can develop the content on your website to put you at the top of local searches. When people search for services like yours, they can either see your business or non-profit first or they can see another business or non-profit first. Unless you’re the only organization of your kind in your service area, this can matter a lot, especially if your organization isn’t represented on the first page of local search results.
Reason #2 Why SEO Matters for Smaller Organizations: Long-Tail Keywords
Another powerful element of local search results is long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are longer phrases that represent a smaller portion of what people are searching for (search volume). More people really are searching for a keyword like “digital marketing” then they are searching for a keyword like “digital marketing firms greenville nc.” So, you want to get the most people possible to see your content, right? So, the short-tail keyword is what you want to shoot for, right?
Actually, long-tail keywords can be more valuable, especially for smaller organizations trying to attract people within a specific service area. Think about it: if you sell shoes in a service area with a diameter of 120 miles, do you really care if someone outside that service area knows about you? You probably only care about people within that service area who are looking for local shoe stores. That means that “shoe stores” is probably a much less valuable keyword for you then “shoe stores in [name of your city].”
And the best news? Long-tail keywords are way easier to rank for than short-tail keywords!
Reason #3 Why SEO Matters for Smaller Organizations: Training Future Customers or Donors Through Content Marketing
Another element of SEO that can be neglected by small businesses and non-profits is the power of content marketing. Creating high-quality content that is genuinely useful to potential customers or donors can make them more likely to buy from or donate to your organization. Content marketing works like all other forms of advertising: by putting your brand in front of potential customers, you gain exposure and hopefully also persuade some people to try your product or service (or support your cause).
There are lots of ways to do this, but content marketing actually allows you to train people to be your next generation of customers or donors. Think about it. What’s better: to put your logo in front of thousands of people with no context, or to provide an in-depth description of what you do and how it can help people? Creating great, searchable content that is available for free demonstrates that you’re genuinely committed to helping consumers, not just taking their money.
Content marketing also allows people to engage with your brand at their own pace apart from the pressure of dealing with salespeople. People that contact you after seeing your content online are already more predisposed to buy than someone you’ve just cold called. In addition, you may show them that they need your product or service (or want to support your cause) when they didn’t even know you existed before finding your content!
Take-Away: Websites Are Dead Without SEO
We like to tell our clients that websites are dead in the water without SEO. If you own a website and the content of your website isn’t being indexed properly in search engine results, then your website is doing nothing for you. The best website in the world can’t do its job if no one can find it.
Smaller organizations can develop great content that reaches the people they want to reach. All they really need is know-how and some elbow grease.