A survey by XLN has revealed that millions of small businesses could be letting lucrative online sales go uncontested online thanks to a poor understanding of search engine optimisation.
There’s a huge opportunity for the UK’s small businesses to do increasing amounts of business via the internet. The ONS recently reported that nearly three quarters of UK adults search for and purchase goods or services online, a figure that rises to a whopping 92 per cent for the 25-34 age bracket.
Seeing this, we decided to conduct a quick survey of small businesses to see if they were capitalising on online business, estimated by the ONS to be worth £586.9m a week in June 2013 alone.
The results showed that almost half of the small businesses that had websites (and almost a third didn’t) had done little or nothing to optimise them for search engines. This means millions of pounds worth of online sales are being put at risk.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) involves configuring your website so Google will give it a higher ranking in results returned for searches relevant to your business. Google sees by far the most number of searches than any of its competitors, so should be your main point of focus.
Statistics show that the top three results of any online search get the vast majority of traffic, with first place attracting 32.5% of clicks and second and third getting 17.6% and 11.4% respectively.
This means SEO is instrumental to business success: the weapon of choice on the battleground that is the search engine results page. If your site isn’t prominently placed in search rankings, no matter how relevant your business offering is to the query, potential customers are considerably less likely to find and visit your site.
Making a list of the terms you think your customers will be looking for and copying this into the Adwords tool will show you how many searches each gets a month
It’s easier than you think
SEO isn’t as difficult or time consuming as it might sound. Once you have decided which keywords to target it’s just a case of adding the right information to the copy on your site.
But how do you decide which search terms to optimise for? The best course of action is to identify a few terms that aren’t too competitive and are very relevant to your company.
Luckily Google’s free Adwords tool is here to help. It can be used to show the searches people make and how often they are being made.
It also gives you an insight into your industry competitors; any company that wants to place a paid-for link to their site at the top of Google search results (the results marked in yellow – these are paid for results and not the organic SEO I’m discussing in this article), has to associate this with a keyword. It’s pretty safe to assume these are also the keywords they are optimising their site for.
Making a list of the terms you think your customers will be looking for and copying this into the Adwords tool will show you how many searches each gets a month. The Adwords tool will also suggest related keywords that you might have missed.
Look for less competitive, locally relevant words that get a fair amount of traffic and are relevant to your business. For instance, ‘Printers in North London’ had nearly 400 searches last month, but competition for that keyword is zero.