Alright, so first off, we should probably explain briefly what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) really is. Think about a sign or building that you see often and recognize. For us in downtown Milwaukee, let’s use the Milwaukee Art Museum for example. You know where that building is. You know what that building looks like, and it really stands out. I’m honestly not sure if I’ve ever heard of anyone that lives in downtown Milwaukee not knowing what and where the Milwaukee Art Museum is.
Now, why is that? They have a really damn cool building for starters. They’re in a really popular location, and when you pass it, you don’t overlook it. They’ve done a great job of branding and really making a staple of the Milwaukee skyline.
Now you’re probably asking yourself if this has anything at all to do with Search Engine Optimization or if I just really like the Milwaukee Art Museum. Well, it’s definitely a bit of both.
The goal of SEO is to get your business found online. The primary platform when thinking of achieving this is Google. To have your business found online by someone doing a Google search for your industry (usually in your local area). I’ll be writing a blog in the future to talk more about how you can actually use SEO to achieve this, but for now, I was to just talk about why you should even care.
How SEO and the Milwaukee Art Museum are similar is that if you’re doing your SEO right, you’re going to stand out online. When people search for your small business in Milwaukee, they won’t have any problem finding you. They’ll find you on whatever platform they search on. They look on Facebook for the best CrossFit gym in Milwaukee, they’ll find you. They search on Yelp! for the best plumber in Milwaukee, they’ll see your near-perfect rating and you right at the top.
Search Engine Optimization has a lot more importance than just getting your website to the top spot on Google. While that may still be the biggest goal of SEO in most cases, it’s hard to achieve that goal with SEO on your website alone. Especially with small, local businesses, you have to make sure to have all corresponding platforms completed and healthy. Yelp!, Google Maps, Facebook, Instagram, etc. And on top of that those platforms have a bunch of secondary benefits, like getting your business found on Yelp! vs Google, as mentioned above.
Now that’s a lot of jabbering about SEO and kind of why you should care. Let’s dive into some straightforward reasons:
Why your small business should care about SEO.
People don’t make it past the first page.
If your page isn’t on the first page of Google searches, you’re probably not going to be found. People are most likely to click to top positioning websites for searches. If not the first page, they’ll focus on the top 3. After the top search result and even more after the top 3, click rates are almost nonexistent. If you want people to click to your website, you either have to pay a pretty good price for Google Ads (an entirely different discussion), or actually care about your SEO.
SEO on your website is beneficial in more ways than one.
Not only does proper SEO on your website help you be found better online, but SEO best practices call for a lot of cosmetic updates as well. Google likes it when not only the back end of your website looks nice, but so does the front end. Everything from smooth navigation to fast loading speeds will put you on good terms with Google and will be a huge plus for your website visitors.
Local Directories are awesome for small businesses.
Local directories are beneficial for getting more people to see what your business is all about. Do a search for “best restaurants in your area” quick. You’re going to notice that what you don’t see anywhere near the top of the Google search results are actual, local restaurant websites. You’re going to see Google Maps listings, top 10 Yelp! lists, Trip Advisor lists, and other local directories like this. This is why having your business on these types of platforms is so important.
You’re also able to make sure to showcase your business on the listings. Adding pictures, videos, menus, pricing sheets, and plenty of other resources right on them. Most industries have industry-specific directories as well. For example, here’s one for us.
It’s like having an employee working for you.
When you make sure your website and local directories are kept up to date, you make your customer’s experience that much smoother. When are you open? They can find that online. Where are you located? Find that online. When are your weekly specials? Find that online. You’re able to get rid of phone calls that are just one question conversations this way and give you more time to take care of the new customers you’ll have from your improved directory listings and your front-page website.
People trust online reviews.
What if I told you that people trust online reviews as much as they do in-person recommendations? Well, it’s true. It’s 2019, and if you haven’t realized yet, the internet is here for the long haul. So is Google. So is Facebook. And so are all of your online reviews. It’s damn near impossible to remove a negative review, which is why online reviews are so credible. You’re getting real reviews, from real people.
There are so many SEO practices that you can do without knowing too much website coding. Getting your business listed on Google, creating accounts on local directories, and creating social media accounts are just a few examples to start without even editing with your website.
You will definitely want to also make sure Google likes your website too, but that is some of the stuff that can be more difficult for most people who don’t have at least basic coding experience. You definitely don’t want to dig around in your website’s back-end if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Bonus Content! – Ideas For SEO For Small Businesses In Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
With our agency being in Milwaukee, Wisconsin I know this will be a beneficial bonus piece for you that are looking to get an edge over other local, Milwaukee small businesses.
- Make sure to add your location throughout your website. If you’re a company that has an office, store, etc. in Milwaukee, make sure you add that to your website. Add your address to the contact page. Add a Google Maps widget. Also, make sure to add your city, in this case, Milwaukee, where applicable all over your website. For example, if you’re a restaurant in Milwaukee, make sure that your website says, “Best Burger in Milwaukee” instead of “Best Burger in Town”.
- Make sure to be strategic with your local directories & social media accounts. If your website says that you’re a bar in Milwaukee, but your Yelp! and Facebook says your bar is any city other than Milwaukee, that’s not good. Make sure that your story lines up through all of your platforms.
- Create a Milwaukee focused blog. Have new, regularly posted content on your website based around Milwaukee topics, that’s going to be awesome for you. People in Milwaukee will find your website. Which is the goal here!
- Make sure to update regularly! When your hours of operation are different on your Google Maps and your Yelp! and your Bing listings, you’re going to confuse potential visitors.