For small businesses, the most important thing you can do is generate leads. Without leads you’re not going to bring in new customers, and without new customers your business will likely fail.
But how to go about generating leads? There are a lot of methods that you can use, and some will work better than others for your particular business. However, one method all businesses should focus on is using Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is because SEO tactics can not only bring in leads on their own, but also bolster other lead generating methods.
How SEO Generates Leads
In today’s world, most of us gather information through search engines. As a business, you want to be the answer to someone’s question – such as “Where can I find a plumber in LA?” or “Which mobile apps will make my business more efficient?” However, if your answer isn’t at the top of the search results when someone types in the question, it’s unlikely that it will be seen.
One study found that click through rates dropped by 25 percent from the top result to the 5th result. That’s a big decrease for results that are still on the first page. This shows that the higher your website ranks in search engines, the more likely it is to be clicked and earn you a lead. SEO is what helps your website rank higher, and there are three main aspects: Keyword Research, Link Building, and Analytics.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is keyword research. Keyword research is the act of finding words or phrases that people commonly search for related to your business. For example, a bakery in New York might use the keywords “Bakery in NYC”.
However, keyword research is about more than just finding phrases related to your business. You need to find phrases that a large number of people are actually using in search engines, and that you can rank for. Chances are “bakery in NYC” is likely to be a highly-sought after keyword, and you’ll have a lot of competition, making it harder to rank.
By taking your time with keyword research you can find not only phrases that your customers are searching for, but phrases that you can rank highly in search results for. But that isn’t the only benefit from keyword research. Keyword research can also tell you more about your customers, such as the type of products they are looking for, where they are located, and what type of information they are looking for. You can then use this information throughout your website and other marketing strategies, tailoring the type of products you serve or information you provide.
For more information on conducting keyword research, you can check out this guide.
The next big aspect of SEO is link building. Search engines like Google place a large emphasis on which links are pointing to your webpages. By getting other websites to link to you, and properly structuring your own internal links, you’ll do better in the search engines. But the best part is that while building links, you will get other lead-generating benefits.
To build links, you’ll need something to share with the Internet. Commonly, this takes the form of a blog post. Let’s say you run a pest control business, and you write a blog post about how to identify signs of an infestation. This blog post is so good that other websites start to link to it, and as a result it ranks highly in search engines. Now you have a useful page ranking higher in search results, which brings in more leads.
It doesn’t stop there though. People find your blog post helpful, so they share it with their friends and family on social media. Even though the social media sites aren’t helping with your SEO efforts, more people are visiting your website. So, while creating this blog post was great for building links and SEO, you are generating leads outside of that.
The same goes for other types of media. You can create video tutorials, infographics, podcasts, or anything else, and share it on your site. If it’s of a high quality, other sites will link to it, and the backlinks will improve your search engine rankings. But you’ll also get introduced to the other websites’ audience, and get some notice on social media. Creating shareable content is great for backlinks, but the benefits don’t stop there.
Analytics and Studying Your SEO Results
Finally, just like every other marketing strategy, you want to track your results with SEO. If you don’t track your results, you could be targeting a keyword that no one is searching for or creating content that no one is interested in.
Installing analytics tracking on your website is one of the best things you can do for SEO. It will give you all sorts of information, like which pages are the most popular, which keywords people are using to find your site, and how long people are spending on your site. You can then use this information to improve your SEO tactics.
For example, if you notice your landing page has a high bounce rate (more people leaving immediately without visiting the rest of your website), you can tweak your page by exploring landing page trends to try to improve these numbers. Search engines like Google factor in bounce rates, so every improvement you can make will help with your SEO efforts.
Through analytics you can also see which of your pages are the most popular. You can then use this information to do things like adjust prices or shift your focus from promoting one product to another. This sort of information is invaluable when you’re tweaking your other lead generating tactics, such as social media or advertisements.
Focusing on SEO Has Wide-Reaching Benefits
You only have so much time in the day, so you need to put it to good use. If you can improve multiple lead generating strategies at once, your business will become more efficient. This is why it’s an excellent idea to focus on SEO.
By focusing on SEO you’ll not only improve your rankings within search engines – one of the best lead generating methods – but you’ll also improve things like your social media, online advertising, offline advertising, and direct mail campaigns. The result will be a business that is more efficient at generating leads and growing sales in turn.
The post is by Dave Schneider, the founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries. In his spare time, he writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me.