When was the last time you did Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your website?
Did you know that Google and other search engines update their algorithms several times per day?
The cost of doing nothing when it comes to ongoing SEO on your website is real and substantial. A website left to fend for itself in today’s day and age of hard-fought Google rank can suffer lasting damage.
We hear small business owners all the time say they “did SEO last year” or something similar. Most likely they’ve heard that SEO is important and learned a few tactics, and then implemented them on their own. Or, they might’ve hired an SEO agency to perform some foundational SEO tasks, but once that’s over, they moved on.
That’s good enough, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. But thankfully, it’s also not very hard.
Ongoing SEO is Essential
The truth is, the major search engines are constantly updating their algorithms. This means that SEO isn’t simply a “one and done” kind of thing. To be beneficial, it requires ongoing SEO. We can think of SEO much like branding. A brand isn’t built by launching one single major campaign and then riding the wave (though some people think so). The thing about a “fireworks” tactic like this is that fireworks may get some immediate attention, but they fizzle out fast.
A solid brand is built through ongoing brand awareness campaigns and customer engagement with a clear, consistent message that meets their needs. Because consumers are constantly shifting their attention, search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to satisfy search intent.
Ongoing SEO helps search engines understand that your website is important and has meaningful content that users want to see. Although, performing SEO on a poor website is like putting lipstick on a pig. You don’t need to keep up with every single search engine update but doing a big one-time project and then neglecting SEO won’t keep your website at the forefront of search engines.
What kind of SEO do I need?
To make good use of your SEO efforts, some upfront work is necessary. What we call “foundational SEO” includes things like making sure your business’s name, address, and phone number are correctly listed online or ensuring that your website is easily “crawlable” and indexable. But it doesn’t stop there.
Search engines naturally want to serve up good results to their searchers. There are hundreds of ranking factors that deem a result “good,” but some of the notable ones are that a website is fast, shows some domain longevity, and displays expertise, authority, and trustworthiness on its subject.
It takes users about 5 seconds to form an opinion of whether they’ll stay on or leave your website.
This expertise, authority, and trustworthiness on a topic are called content SEO. While optimizing the speed, design, and function of your website is known as technical SEO. These two aspects work in tandem to provide overall SEO health.
To get the most out of your SEO efforts ideally requires both content SEO and technical SEO. Search engines have developed these tenets based on tons of user data. A slow website with great content will result in users bouncing quickly, and the same goes for a lightning-fast website with thin or lame content.
How do I get good SEO?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
You can learn how to perform your own ongoing SEO and then do it regularly on your website. There are many resources to learn from online. (Udemy, Lynda.com, etc.)
However, to optimize your own time, it’s best to hire professionals that already know what to do and regularly do it well. Then you can focus on serving your customers and growing your business, while your SEO professionals can focus on satisfying online users and search engines.
But what if I don’t?
Ah, so you’re still wondering what the cost of doing nothing with SEO is, eh? And maybe you haven’t touched SEO in a while (or ever) and (you think) you’re doing fine.
The hidden cost of poor SEO
Many small business owners think a website is still just a “nice to have” rather than an essential cost of doing business these days. They’ve been getting by for this long with a so-so website or maybe no website at all. No real reason to upgrade, right?
57% of customers say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website to others.
I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom here, but a poor website is not only doing nothing to help your bottom line, but it could also be driving business away.
Think about the last time you purchased something online. Was the website design great and modern or terrible and outdated? Did you look through several different websites until you found one that looked credible?
The user experience of the website either gains or loses trust with a company. Your website does the same thing for your audience. A website is your online proxy – it represents your business. A poor website tells a prospective customer that you don’t have the know-how to stay current, so you might not have the know-how that they need in other ways. If you go to buy a house and the front door is falling off its hinges, what does that tell you about the rest of the place?
Okay, I hear you, but I’m not an online retailer!
I know you’re thinking that if you aren’t an online retailer, your website really doesn’t matter. But as I said before, your website is often the first impression that many people will get from your business. A poor, slow website with thin, insignificant content turns them away immediately without giving your business the chance to engage with them.
One Final Analogy
Let’s think of SEO and your website like a trade show booth.
Imagine that online searchers are using search engines like a map of booths at a trade show. They can see all the relevant booths, and then they choose one to visit. You know that to maximize the number of people that visit your trade show booth from looking at it on a map, it helps to have a bigger booth with a clear, concise name.
When you set up a booth at a trade show, do you make a sign on cardboard with a sharpie? Are you or your reps wearing cut-off jean shorts and flip flops? Are your reps misinformed about your business? I bet you answered all these questions with a resounding “No!“
A fast, well-designed, easy-to-find website with great content is like a trade show booth with professionally branded banners and uniformed, attentive, knowledgeable reps. Performing ongoing SEO keeps all aspects of this “virtual trade show booth” up to date, engaging, and front and center for customers looking for the solution your business offers.
If you’re interested in ongoing SEO (and I hope you are by now), then contact us at Hot Dog Marketing and we can get you all set up with foundational and ongoing SEO. We also help local businesses with their local SEO so that local searchers can find your business when they’re searching nearby.
Tom Snyder is a business-minded writer creating compelling content that helps business owners understand the digital side of their business and engage with their audience. Constantly intrigued by learning new things, he is fascinated with tech, business, and sci-fi. In his spare time, you can find Tom building his own business (coffee roasting) or making music.