Since its inception, search engine optimization is seen either as internet witchcraft by some, or an integral part of their digital marketing strategy to others. The reality is that if you are not leveraging SEO today, at least one of your competitors is. If you’ve been resistant to the idea of investing resources into SEO, here are a few clear-cut signs that you’re already late to the game, and you need to start now.
1. As a local business, you don’t rank for essential-to-your-business, service-based searches
When someone searches for “florist near me”, search engine crawlers do their best to identify several nearby florists to provide the user with the most relevant information. In this moment, business owners are against each other to convert a potential customer. According to Google’s data, local searches done on mobile lead 50% of users to visit a store from their search.
Ranking for searches with the phrase “near me” included is highly competitive. It’s incredibly important that your website is attractive to the user and has enough information to signal to search engines who you are, where you are located, and even recognize adjacent towns where potential customers could reside. A thorough “About” page, “Contact” page, and location-specific pages can help with this. Be sure that your map listing has correct, relevant information as well.
2. You don’t have any influence over what appears on page 1 for your brand name
While search engine algorithms are closely guarded secrets to the private companies that create them, there are tried and tested ways to influence what appears on page 1 of results when people search for your brand. Online conversions aren’t necessarily linear, as customers read up on a company’s products and services from several different sources before deciding to make a purchase – and this is hoping they’ve found your website in the first place.
A staggering 93% of people use a mobile device for research before deciding to buy. If your business just crosses its fingers and hopes for the best, you could be missing out on countless conversions each year. This is where search engine optimization meets online reputation management. Link building, social media, and a technically optimized website all contribute to the way in which search engines present your brand.
3. Your website doesn’t even rank in the first spot for your name
This obvious necessity is something that ails so many businesses in such a competitive space. For example, a business named after a word that’s used in everyday life may need to be patient before search engines can recognize user intent when searching for your brand name. These homographs with the same spelling and different meanings could be a huge challenge for business owners.
Aside from that, businesses without a correctly configured SSL certificate, robots text file, or sitemap (to name a few) could suffer the consequences of these technical oversights. Google may prioritize a news article or review site above your business, which means that others have control over the narrative of your business. It’s extremely important to repair these issues with your site as soon as possible, as they’ve become more relevant ranking factors over the years.
4. Your site isn’t mobile friendly
If you’ve been putting off a mobile-friendly redesign, you’ve been sacrificing years of lost traffic that has gone to your competitors. Mobile responsiveness has been a ranking factor since at least the announcement of the 2016 Google algorithm update, and its significance has only risen since. Not only does mobile friendliness improve your chances of being ranked highly for relevant keywords, but user experience itself will have a profound impact on the rate of conversions you see happening on your site.
Think of a time when you’ve wanted to make a quick purchase on your phone; If the checkout process was too arduous, it’s likely you abandoned your cart before entering your credit card information. Contact forms should be simple for mobile as well, especially considering the average lifetime customer value that can be established by that first point of contact.
If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to do an overhaul of your site to really start competing online, this is your sign to start. The world of SEO changes constantly, and now is the time to set goals and start seeing real growth.