A decade or so ago, starting up a small business with the intention of selling products to the consumer market meant that you would have to find a brick and mortar store to use as a commercial premises. You would then sell your products and wares to people who came into your store and browsed your goods. But things have changed dramatically since then. Sure, the high street is still bustling and many of us do still frequent tangible stores to buy a whole host of products. But improvements in technology, and the more widespread access to technology, means that increasing numbers of us have smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. It also means that small business owners and large business owners like can easily set up websites and sell products online through an E-commerce store to the masses who are using these devices on a day to day basis! There are so many benefits that come hand in hand with E-commerce that it would be relatively foolish to avoid engaging with it. Think about it. When you reach out to customers online you:
- Don’t need to worry about commercial property rent, energy bills, security, or staffing costs for employees to monitor and run the shop floor.
- Operate around the clock. Your store can be accessed by consumers twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Customers who work at the same time as your store opening hours can now access your offers!
- Operate from anywhere. This opens your brand up to individuals who cannot leave their homes as easily, and people who just want to browse through your products conveniently wherever they may be – on their break at work, on public transport, or in their own home.
- Can target an international audience. People around the world will be able to access your site and, as long as you offer international shipping, can purchase your goods too! You never know where your next biggest market might lie, so this could prove extremely profitable!
When something is so appealing, however, it’s not all too surprising that pretty much every other small business owner wants to try their hand at it too. This creates an extremely saturated market and you may find it difficult to stand out from the crowd. This is where SEO comes in to play and can greatly benefit your business.
What Is SEO?
Put simply: SEO stands for “search engine optimisation”. But what does this actually mean? Well, when customers are looking for a product online, they generally use search engines to find what they want. They will type keywords or a key phrase into a search engine’s search bar and then browse the results that are pulled up. Most people will stick to one of the first few links that are listed. When’s the last time you went beyond the first page of a search engine’s results yourself? Probably a long time ago. Bearing this in mind, you’re going to want to make sure that your site ranks highly in results when people input key terms relating to the products that you sell. The higher your page is listed, the more people who are likely to click the link to your website, and the more people who will make their way to your landing page. If you rank highly, you benefit from brand exposure (as potential customers will be more likely to browse your stock) and increased profits (as more people are likely to then purchase your stock). If you’re doubting the efficacy of this, remember that 1.7 billion people make use of Google and other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo, are extremely popular too. Focusing on appearing on these engine’s pages really is worth the effort and investment.
There are various steps that you can take to rank highly in search engine results. The first thing that you want to focus on is keywords. You need to figure out what kind of keywords consumers might put in if they’re looking for products that you offer. If you sell bamboo toothbrushes, the type of people that your product will appeal to are likely interested in sustainability and eco-friendly products. You should consequently incorporate words such as “green”, “eco friendly”, and “environmentally friendly” into your website through product descriptions, product titles, and blog posts. Search engines will pick up on this and start to feature you in results for these kind of searches. You may also want to use long tail keywords. These tend to consist of four or more words. In this example, it could be “the most environmentally friendly homeware” or “eco friendly products for the bathroom”.
This, of course, can all be quite a lot to take in and when you’re running a small business, you might want to focus on other progressive areas of your company, such as product development on new lines and marketing campaigns for new releases. You can take the weight of SEO off your shoulders by outsourcing this work to a specialist agency. They will have a thorough and in-depth knowledge of how to make SEO work for you. You can benefit from this expertise by collaborating!
As you can see, if you’re going to operate online, you are going to have to make the most of SEO practice and incorporate it into your company as quickly as possible. Hopefully, the above information can give you a better all round understanding of SEO, and the above advice could help you to use it in ways that will help your company to stand out from the crowd!