As you are undoubtedly aware, one thing all businesses can no longer avoid is optimising their digital presence. That's where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) comes in, specifically with regards to Google. With a little guidance, SEO can help you stand out from your competitors.

Google's many complexities can be hard to wrap your head round without spending your life researching SEO. To help you out, this article outlines what SEO is and why it's essential for your small business.

SEO involves making changes to your digital platform to help it rank better in Google's SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). The higher your business ranks for important, relevant keywords, the more organic traffic you'll be able to drive to your site. SEO should be considered at every stage of building your website, from product pages to the site's structure.

It's important to know that you won't see results from optimising your website overnight. So, you needn't be surprised if you don't start to see results from any SEO changes until as many as six months down the line. Plus, Google is constantly updating its algorithm, so try to keep fairly up to date with any big changes. If your organic traffic suddenly drops, then it may be because of a change to the algorithm.

SEO enhances brand recognition

SEO can help small businesses increase their brand recognition without spending a fortune on paid advertising. If you appear high enough in Google's SERPs, then you're more likely to be found by new customers who are looking for products you offer but don't know about your brand. Even if they don't convert on their first visit, you'll have gained valuable visibility for the next time they're looking to make a purchase.

SEO is an affordable way to increase traffic

As a small business, you may be limited by budget. Luckily, optimising your site using proper SEO tactics can be an affordable way to increase traffic. For example, adding FAQ pages, writing longer product descriptions and adding meta information to each page. Amine Dahimene SEO Consultant says "Do some proper keyword research via free sites like Ubersuggest and try to include these in product pages. Only include keywords where necessary as Google sees through ‘keyword stuffing'.

If you have some budget dedicated to SEO, then we recommend working with an SEO consultant to optimise your site effectively.

SEO means more engaged traffic

Whilst there are many ways to generate traffic, SEO is known for bringing a particularly engaged audience to your website free of charge. That's because ranking for key terms means the people visiting your site are actively searching for the products or services you offer. So, SEO side-tracks the excessive spend required to place an advert that targets a wide audience with only a fraction of them being engaged customers.

SEO helps you to compete with big brands

With large chains seeming to pop up on every street corner, it can be hard for small businesses to compete. However, fully optimising your small business' site can help you appear in localised search results. For example, with good SEO practices, if a potential customer searches for a local toy shop then your small toy shop should appear alongside bigger brands nearby.

This also works online. Whilst larger brands often tend to have optimised websites already set up, that isn't to say you can't compete. Making sure your website is fully optimised gives you more online visibility and the best possible chance of ranking alongside them in the top ten.

Creating a better user experience goes hand in hand with SEO

Google is so advanced it's now capable of determining if a website offers a successful user experience. This is often defined by how easy it is for customers to find what they're after, whether that's information or a product. So, long customer journeys, 404 pages and slow loading times may see you slip in the SERPs. Fix these and you'll likely see a rise in conversion as well as organic traffic.