Is SEO For Small Business in South Africa?
I come across this question from time to time. Since 2020 – with a huge boom in social media marketing / ads – SEO has quietly been on the back burner. Who still reads blogs, right?
SEO still offers massive benefits for small to medium businesses in South Africa, just like yours, and has never been more important than now. Let me walk you through why, let’s look at some benefits and I’ll share some tips along the way.
That’s why you’re here – right?
What is SEO?
SEO is short for “Search Engine Optimisation”, it’s the process of making your website as search engine friendly as possible as well as targeting keywords/phrases on your website to rank higher on Google search results. SEO is organic, compared to PPC like Google Ads or Social Media Ads.
SEO is considered evergreen content. (You are probably wondering how can I say that?)
When you reach your ad campaign budget, what happens to your ads? They disappear, don’t they?
Good SEO and organic results won’t disappear like paid ads – SEO also covers website structure, usability and so much more.
If humans can’t understand your website, then bots can’t either. A good web designer should always build with this in mind. A confusing website will lose any potential web traffic you get, and the best SEO in the world won’t convert into paying customers or clients.
SEO building blocks
SEO covers these four main building blocks: Keywords, Website Structure, Content and Link Acquisition.
- Search Intent Keywords, focus on the terms your online target audience is using to find companies, services or products like yours, it’s irrelevant to use terms you think describe you – it’s essential to amend your copy to target actual search intent terms. To do this, we conduct keyword research. Keyword research looks at your client base, location, difficulty and relevancy.
- As mentioned, website structure is paramount to onsite SEO, a well laid out site will lead your clients in and make it easy for them to find what they need. It increases dwell time and reduces bounce time. Technical SEO Audits will help you identify some critical structural issues.
- Content is key to great SEO – you want to answer your client’s pain points. By creating info posts, blogs and good SEO copywriting and content you address the questions users are searching for; this is where your keyword research comes in.
- Link Acquisition (Backlinks) are signals to search engines that your website is trustworthy; it’s also the perfect opportunity to work on your PR – win-win! Don’t buy cheap backlinks by the thousands, you want to create good quality links from websites that speak to your ideal audience or a new relevant target audience. It’s best to have one killer backlink over thousands of bad quality pointless backlinks.
- For small businesses there is a 5 key SEO feature that helps small businesses visibility on Google, and that’s local SEO. Local SEO really helps your target audiences in and around your business location find your business, it’s services, products, contact details etc.
Basically, SEO is about getting your website found on search engines, by users who already know what they are looking for. SEO can’t teach users, but tells them that they’ve found what they are looking for when they have searched for it.
How can SEO help your business?
So, you’re a business owner and you know SEO is a thing, it’s been on the to-do list since forever but it has not really been done. You have a website – you are proud of it – but no one is finding it.
You need web traffic right? You see your competitors showing up for your very services when searching them on Google. You’re not even sure which page of Google search results your website is on or whether your website is even on Google search. Sigh.
How can you change this? Search Engine Optimisation Services can help take all that stress away from you, so you can focus on delivering your excellent product or service to your customers and running your business. SEO is a full time job when done properly – so if you are not putting in the time and effort then you won’t be found. Really is that simple.
SEO can help businesses by putting you in front of the users who are searching for companies just like yours. To do this, we drill down into your target audience – we want to niche your keywords down and find the real terms being used to find websites that answer their queries.
Benefits of SEO for small business
SEO is often misunderstood and can very easily sound like a foreign language- backlinks, meta-descriptions, SEO copywriting, but there are measurable benefits of SEO for small businesses.
Knowing what they are and how you can implement them for your small business can bring you a range of new clients and increased cash flow.
We look at 7 measurable benefits that SEO can have on your small business.
1. Building credibility & brand awareness
If you keep appearing in a customer’s search results when they search for your service / product etc, then you will begin to build brand awareness as well as start establishing credibility.
When’s the last time you went onto page 2 of a Google search result page? Probably not very often or ever. Customers aren’t likely to click beyond page 1 when looking for search results either. This is why having good SEO for your small business is so important. Strategic SEO gets you onto page one and into the consumer’s mind.
People trust that the Google search results page (SERP) will deliver what they are asking for. People are more likely to have more trust in a brand that ranks higher on the first page of Google. They are also more likely to remember the brand name and pass that onto their friends if it came up early when they were searching for it, searching for you.
2. Find new customers and increase organic traffic
The organic search results generated by SEO or, those people who find you by typing a search query into Google, are where your new customers come from.
What is cool about raising organic search wins is more visitors to your website. This can give you a higher page authority, which again is an SEO perk and will raise you in the SERP.
If your new customers have a great experience, they might just go tell their friends, or post about you on other websites, which starts to give you backlinks, and again, a higher page ranking for you.
Good news for a small business, don’t you think?
3. Staying ahead of the competition (or catch up)
When you optimise your site, it can surpass the sites of your competitors which may not be optimised. This can give you a competitive advantage.
With a consistent SEO strategy and service in place it can also help you start to compete with bigger competitors on a wider range of keywords.
Optimising your website, for image sizes, video links, and other content will give your page a faster load time. This can give your website a higher Page Authority, which can push you above your competition on SERP.
Rough content guideline: Updating your content regularly will help keep your nose out in front. A 600+ word blog per month could be all you need for that edge over your rivals.
4. User focused (customer centric)
SEO usually requires a holistic approach and creating a good user experience for target audience who visit your website is an essential part of SEO. The SEO game is no longer just about keywords and backlinks. It is also about how a person navigates to your website and around it, eating up all the content you have..
Some of the UX Metrics that are measured by Google include:
- Bounce Rate- how many users leave after visiting just one page.
- Page Dwell Time- how long a user remains on a page.
- Page Speed/Load Times- how quickly a page takes to load all elements.
- Mobile-Friendly- how well the website loads and is viewed on a mobile device.
5. Cost-effective solution
SEO really is cost effective in the long term. While your paid ad (or your competitors paid ad) could be down due to budget, the keywords you rank for will always be up.
While there may be an upfront investment that you may not see the immediate benefit of, SEO is a long game (minimum of 6-12 months to be safe) and the results are worth the wait. If you have capital available, strongly consider getting some professional SEO services.
Also, you can engage in some affordable SEO for small businesses. How?
There are some free keyword research tools out there, including Semrush, Ahrefs Keyword Generator (this one is a good free resource) , Google Trends and Google Search Console to name just a few. It costs you nothing to find some keywords to start working into your copy and website and to start ranking for.
You could qualify for a free SEO audit with us, simply reach out.
6. Improved conversions
Websites that appear high up the SERP, which have been optimised for fast load times and a good user experience, will encourage customers to stay and spend money with you.
What do your customers want?
News? Give them blog content, articles, and helpful advice.
Informational resources? Give them downloadable pdf projects and e-books. Give them instructional videos.
Do they want to buy? Make it 3 clicks or less to have a conversion.
Users are impatient. It is far too easy to click away and find your competitor if your website loads slowly, is not optimised for mobile use, if your content is not user centric, or your website is laid out in a confusing way.
7. Own your niche
My favourite bit of advice to small businesses is to own your niche. Become an authority, craft expert subject matter in your niche and own it.
Find search intent keywords which relate to your niche or around it that people are searching for. Slowly but surely implement a content creation plan and draw people in. Focus your SEO strategy around it.
This process helps people get to know you, like you, trust you and then buy from you because you always appear at the top of SERP for that particular intent.
Another good reason the hit the SEO and own your niche is it takes fewer resources to Niche. You can focus your marketing budget and efforts on a smaller piece of turf. And when you become the #1 in that tiny space, you will never be short of customers who are looking for it or in need of it.
It is slower than PCC
The only disadvantage to SEO for small businesses looking for immediate returns.
This is true – SEO can take upto 12 months to rank – organic SEO is slower than Google Ads. If you are in a hurry to rank, consider implementing an SEO strategy alongside your Google Ads Campaign.
What is important, is that you don’t resort to once off SEO type services and leave your SEO and website in the wind. Once off SEO can be damaging – once off on-pgae SEO and buying thousands of poor quality backlinks.
It’s vitally important that you don’t let your organic SEO slide, like I mentioned earlier in this blog, organic SEO is considered to be evergreen. When your ad spend runs out, so does your ad and in turn, your traffic dries up with it. Generally, small business sites tend to disappear from searches when the ad spend runs out.
Your organic SEO never runs out, once it’s ranking (and you keep on top of your SEO), it will stay there.
SEO is more trustworthy than PPC
If you are a small business owner, then investing in organic SEO and PPC can be a costly venture – and neither are guaranteed in terms of results, sales or conversions. So which should you choose?
It’s true that people don’t always trust ads – and ad blindness is a real thing.
Just a little over 70% of users will ignore an ad to get to the organic results below. People don’t like being told what to do, or what to buy. They want to make their own decisions and in a world of constant ad bombardment, search engines are no different.
Trust carries users over to your website, so keep that trust by showing them what they want and why they should trust you enough to invest in you. As long as you are targeting the right keywords, your conversions will follow.
The beauty of organic SEO is, is that it’s a minor investment compared to costly ads.
So, is SEO worth it for small businesses in SA?
SEO is worth it if you can invest time and money into it. The changes you make today will see an effect six months down the line, so it’s not the instant hit you get like you do with social media or PPC.
However, SEO compared to social media for a small business has the following benefits:
- SEO is about increasing your search engine ranking and social media is all about growing your brand and customer relations, and each has its place.
- Search engines still hugely outweigh users searching for answers, products and services. They use social media to help back up a companies presence – this is where your customer relations and brand building comes in.
Being found on Google is one thing, but giving your customers exactly what they are looking for, when they are looking for it, that’s the real magic of SEO.
Consider 19 Digital. We are a leading SEO Agency in Stellenbosch, South Africa. We focus on delivering result driven and transparent SEO services as we believe that is the most powerful way to get you customers and get you revenue. And we know it works.
Get your business into SEO and get your customers at your doorstep.