According to GoDaddy, “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving internal and external aspects of a website, or Web page, to increase its organic visibility for search engines.” For business (both online and offline), SEO can be the key to visibility and reaching new customers.
We talked to Søren Lillesøe, SEO expert and CEO of the online-based PR Agency SUPRA MEDIA, to learn more about the importance of SEO and why small businesses need to step up their game if they want to compete with the big boys.
Testomato: What makes SEO so important for a website and what are the benefits of a good SEO strategy, especially for small businesses?
Søren Lillesøe: Having a SEO friendly website structure is really important, but having the right, state-of-the-art modern CMS doesn’t save bad content or not having a strategy to implement. So SEO is a necessity to address, especially for new companies or small businesses that don’t have big branding or commercials running. The benefits of good SEO are not only more costumers or traffic, but also that existing costumers can find what they need, and you can guide them to the content you wish. And journalists can find their sources for articles. Which gives you PR, by the way.
Testomato: What happens if your website is not SEO-friendly? How seriously does this impact your Google search positioning and your visibility?
Søren Lillesøe: Bad website structure and web designers who don’t know about the search engines can really ruin a small business or create bad experiences for consumers out there. I often get calls and e-mails from companies that can’t figure out how to get their page listed on Google, for instance.
Having a bad CMS or a bad graphic guy is very often the issue, but also linkbuilding still lacks. Advertising agencies are very often the problem here in Denmark too. They don’t adapt to the new world.
The biggest problem for sites is often duplicate content, because Google has around 90% of the market here in my country. Having unique content is key to getting ranks, especially in that search engines. People love to re-use manuals or articles from their colleague. Just don’t!
Testomato: Is SEO a cost-effective way to gain visibility for your website?
Søren Lillesøe: In my opinion, SEO is the most important solution for small companies that can’t afford Google’s high Adwords’ click price or adverts in big newspapers. Social media often works out too. But it all depends on what people sell, and what the competition looks like for the different key phrases.
SEO is actually even more important right now, because Google has changed their listings – only 7 or 8 normal adverts are left on the front page. That’s nice for the big companies, but not for the small real estate agent or Mario’s Delivery Place.
Testomato: How has the rise of mobile bandwidth and local search optimization impacted SEO and what can website owners do about it?
Søren Lillesøe: Local SEO is the most simple and best method of getting new customers for lots of companies. They just haven’t realized it yet. For example, real estate agents still rely too much on local and regional newspaper to get their houses seen. One of my company’s segment are real estate agents, and they sometimes get an insanely high ROI if they price the marketing into their payment from customers, but not all of them think so longterm.
Mobile searches are getting really big in some business segments, and a lot of homepages actually work quite well on mobiles. But SEO wise, differences of course appear — mostly on Google. Some companies need to rethink the heavy graphics on their pages to get more clicks from everyone.
Testomato: Is SEO always changing? How can website owners keep up with it to make sure their sites remain visible?
Søren Lillesøe: SEO is always changing because the Internet is so dynamic. What worked two years ago might not work now. Especially when talking linkbuilding. Unfortunately, SEO is often used as a buzz word, but it is a really broad term, which people need to understand. That’s why they need counseling from professional people who know the field thoroughly. If people really want to do it themselves, they need to study a lot and do field studies before anything else. It’s not that easy to get started.