SEO stands for search engine optimization. Generally speaking, this is the practice of working with websites for the purpose of attracting relevant visitors from search engines like Google.
You might be in the process of creating a website and SEO came up. Your sales and marketing teams might not be delivering and someone suggested SEO as a possible solution. Or you might have found out that your competitors are investing in SEO campaigns and so you think you should explore this subject more.
Whatever the case may be, you would be right to think that SEO is an important consideration when marketing your business. This blog post deals with three important questions about SEO that often trouble small business owners in Malta:
We Maltese do business through networks, so why is SEO important for my business?
It is true that the number of searches done about your sector may be limited since the local market is small. However, localized searches like “accountant in malta” or “apartment in bugibba” have high conversion rates. This means that since these searches are very specific and commercially-related, there is clear buyer intent. Ranking highly will give you access to these leads providing you with the necessary ROI on your SEO.
The second benefit of ranking highly in search engine results is that companies that have the top positions are often perceived as more established. On the basis of the search engine, a website which is ranked 1st is trusted more than a website which is hovering somewhere in the 3rd page of the search results.
The third benefit is that SEO is a great way to reach out to potential clients who are looking for ties within your sector. These may be new companies, established businesses unhappy with their current service provider, or they may even be international clients. The websites which tend to get the most visitors from search engines are those that rank in the first page of the search results. Generally speaking, in the first page the higher your page ranks the more clicks your website will get.
In very simple terms, how does SEO work?
When a person searches Google for “rent a car in malta”, Google will search for websites which specifically have the phrase “rent a car in malta” (or variations) in them. Your website must have the right keywords for it to show up in searches related to your sector. The right keywords show Google your website is topically relevant.
Another consideration is that websites which rank highly typically are linked to by many other websites. Google interprets a link as a “signal of trust” and so websites with many links pointing to them, are assumed to be “trustworthy” and thus rank highly.
The last variable which I shall mention is how ‘fresh’ the website is. If your website is not regularly updated and it is never mentioned on social media, then Google will pick up on this and interpret this as a signal of ‘inactivity’. The web is mostly about ‘what is new’ and if your website has nothing to offer in that regard, ranking highly in Google will be harder.
Apart from the above three, there are other variables which affect ranking, like site speed, site accessibility, domain age, etc… but discussing these is beyond the scope of this post.
How much does it cost?
Just like anything else, the cost of SEO varies according to the amount of work that is involved. Some keywords are more competitive than others and so more work is involved. For example, ranking for “hotel in london” is much harder than ranking for “hotel in gozo”.
However to give you an idea, a few hundred Euros can get you an SEO audit for your website, a custom document with guidelines on how to optimize your website and gain more links.
On the other hand, a more complete SEO campaign with ongoing work such as analysis of important KPIs, continuous link-building, content creation, and social media management etc… can cost several thousand euros.
It is important to keep in mind how much you have already invested in your website. You have to factor in not just the development cost of the website, but also the cost of the domain, web hosting, the cost of changes you’ve had done, and the time you’ve spent to get the website as it is. You might also wish to consider the opportunity cost of the business you have lost because you were “invisible” on Google. If people are not visiting your website, then the money you invested in creating your website has gone to waste.
If you are interested in SEO for your business website, contact an SEO service provider who’ll provide you with a consultation meeting (this is normally free) where your specific costs vs. expectations may be explained in more detail.
If you have any questions related to SEO, please feel free to get in touch with me.