The Easy Answer: Yes. Absolutely and unequivocally yes. This is a no brainer in terms of business strategy and future outlook. SEO is not going anywhere. All indicators are that organic keyword searches are here to stay. This is partially because they’re a fundamental element of how search engines function. Even audio and video searches require at some level a keyword or string of keywords to deliver content.
Until the concept of the search engine itself changes, SEO is going to be a viable and valuable asset to small business owners. As long as that asset is available, small business owners should be engaging with this. Having said that, here are several things you should be aware of about SEO today.
The SEO game has changed drastically with new innovations in technology. These changes have forced companies to grow with the evolution of SEO or slip down the page, out of relevance and into obscurity. While this has scared some users off, it has encouraged others who recognize that any technology not willing to change with times will ultimately be left behind. In SEO terms the jump to mobile has provided a whole new platform to explore. Mobile users now outnumber desktop users with an increasing share each year. Like having a great physical location for your business, gaining visibility to mobile users in your local area is an invaluable tool. Mobile SEO makes this possible.
Your competitors are going to keep using it. That's a fact. The number of companies actively engaging in SEO practices has not reached levels where it pays to ignore the practice altogether. Even worse for small business owners who opt out of the SEO pool, big name competitors are ramping up their presence more than ever before. This means it is increasingly easy to get swallowed up by the big boys if you're not fighting for the market share you deserve.
Logistically speaking, SEO is one of the least cost intensive strategies to employ for any business with one of the highest ROIs. Why wouldn't you take advantage of a cost effective, profitable and minimally invasive investment into your business? Worst case scenario you find yourself with a more user friendly interface and a higher customer satisfaction rating. Best case you gain the most important asset a small business can attain: exposure. SEO is all about getting your name in front of as many qualified and interested customers as possible.
The search world has changed and Google has changed how it judges your presence accordingly. Social media and other factors that never mattered before all of a sudden have a real impact to your business. Google now goes back months, even years along your history to make judgments on your potential viability as an engaging result for its users. This means simple keywords aren't enough anymore. We have to be diligent in all fields to make sure we're keeping up with the changing world of socially driven technology. It's your responsibility to do everything in your power to give your business it's best opportunity to thrive in this environment.
So are small businesses required to worry about SEO? No, not really. You aren't required to do anything that puts your brand in front of the audience you intend to entice to your product. But should you? Absolutely. Every small business should be taking advantage of this functionality for as long as they can. More and more consumers rely on the internet to deliver them reviews, ratings, location details and company specific information every single day. Even something as simple as being able to pull up hours of operation can make the difference in decision making.
These are decisions that can't be made if the company can't be found. The single most powerful tool you can employ to make sure that your business gets found is SEO and its ever evolving components.