One of the biggest concerns that most people have when they go into business for themselves is the uncertainty of the marketplace.
During the last recession, more than 170,000 small businesses folded, just between 2008 and 2010.
Many of these businesses were healthy before the recession hit, but found themselves floundering as the population suddenly became more careful with their money.
This didn’t just affect small businesses (massive mergers turned many big businesses in to one, larger, more stable business), but small businesses definitely took the hardest hit.
These closures didn’t necessarily have to do with any failure on the owner’s part; rather, they were a result of a shrinking economy, in which fewer people were making purchases, and less money was moving through the system.
There are always indications that the market is about to slow down and the savvy business owner can see these indications and buckle down for bad weather.
While the economy is still recovering and more and more people are willing to spend their money, especially with small businesses, after they watched big business after big business be bailed out by the government, it is still in every business owner’s best interest to make sure their business is economy-proof.
SEO is one of the ways you can make sure that your business will succeed in sunshine and in rain. Here’s how:
1. High search ranking equals sales.
If you have something that people want (which you do, or you wouldn’t have opened a business), they will buy it, despite the state of the economy, if they can find it.
Whether or not you’re the cheapest, if you’re the first they can find, and your sales pitch is convincing, you’ll be able to sell your product, even if your competition is having a rough time getting people through their doors.
2. SEO maintains your online business, even if your physical business is seeing less traffic.
A major mistake made by many businesses in the last decade was not taking their business to the internet.
It’s where everyone lives and works now, but five years ago, it was still sort of a novelty for most small businesses to have their own website.
If small businesses didn’t have a website or an e-commerce website and expected people to continue to visit them at their brick and mortar stores, they were missing out on a huge portion of the business they could have been doing.
If your physical business starts to see less traffic, as most do during a recession, you will need to have a robust online business to keep your doors open.
Just about every business can be conducted, in some capacity, online.
3. SEO keeps you up with the times.
Because search engine optimization must be constantly evolving in order to keep up with the changing whims of the internet and its users, those who use it must constantly be researching their customers, what they want, and how they look for it online.
This keeps your business on top of trends, developments, and the overall mood of today’s consumer in a way that businesses who do not do this kind of research cannot fathom.
When you know what people want and how to present your product or service as something that they want, you’ll be golden no matter how much trouble your competition is having.
4. SEO encourages the creation of evergreen content.
One of the reasons so many online businesses fail is because they have crappy content.
It’s true—while a user might first judge your website based on its looks, he/she will quickly move on to judging it by its brains, or rather, the content that you’ve filled it with.
If your page is filled with nonsensical content that is designed only for search engines, not only will it no longer work for search engines, it will drive your visitors away.
SEO encourages you to create content that will be indefinitely valuable, which means that it will bring people to your webpage for the foreseeable future.
Of course, some industries develop so quickly that there is no way to truly prevent any fading, but for the most part, the great content that SEO wants you to create will keep your webpage useful even as others fall by the wayside.
5. You build a positive reputation.
Why do some small businesses fail while others are more than a hundred years old?
Look at the example of Reed’s Dairy.
Anyone who as ever visited Idaho has probably seen their products in stores.
They’re a relatively small, local dairy that puts potato flakes in their ice cream to give it a uniquely thick and silky texture.
They’ve built their reputation as a high-quality, unique shop and that reputation has carried them through every depression and recession in their long history as a family-owned business.
One of SEO’s best tactics is to guest post on popular blogs, participate in forums, and just in general make yourself a staple of the community.
When you do that, your name is the first that people remember when they think of that community and industry, and your reputation will continue to bring you business, for years to come.
If you want to make an economy-proof business, SEO has to be part of your marketing campaign.
While it is technically marketing, it is so much more—it can help you build a strong, ethical business that will rake in profits, even as other small businesses close their doors.
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