Small business owners are always trying to get the most bang for their buck when it comes to marketing. Often, owners question if they should prioritise one form of marketing over another to save money. When it comes to deciding whether to prioritise SEO website content or social media marketing, SEO takes priority—but that doesn’t mean it’s an “either/or” situation. In reality, both SEO and social media marketing can be used together to boost the visibility of your business. Let’s take a look at why your website should come first.
Why Your Website Matters Most
Did you know that a whopping 97% of people use the internet to learn more about a local company? If you don’t have an optimised website, it means potential customers can’t find you and are giving their business to your competitors. If you don’t have a business website yet, make that your top priority. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to build a professional-looking website. Anyone who tells you otherwise is likely trying to sell you website building services.
Additionally, having your perfectly crafted and well-branded content in one organised online location allows you to carve out your own space on the internet. We know that social media platforms come and go—does anyone remember Vine?…MySpace?—and having your own site ensures that your content remains visible, searchable, and independent of social media platforms.
A quality website provides business owners a platform from which they can educate prospective clients on who they are with a well-crafted home page, blog posts, products and/or services pages, and an “about us” page. Taking the time to create cohesive content across all pages of your website will establish you as a professional, help visitors see you as an expert in your field, and give them a strong sense of who you are as a business.
Something else to consider—make sure the website you build is mobile-friendly. As of October 2020, 48% of all internet traffic happens on mobile devices. Odds are, if someone is searching for your business, they’ll be doing it from their phone so you want to make sure your website is easily viewed from a mobile device.
Up Your SEO Quotient
Hopefully, as you’ve been creating excellent content, you’ve also been working to optimise your SEO. This is the key to increasing the amount of traffic received by your site. If you find the idea of tinkering with your SEO daunting…don’t. Here are a few easy ways to help your site show up in online searches:
Name Your Image Files – Any images on your site should be high quality, uniform in editing, and on brand with your business. But, did you know they should also have searchable names? It’s not uncommon for images to be thrown into position on a website with the file name “screenshot.jpg”. While this might save you time, you’re missing out on an easy way to optimise your content for the web.
Every image on your website should be saved under a filename that is related to your location and product or service. Here’s an example:
You’ll want to make sure you’re using hyphens between words rather than underscores—Google has admitted their SEO bots can’t recognise the latter.
Make Sure Your Site Structure is Logical – It’s always a good idea to confirm the navigation from one part of your website to the next flows smoothly. While this may be the case when your website is fresh and new, it’s not uncommon for things to get clunky and bad links to appear as pages are added and your site becomes more detailed.
Spend time confirming that links are working and taking visitors where they’re supposed to go.
Identify and Use Keywords – You likely have a general idea as to what keywords you should be using on your website…but how can you be sure those are the best options?
An easy way to find out is to use a free service like Google AdWords. Sign up for an account, then use their Keyword Planning tool to do a little research. Once you’ve created a list of optimised keywords you can begin incorporating them into your website copy, blogs and alt text.
Optimise for Local Searches – Let’s be honest—unless yours is a global corporation, you want to make sure your business can be found by locals who are most likely to turn into paying customers.
If you haven’t done so already, claim your Google My Business page. The more detailed information you provide, the more likely your business will show up on Google map searches. It also makes your business easier to find and allows customers to contact you instantly, assuming your business phone number is listed.
Your Google My Business page is also a great place to post positive reviews of your business and/or services. The more positive reviews you receive and post, the higher you’ll begin to rank in searches.
Where Does Social Media Fit In?
The answer is…now!…after your website is established and you’ve created all of that gloriously relevant content with scads of SEO optimised blog posts, images and product pages. Your SEO-optimised content should always go up on your website first—to ensure it reaps all of the SEO benefits.
That’s not to say social media is irrelevant when it comes to SEO. Once content is on your site, share away on social media platforms using links that take visitors back to your site. Allow your posts to spread organically, or consider running a paid ad campaign. There’s no denying that, while social media may not directly affect your rank within Google, it can certainly increase your visibility…which increases the likelihood of followers linking to your content…which is one of the top SEO ranking factors.
Should you prioritise website SEO over social media marketing? I think you should. Does that mean you must choose one over the other? Absolutely not. By putting your website SEO first, your business will benefit in the long run. And, by integrating a strong social media campaign into your business plan, you’ll have your search engine optimised content in front of fresh eyes on a regular basis. When managed properly, website SEO and social media marketing are powerful tools that can work together to build your business and brand awareness.