Why Do You Need SEO: Answers That Singapore SMBs Need To Hear

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The straight answer is YES; SEO improves the visibility of your website in the search results to your ideal clients and, thus, the potential to improve brand awareness and conversion rates.

That, in a nutshell, is why you need SEO.

But then again, that response only answers the “why”. And for your site to rank competitively in the search results, you first need to answer the “how”.

It is this “how” part where many SMBs fail – as most don’t have a clear understanding of what’s needed to create an effective SEO campaign – much more know-how to implement it.

So if you are a Singapore-based SMB interested in starting or streamlining your SEO campaign, then you might want to read this article in its entirety.

And to kick off things, let’s start with the basics, shall we?

What is SEO and why you need it?

For you to fully understand the impact SEO has on your website and business as a whole, allow us to split it into two separate questions: What is SEO? and Why do you need SEO?

Sticker with the inscription SEO
Sticker with the inscription SEO

What is SEO?

SEO is a collection of processes that you need to implement to make sure that Google understands what your site is about, what keywords it should rank for, and where it should rank in comparison to other websites.

These processes include:

Website design – This pertains to the overall look of your website, how quickly it loads on computers and mobile devices, and how easy it is for users to navigate from one page to the next within your site.

On-site optimization – The focus is to make sure that your website is not blocking search engine bots (these are programs from search engines that visits your website) as well as the use title tags, and optimizing URL’s to name a few. As you can see, this process can be quite technical for someone new, or not that familiar with SEO.

Offsite optimization- This is the process of generating quality backlinks – which means getting reputable, or websites that are similar to yours, to link to content within your site. The more quality links you get, the better. Getting links from social media accounts is also a great example of this.

Content optimization – This involves keyword research (the process of collecting and determining the best search terms that users type into Google when searching), incorporating said keyword on your site’s content – within the correct amount, and creating content that is valuable for Google users. Also, pages within your site that have related topics should have links pointing to each other.

Speaking of keywords, they are at the centre of SEO and is what Google use to determine what search result category your site will appear in, and on what page.

For example:

If your business sells baby bottles, then your website must include (or target) search terms/keywords that are related to baby bottles.

This means that you should have a dedicated page on your website with optimized content that target’s the search term “baby bottles” – or other keywords related to it.

Once said page goes live, Google (as well as other search engines) will then compile all the content it collected that it believes targets the search term “baby bottle”.

The content that has the most SEO elements in it (we will discuss these elements later in this article) is then ranked on top of the search results for the keyword.

Did that make sense?

You can read more in our article What is SEO – Search engine optimisation.

Why do you need SEO?

The main reason why do you need SEO pertains to “search visibility”.

As an SMB, the biggest hindrance to business growth is not able to let more people know that your business exists.

Yes, you may currently have a decent-sized following and a set of loyal customers. But if you limit the scope of your business to the same set of individuals (or leads), then you are stifling the growth of your business.

As a business owner, we know that you believe you have a great product, or that your services can provide solutions to people. But without the ability to rank better in the search results, nobody will get to know about your products or service – or that your business even exists.

By implementing an effective SEO campaign, you allow your business to be seen by thousands of potential leads and customers.

Take this blog post, for example. If it didn’t rank well in the search results, would you have known that xSquare existed?

Does SEO really matter for Singapore SMBs?

Yes, it does!

Singapore is a highly urbanized city and is one of the key business hubs in the Asian region. That means that Singapore-based SMBs fight to dominate local, regional and global markets.

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And since almost every business these days has its own website, this means that whoever dominates the search result for a specific niche – be it local, regional or global – gets a bigger piece of the pie.

For us, though, the biggest benefit SEO can give Singapore SMBs is the ability to go head-on with more established regional and global brands.

In the real world, it’s a mountain to climb for an SMB to compete against a multinational company. They have a more established name; they have a huge advertising budget and have several teams working on their marketing strategy and campaigns at any given time.

The internet, though, has levelled the playing field, allowing SMBs like yours to directly compete with established brands with several times the workforce and marketing funds that you currently have.

So long as your website appears for the right search term, and if your products and services provide value to your customers, you will be able to take away revenue from bigger companies – without spending the same advertising budget that they do.

If that’s not enough to justify why your online business needs to implement a good SEO strategy, then we don’t know what will.

You can do SEO yourself, but do you have the time?

Yes, you can train yourself to do SEO.

All you need to do is go online, and you’ll see a multitude of “guide to SEO” and “how-to” blog posts explaining what you need to do and how.

And though this is a great help for SMBs, or for business owners that want to learn the process, the problem with too much information is weeding the good ones from the bad.

For example, how do you know which information you should follow, and how would you know if you’re doing things correctly?

For someone new to SEO, that can be too much to handle, not to mention that SEO can be quite a time- demanding.

Take, for example, the issue of “Standard/General SEO” and “Technical SEO”.

General SEO pertains to implementing around 200 factors directly affecting how a search engine indexes and ranks a website.

Technical SEO, on the other hand, has far fewer factors to deal with but – as the name suggests – “technical” matters like the security technology that links your site’s server to a browser, how “responsive” your site is, your site’s load speed, making sure that your site does not have duplicate pages or content, making sure that search engine bots can visit and navigate your site properly, and your site’s data structure.

Add to that the fact that you need to be aware – and quickly adapt – whenever Google does one of its algorithm updates, track how effective your SEO campaign is compared to your competitors, as well as tweak strategies on the fly, to name a few.

Look, we don’t want to discourage you from learning SEO or make things sound overly complex than what it actually is. But everything you read is deeply tied to an effective SEO campaign – and it can easily get very demanding, confusing and frustrating if you’re starting.

But if you want to give SEO a try, then maybe you can start with these basic ones:

Do some keyword research.

This is the process of finding the right keywords to use on your site and its content.

The idea is to find a keyword, or phrase, that is relevant to the product or services your business has – and then integrate them to your site’s content.

Do this right, and your site could rank for a search term that people use to look for products or services similar to what you offer.

TOP TIP: Make sure that the keywords you pick have decent monthly “search volume”, and has a low “keyword difficulty” score.

Search volume – this pertains to the number of people that used a specific keyword/search phrase each month. For example, if 5000 people searched for the phrase “basic SEO,” then its monthly search volume is 5000.

Keyword difficulty – this pertains to the number of websites trying to rank for a specific keyword. The higher the number, the harder it is to rank for the keyword.

Try writing optimized content.

The key components of optimized content are:

Keywords – you need to have a primary and set of secondary keywords to use on your content.

Keyword placement – this pertains to the exact number of times you should use a specific keyword based on the word count of your content, and where these keywords appear in your content.

Content length – this depends on the type and topic of your content. If it’s a standard blog post, make sure it’s at least 600 words to be safe. Some believe that longer is better, but the main point is to provide valuable information to your readers.

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Link building – your content needs to link out to other pages/sites, as well have links pointing to it from other reputable and similar pages/sites as well. The more good links you have, this hints to Google that your website has a wealth of information for the industry you’re in and can be considered an authority in the subject matter. This would make Google push your website higher up the search result rankings when it’s users search for the topic your website excels in.

Make sure, though, that the links pointing to your site are of good quality; from other reputable and trusted websites. Otherwise, Google, in turn, would think that you may be trying to cheat your way up the search ranking.

TIP: When doing your own keyword research, you can start by using Google Webmaster Tools, Google Trends or Google Search Console, and then move to more advanced tools in the future.

Write for human readers and search engines.

The idea is to create content that is appealing for both human readers and search engines.

Write for humans and search engines
Write for humans and search engines

For human readers, this means that your content needs to be engaging and informative to make them want to come back for more or share it with their contacts. And when it comes to writing for search engines, that’s where the search engine optimization part comes in.

Also, make sure first to check what your competitors are writing about. Check to see what topics are getting them the most traffic – and then use it to write something much better.

Anyway, yes, it seems like a handful – and it actually is.

And though it is quite doable, doing all of this on your own can quickly burn you out – as well as eat up on valuable time that you could have spent improving and growing your business.

So as much as we would like you to try SEO for yourself, we suggest that you leave this part to the experts.

What is Local SEO and why it’s better for Singapore SMBs’

Allow us to explain what Local SEO is through an example that we’re sure anyone can relate to – looking for food to eat.

If you order as much food as we do here at xSquare, then you may have used search terms like “best burgers in Singapore” or something like it, right? And the search results you got is a list of what Google believes to be the best burger joints in the country.

Now, what if you search “best burgers in Jurong East” or “best burger near me”. For the former, Google would provide you with a list of best burger joints in the locality that you mentioned.

That list of “local” burger joints that are the result of Local SEO.

So if you think about it, and so long as the search term has a decent monthly search volume, you can create a Local SEO campaign with the ability to narrow things down to a specific street within your city.

Not that convinced of how powerful Local SEO is?

What about using the search terms like “top fitness centre in Singapore”, or what about “medical clinics near me” – if you use your phone to do that search, and have your location turned on, it will give you a list of clinics near you.

As you can see, Local SEO allows users to see what products and services are within their locality easily. And by dominating local search, it instantly increases brand awareness towards your business.

If you’re a fitness centre, people living within your immediate location no longer need to go far to exercise. If you’re a medical clinic, people within your community will feel safe knowing there’s one nearby if an emergency happens.

Think of it as you putting up a real-world sign in your neighbourhood telling everyone that your business is just around the corner. That is of course if your website is search engine optimised (SEO).

Does that make sense?

TIP: You can start a Local SEO campaign on your own by registering your business with Google my Business.

PPC vs SEO which is better?

SEM or SEO
SEM or SEO

Both can work to your advantage. So this is basically a question of how much time you have, and how much money are you willing to spend.

SEO – you can create an SEO campaign without spending money by using free SEO tools and get organic traffic.

PPC – stands for Pay Per Click, and entails payment for each time someone clicks on your link via advertisements (or sponsored links as what Facebook calls them ).

We have been talking about standard SEO throughout this article, so let’s concentrate on PPC, ok?

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Think of PPC as you buying advertising space on Google.

You tell Google what keyword you want to target, and Google will show your link for that keyword in its search result.

Let’s use the key phrase “why you need SEO” as an example.

If you decide to go with a standard SEO campaign, then you have to go through all the SEO process manually we mentioned above to rank your website. This takes time and a lot of effort.

If you choose to go down the PPC route, then all you need to do is “bid” for the “why you need SEO” search phrase, and then your website will immediately appear on the search result for that search phrase right above websites that don’t advertise (or ones using organic way to reach the top of the search list).

While this may sound like a godsend, you need to take into consideration that other websites might also be targeting the search term. When this happens, a bidding war could start, increasing the amount you need to pay each time someone clicks on your link. And that is “if” you win the bidding war.

The higher the search volume of the search term is, the higher the value of its PPC campaign becomes.

Now if you have money to spend on PPC, then, by all means, go ahead. Just keep in mind that you still need to come up with a good keyword list to maximize each dollar you spend on the campaign.

Which option do we recommend?

From our end, we prefer the standard SEO method. And we’re not just saying that because we provide SEO services.

Do your own research, and you would see that standard SEO have better long term search engine results compared to PPC campaigns.

Why? You ask.

Well, PPC campaigns are a quick fix. And if you rely heavily on this method, and not able to sustain paying for it, you also instantly lose all the visibility you gained.

The idea behind standard SEO campaigns, on the other hand, is to build your way up the organic search results slowly.

Once on top, the only real way for you to get overtaken is the consistency of your campaign, and if your competition has a better SEO strategy compared to yours.

So yes, standard SEO is the safer and better option for small and medium businesses if you ask us.

What results does SEO bring to the table?

It connects you with ideal clients.

One of the biggest problems SMB’s have is how to diversify its client base – but at the same time connect with the right audience.

Through increased search visibility, an SMB will be able to get its sales message across to a broader – but “targeted” audience – increasing its chances of generating better leads, and converting them.

It’s cost-effective

The budget an SMB needs to implement an effective SEO campaign is very minimal, but the returns are quite substantial. – much more if you decide to go with organic SEO rather than a Pay Per Click campaign.

A steady increase in traffic and conversion could easily create business stability for even a newly formed SMB in just a matter of months.

Since campaigns can be customised to fit the current budget of an SMB, this allows for funds to be diverted to other parts of your business.

NOTE: You need to understand that even if you go with the Organic SEO route and do things on your own, you still have to pay for a good keyword research tool – as doing SEO the right way isn’t free. Aside from that, the only other investment you need to make is time.

It improves brand awareness.

The higher you rank on the search results, the more familiar your brand becomes to its target audience.

Plus, a business that appears high on search results has better chances of conversion than those that appear at the bottom of the list.

It gives you an edge over your competitors.

Like it or not, business growth is about competing with others within your industry – and making sure that you’re always ahead.

And with an effective SEO campaign, you are making sure that your business is more visible in the search results, making it more attractive (and trustworthy) compared to your competitors.

Anyway, we hope that this article has shed some light as to why do you need SEO and help you understand the benefits it provides for SMBs.

And if you need some clarification or help, please don’t hesitate to check out our SEO service or contact us, as we are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

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