“77 per cent of all internet-users use the top five natural search results so if you’re willing to invest money in achieving a good search position, you really will see a massive uplift in your business,” explains Lucy Allen, MD of Netrank, the Exeter-based company founded in 2000 which specialises in search engine optimisation.
That applies to SMEs as much as any other company. Regardless of your size, if you manage to beat the big boys to the top of the rankings then you’re the one who’s going to get the business, not them.
“We do a lot of work for very small businesses such as Terry’s Fabrics. It’s a family-run business that has moved online and is really bashing the hell out of Hillarys and John Lewis by having a very tight internet strategy that we have helped them out with,” says Allen. “Not only are they at the top of their internet niche, but they’re also one of the UK’s leading vendors of curtains and curtain accessories.”
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By focusing on blind-related keywords last month, Netrank helped boost Terry’s Fabrics’ search engine positions from 119 to 176 – a 48 per cent increase in one month alone. “I love working with small businesses because it means we can see how the work we are doing translates; not only have we improved their search positions but their sales have also increased and they’re now moving into new product areas on the back of the work that we’re doing,” says Allen.
Terry’s Fabrics proves that search is a democratic environment for SMEs because Google and other big search engines don’t care about your brand. “The main three pillars of SEO are content, the architecture of your site and both the number and quality of your inbound links.”
If a client is really committed to improving their SEO performance, Allen suggests: “it only takes about one month to six weeks to significantly lift their search rankings.”
Allen says there are still many opportunities for SMEs working in niche areas to optimize on natural search and transform their online business. And once you’ve put all the hard work in, you can sit back and enjoy the rewards: “It’s much more expensive to acquire a number one position than it is to maintain it once you’re there.”
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