The future is digital, and SEO – “small enterprise optimisation” is the answer to SME growth.

Who would have thought? Two years later, after the COVID-19 outbreak and days after the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced the end of the National State of Disaster – most businesses across the globe are unbelievably still trying to adapt the “new normal”.

But undoubtedly, the pandemic had a significant impact on global economies and SMEs facing financial constraints, operational challenges, limited access to funding and diminishing cash reserves. There is, however, no more important time for SMEs to pay attention to digitalization and migrating to e-commerce platforms.

According to McKinsey & Company, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute significantly to economies around the world. In OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, SMEs account for about 99 percent of firms and 70 percent of all jobs, and they contribute more than 50 percent of GDP in high-income countries worldwide. But between February 2020 and April 2021, 70 to 80 percent of SMEs across 32 countries lost between 30 and 50 percent of their revenues.

In most parts of the country, SMEs fail to meet customer needs due to inaccessibility, high shipping rates, or simply the lack of a robust and efficient online presence. Additionally, Internet users share similar sentiments regarding Google search results globally. Some say: “If it is not the first page, it does not exist.” Others say: “If you need to hide any information, use the second page in Google’s search results, no one will find it! Page 2 is where the forgotten content and websites go to die.” But, of course, you don’t want your business to end up on the “Google graveyard”, do you?

According to multiple studies, only 25 percent of users go to the second search results page. That means 75 percent of users stick to the first page. Statistics indicate over 41 million Internet users in South Africa as of January 2022, with the highest population of users between the ages of 25 and 34 at 17.2 percent.

Starting a business requires extensive market research and an understanding of industry competitors. Moreover, SMEs need precise brand positioning to communicate service and product offerings effectively to the intended target audience. However, due to the pandemic and the surge of the 4IR (4th Industrial Revolution) technologies globally, SMEs had to migrate from brick and mortar to e-commerce platforms to meet customers wherever they are in their time of need. However, the transition has not been easy for most SMEs due to a lack of information and access to funding opportunities for digital marketing services. Therefore, SMEs must understand and leverage the free and paid search engine optimisation (SEO) tools and services available at their disposal. Optimising a website from the development stages should be a top priority for SMEs. Digital marketing agencies nationwide aim to bridge the gap between SMEs and customers necessary for online business sustainability. Therefore, SMEs must understand SEO basics, keyword research, technical SEO, and on-page and off-page SEO. For SMEs to attain a good ROI on their SEO strategy, they need to follow a comprehensive and detailed guideline or checklist for effective website optimisation.

The SEO recommendations include tools and integrations that assist businesses to achieve online visibility, driving traffic, increase sales, and growing revenue. Search engine optimisation is an ongoing process that requires a joint effort between entrepreneurs, SEO specialists and marketers, and web developers. Google’s search engine follows three basic steps: crawling, indexing, and ranking; to ensure that websites are visible on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Understanding how search engines generate search results can reduce financial risks for SMEs in 2022. SMEs must set measurable, relevant, and achievable business goals.

If you want to optimise your small business, please holla at us. We can provide you with a complimentary SEO toolkit and site audit to kickstart your online optimization journey. Get 50% OFF your first month when you sign a six-month Power SEO contract with Digital Optimization.

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