SEO for beginners. What is it? And do I need it?

When chatting with my small business clients about SEO, I’ve noticed a general trend.


Its called “Blank Face”. And it happens for a variety of reasons. For some, they’ve never heard the term. For others, they know it has something to do with their site showing up in Google.


Either way, it sounds too complex and it sounds like a lot of money


So “blank face”.


Truth be told, I’m not surprised.


But if you’re playing in the online space, the mystical SEO will continue to pop up.  So the purpose of my post is this;


  1. To arm you with a simple SEO definition (no jargon I promise)
  2. To help you decide – do I need SEO for my small business?


And as a bonus, I’ve prepared a resource for you to keep on hand  – “SEO Basics – a Guide for Newbies”.  That way, if you do decide to go down the SEO path, you’ve got the confidence to be actively part of the conversation.


So let’s get started.


What is SEO?


Let’s say you have (or your planning to have) a website for your business.


You’ve got some great content, you’ve got a cool design you launch your site and…. crickets.


Ok, so you now need to somehow drive some traffic to your page.  There are a tonne of ways to do this but;


“if your goal is to have your website appear in the organic search results, then SEO (and subsequently this post) is relevant for you”


If you’re not quite sure what I mean by “Organic Search Results”, take a look at the image below. Up the top, Google displays the paid ads. Underneath this, where the map appears, you will typically see Google My Business listings, and underneath this, are the organic search results.


Local Search Example


How does SEO work?


In a broad sense, Google ranks the pages that appear in their organic results based on three main things:

  • Relevance
  • Quality and
  • Authority.


Which makes sense because that’s what you, as the end user would expect when you click on a search result from Google.


  • The result is relevant to your search query
  • The content is of high quality
  • It’s a website you can trust




Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is simply applying tactics to achieve relevance, quality and authority. It’s  about making changes on your website so search engines can

  • find your pages
  • understand what they’re about
  • and rank them where relevant.

For the purpose of this post, let’s call this “On-site SEO”.


And it’s about getting other websites to link to yours (which helps to build your authority). Which we’ll term “Off-site SEO”.


The thing is, for those originally put off by SEO because you thought there was a lot of work in it, well, you were right.  Which begs the question for many small businesses – do I need SEO?  


Do I need SEO?


I’m going to be hugely controversial here and say it…


Not every website needs or wants SEO.


Here’s why.


Little or no competition

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve stumbled across a business or a site that has no real SEO and they rank number 1 for both their business name AND at least one other key search term.


And the reason is, the search term the site is ranking for has little or no other online competition.


Here’s an example


Let’s assume there are eight carpenters in Jonestown. Of these eight, only one has taken their business online. So then if someone types into Google – “Carpenter Jonestown”, as long as the site is reasonable ok and has relevant content, they’re likely to show up fairly close to position 1.


That being said, the world evolves, and a competitor can easily pop up and fight for the rank.


Business is happy not attracting traffic from Google search

For some businesses, the purpose of their website is not to generate new leads from search traffic, it’s instead to provide business credibility if for example, someone types their business name into Google or if they are directed from other channels.


In these cases, the business may prefer to use other marketing tactics to drive traffic to their site such as social or paid search, directory sites etc.


In any case, if you’re having a new site built, I do think it’s worth spending a bit of time on some basic onsite SEO set-up.  For me, I liken it to building a house. You should always spend time building strong foundations.


SEO – What’s involved?

With what you’ve learned so far, if you’re thinking  SEO might be worth further exploring for your business, then it’s time to upskill your knowledge on the basics.


I’ve put together a guide on the things I believe you’re most likely to come across. I want to give you the confidence to join the conversation.


It’s time to gain some clarity.


And I’ll also be addressing the question: Do I need to Pay Someone to do my SEO?”  To get your free copy delivered to your inbox, complete your details below.


* We simply use your email address to send you the guide.

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