Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a low-cost marketing tactic that helps boost your rankings in internet search engine (Google, Bing and the like) results. However, contractors and other business owners often question if SEO for small business can really be time- and cost-effective for them. Here’s what you need to know:

• If you sell or market your business online, SEO is a must. SEO is necessary “whenever you want to attract customers to your website, or whenever you want to sell your products or services online,” said Kevin John Gallagher, director of client success for marketing firm Stargazer Digital. SEO also helps you stand out from competitors.


• More mobile searches make SEO more important than ever for small local businesses. To understand how SEO can help your company reach customers through their smartphones or computers, think of your own behavior, suggested Antonella Pisani, owner of retail discount website Official Coupon Code. She explains, “When you go to a new store, restaurant or even doctor, you likely start on Google or another search engine, right?” Pisani said. Being found on search engines is critical for large, small, local and ecommerce businesses alike.


• SEO generally offers higher impact (over time) and lower cost than almost any digital marketing tool. In fact, for small companies without millions (or sometimes even hundreds) to spend on mass media advertising, SEO is a low-cost way to drive web and foot traffic. Although there are plenty of paid SEO tools and professional firms, you can begin implementing SEO best practices for free.


• Even if your business doesn’t have an official website, you can still benefit from SEO. If your company doesn’t have a website, you can still take steps to help customers find you online. Establish your web presence on business listing directories like Manta, Yelp and Google My Business. “Online business listings, or citations are critical for local and overall search engine optimization,” said Brandon Wright, chief marketing officer for Salt Lake City-based digital marketing agency ThoughtLab.