Search engine optimization is at it's core the process of improving the quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page and in turn increasing the exposure of a business without the need for consistant upkeep or payment.
Search engine optimisation can be used by anyone for any business big or small and can have a massive effect in the long run. For example the most basic of examples would be if a potential customer was to search for a flower shop, and if said flower shop was in proximity to a customer then that would be the first flower shop the customer would see after a search. So what other benefits are there?
The online world is a new one, times change fast and with them so do opportunities to beat the system. Today SEO is widely considred the most populour marketing strategy and is even favoured compared to conventianal paid advertising. This is a huge win to the little guy because in a world where everyone is fighting for attention, the ability for a business to reach new customers completely free of charge, in a way has never been seen before.
If a business wanted to get ahead of the local competition I.E as previously mentioned allow a local customer to find a certain business first then i personally recommend Google my business as it's a completely free way for a business to display their location on a map and in turn show up on search results and gain reviews.
In many ways this is an example where the digital world reflects that of the real. For example advertisments in real life serve a varety of purposes other than the obvious... To advertise. One being the fact that seeing a brand out and about can build up a sense of trust in a persons mind, the thought process almost being 'well if they can afford to advertise here then they must be good'. And then when that person later glances past that product in a shop it feels like a connection has already been made, that same sense of trust in a brand. The same premise exists in the digital world and as basic as it sounds, a customer is more likely to trust a brand or business if they rank highest on search results.
SEO should also cover faster, smoother, and user-friendlier websites. Although most people still hang on to the old definition of SEO, thinking that it is only about optimising for the search engines, however, today SEO is also about improving user experience too. After all it's perfectly common for customers to be turned around instantly by a bad looking website and for sales this is definetely something that needs to be avoided at all costs.
The trouble with convential advertising is that it targets everyone equally. It's no good spending millions of pounds on an advertisment about badmington if the majority of people who see it don't care for the sport at all. Excusing the terrible analogy the point is money can be wasted on advertisments with little effect because there's too wider a target audience. These days, you almost definately have come across the annoying popups that plague approxamately an astounding 44% of websites. Cookies, the little popup that you think nothing of and click accept before continuing your day. For those that are unaware this is a method of harvesting data on the site you are on to allow advertisers to gain a better understanding of what you like to then target their advertisments at you. This is why if you are to google something you may in turn be given an ad about a product from said advertiser.