Posted on June 22, 2021
Benefits of SEO for a small business: helping you prepare an exit strategy
I’ve been speaking to many entrepreneurs over the years, and, surprisingly, I noticed that very few of them have any kind of exit strategy for their business.
Somehow, they seem to assume that exiting the business is far off on the horizon, and they’ll deal with it if and when the day arrives.
However, the invaluable support and advice I receive from knowledgeable business coaches taught me that this is a big mistake that might cause these business owners to miss out on the significant benefits.
Indeed, if a business is a great acquisition target, it is also usually a great business to own.
From my professional perspective, I can measure how SEO can fuel a business’ growth daily.
Helping your site be found better on Google, SEO can help you develop a more robust exit strategy for your business by providing your business with natural areas of new growth.
Potential buyers will want to know how well your business can be found on Google when they take it over. They will appreciate the natural source of leads and sales that the business originates from organic search.
Many factors affect the valuation and overall marketability of your company.
A successful sale of your business will depend on how you are executing these key factors – now.
SEO is notoriously a long-term plan; investing in growing your rankings on Google in a favourable manner will allow you to develop a strategic exit plan. Whilst enjoying a more profitable business and an increased income while you are still running it.
Here are essential points to consider:
Website traffic, its sources and trends. A business must have a website with consistent and growing visitors, page views, time on site. You can track (and demonstrate to potential prospective buyers) all these elements on Google Analytics. In the Sources of Acquisition section, Google Analytics allows you to show where your website traffic comes from. Your traffic sources are critical as you want to demonstrate diversity and not significantly depend on a single referral source. Earned sources are the opposite of paid ones, like Google Ads and paid social traffic. Among earned sources, you have organic search (i.e. traffic from search engines that SEO can empower), referral traffic from third party websites, traffic from social media and direct traffic (which can often be correlated with brand awareness).
Earned sources are the most economically valuable sources of traffic for a business.
- Search marketing metrics. It is not unusual for a business (including some we’ve been working with) to be acquired because of their very appealing (and profitable) search rankings on Google. Buying a business implies acquiring their digital assets, including their domain, with its search rankings and acquired backlink profile. Getting them to a remarkable level will take time and effort, but it should be planned together with an exit strategy and will pay back with an increased business value.
- Online store. Digital assets can be very impactful factors in determining a business value. Make sure your site will offer a great experience and impression regarding the overall design, search and navigation, personalisation, user experience. UX influences SEO very closely and will generate more conversions to the website owner.
My esteemed friend Paul Shaw, a Business Doctor who specialises in helping SME owners grow the value of their business in preparation for sale adds
“A strong SEO profile is a critical factor in ensuring that your business achieves its maximum sale value. Commercial buyers value businesses with highly visible websites and a growing number of online customers more highly than businesses with a smaller digital footprint.”
Paul highlights that the other factors that enhance business value are:
- How valuable, trainable and repeatable the product or service mix is;
- How vulnerable the business is to the loss of a key customer, supplier or employee;
- Profitability and level of growth;
- How dependent the businesses is on its owner for all key relationships and decisions;
- How differentiated the business is from its core competitors;
- In what way and how intensively the business uses its cash;
- How highly customers rank the business (and how that is measured);
- How many recurring revenue streams the business has (and how secure they are).