Ranking High For Revenue: Why Salons Need SEO
Particularly during the corona-virus pandemic, it has become all the more important that online activity translate into real revenue for a salon. Without a data-driven strategy, it’s easy to lose money to inefficient paid advertising, post on social media without constructive calls to action, or simply do nothing to promote your salon.
In this post, we will touch on one aspect of an online presence that you cannot neglect if you want your salon to compete and bring in more revenue: ranking high in search results. SEO is a concern for most businesses nowadays, making it essential to address if you don’t want to be swallowed up in our attention economy.
Before we dive into its benefits, let’s clear up the distinction between different types of SEO for small businesses. Firstly, there’s local search. Customers search for services in their local area, often with high intent to buy. These searches generate the “local pack,” the three Google business listings you see on the right side of the page. Secondly, there’s organic search. We’re all familiar with this one: these are the results that appear on the page below ads and the local pack, depending on your search. These two search varieties require different strategies but mutually reinforce one another. SEO success does require strong initial input and later maintenance, but it’s definitely worth it in the long-term.
To illustrate, here are three ways SEO proves its ROI.
Customers Can Find You
It will come as no shock that ranking high helps people find you (that’s the literal purpose of SEO), but it can be tempting to view rankings as an added bonus rather than an essential. Think again: less than 1% of Google searchers click on something from the second page. Moreover, there is a strict hierarchy on page one, with the top three results getting around 75% of clicks.
If you want customers to consider your salon, click on your website and book an appointment, it’s critical to be on page one of the search results, especially when you factor in how many people make purchasing decisions online. Furthermore, ranking high as a salon is entirely achievable if you take basic steps.
For local SEO, this will mean creating an accurate Google My Business profile, managing reviews, and generating citations. For organic, you need to think about your content, website optimisation, backlinks and more. Of course, these are not isolated concerns. Moz’s 2020 local SEO industry report revealed that 88% of marketers correlate aspects of organic search with local pack success. Developing a strategy in both areas will get your salon in front of customers, making it easy for them to choose you.
You Save Ad Money
There is much debate over the benefits of pay-per-click (e.g. Google Ads) versus organic results. Organic has the most success in informational searches, whereas PPC is more effective when users search for products using keywords with high commercial intent. When it comes to driving business to a brick-and-mortar salon, however, local/organic search is the clear winner.
Statistically, people prefer to click on these results, and it’s easy to imagine why. Especially when searching for a business in their community, customers value the credibility that comes from good reviews and high organic rankings. This is great news for salons, as Google Ads can be a huge financial drain, especially for inexperienced users. It’s also an untenable form of visibility; once you stop paying, your spot on page one is gone.
SEO may not be free, requiring time and expertise, but it has a better ROI for a small business.
Organic Search Attracts “Good Fit” Traffic
High rankings often work out for everyone. Customers find what matches their search intent, and you in turn receive customers who are genuinely interested in finding a salon. Marketing efforts that are not search based, such as demographic-based social media ads, don’t capitalise on purchase intent in the same way.
This is not limited to searches with high purchase intent either (i.e. customers searching for a nearby salon to visit immediately). As you well know, customers take their hair seriously and will likely conduct thorough research before visiting a salon. They want to find a) the perfect style to ask for and b) the right salon for the job.
An optimised website allows you to respond to both of their queries by providing information about different styles and offering your corresponding services. Customer queries aren’t limited to “hair salon [location].” They are searching for specific treatments, organic salons, vegan dyes etc. Creating specific pages on your website for each service you provide, complete with customer FAQs, is a great conversion opportunity. Customers who search for these keywords will discover your salon organically and place trust in your expertise after receiving high-quality information. This is the essence of content marketing for all businesses, and there’s no reason it can’t be creatively adapted to bring in revenue for a salon.
Two Birds with One Stone: Local SEO and Reviews
SEO is also a great business asset because of its overlap with basic salon concerns such as reviews. Reviews are an essential source of credibility for salons and often determine whether a customer chooses you and a competitor. As such, review management is an increasing priority for small businesses.
Fortunately, Google recognises this state of affairs and incorporates it into the local SEO algorithm. Although not the sole determinant by any means, good reviews are imperative if you want to make it into the three pack—and if you want customers to choose you once you’re there. Salons should make use of all the marketing channels available to them, from social media to email campaigns, but local SEO is arguably the best at responding to all salon needs. It recognises that, as a brick-and-mortar business, a salon must appear on local maps, accompanied by positive reviews and a website with information about specific services.
As you have seen, SEO (both local and organic) is a great way to guide the right customers to your salon without the burden of excessive paid advertising. As you continue to create high-quality content and receive more reviews, citations, and links, your online presence will grow more robust and durable, translating into a long term ROI. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, so take the first steps today and keep your eyes on the horizon.