Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Here’s Some Research to Back Up My Nagging: SEO Works

February 24, 2016

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an absolute must, especially for small businesses. Are you using it?

Todd Martin 022416 image 1

I’ve written before about the importance of using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in your online content. If you keep the principles of SEO in mind as you’re writing, your chances of appearing high in the list of search results are increased.

This is really, really important for small businesses. Big businesses have advertising budgets and professional staff writers and name recognition (but they, too, have to practice effective SEO). Smaller companies have to fight harder to climb the massive Google ladder.

(If you’re unfamiliar with the principles of SEO, check out this Google tutorial.)

Clutch, a B2B research firm, today released the results of a study that surveyed 352 U.S. small business owners and managers. The majority of those who responded had 1-10 employees and brought in less than $1 million in annual revenue. The study was conducted to answer this question:

In what ways does search engine optimization (SEO) and paid online advertising factor into a small business’ digital marketing strategy?

Think about your own online marketing strategy for a minute. Do you have one? If you’re constantly in a quandary about what content to produce, where to post it and when, you probably don’t. So take a step back and do some soul-searching. What do you hope to accomplish through your presence on your own website and on social media sites? Know why you’re there and what you’re trying to do, and your editorial calendar will be easier to put together.

But back to the study. Here are some of the results that I find interesting:

  • Slightly more than half of the respondents said they had a website. This is no longer an option. Every small business should have at least a point-of-presence website with a good, simple domain name.
  • Half of those that do have a website don’t engage in SEO. Half. That means that roughly only a quarter of small businesses are doing whatthey can to be found online. These are the companies that are getting your customers.
  • 34 percent of U.S. small businesses hire an SEO expert to help their placement in online searches. The reason most often cited by those that don’t? Cost.
  • Of the small businesses that do engage in SEO, 57 percent focus on onsite optimization and local search optimization (which are worthy efforts), while only 25 percent focus on creating quality content that earns links. Again, your prospects are probably finding what they’re looking for elsewhere if you’re not doing this.
  • As for paid online advertising, which can position you at or near the top of a search engine results page, only 26 percent take advantage of this avenue. This is a budget issue, and I can’t tell you to spend money that you don’t have.

From what the study uncovered, though, it looks like things may be changing over the next year or so. 60 percent of small businesses are planning to implement an SEO strategy by 2017 or later.

If you’re not in that 60 percent, your competition is about to get a lot tougher.




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