A lot of small businesses have traditionally not seen the need for SEO or even an internet presence.
Businesses like carpet cleaners, roofers or plumbers have traditionally got business by word of mouth or advertising and some are only recently seeing the value of having a website and managing SEO.
Many small business owners have been in business a long time and are confused by the rapid advance of the internet and online marketing, they see SEO as overly technical and do not understand how it works.
For a long time if you had a business, you would perhaps put an advert in the paper or in yellow pages and maybe get business cards printed. This worked for decades for traditional small business owners and so they don’t understand or see the need for SEO.
This means that a big divide has developed between search engine optimisation and small business marketing, often with frustration and resentment expressed on the part of the small business owner because they can’t or don’t want to embrace online marketing.
This is a shame because small businesses often need and could really benefit from SEO. However where as big business can afford to experiment with SEO, small businesses really need to get it right because they don’t have big budgets.
It makes it harder for small business owners to understand SEO when the rules keep changing however. The Panda algorithm update last year sent some people into a spin because those who had keyword stuffed their website or posted industry articles that didn’t contain quality content were suddenly penalised by Google.
Another pitfall is that SEO often seems like a cheap internet marketing option, compared to PPC advertising. However, although natural search ostensibly involves no-cost tweaking of your website so that it appears higher on the internet, many small business owners do not understand how to do this.
Therefore they employ SEO agencies to do this for them and are then worried about quick results and return on investment for the money they’ve invested, often then complaining if it doesn’t bring as quick results as PPC.
It is not easy to measure ROI for SEO, as agencies can never promise to get a company to the top of Google, and so therefore many people distrust it. This often leads small businesses to claim SEO doesn’t work.
With all these negatives it can be hard to convince small businesses about the value of SEO. However, a reputable SEO agency can show small businesses that the basics don’t change and as long as their website has quality search engine optimised content and inbound links it can boost business.
Managing a small businesses search engine optimisation so that they begin to see results via more people visiting their website and converting into new customers is also a good way to convince them of SEO’s value.
So, SEO can work for small business and it is up to experienced SEO managers and agencies to convince their clients of its value through improved business results.