Small Business Marketing – The Facts

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Digital Marketing is one of the most important marketing projects that any business can undertake. Whether they want to establish a strong online presence, increase brand awareness, increase traffic to their website or retail stores or increase qualified leads, SEO can help with all aspects. The level of competition online in any industry is ever increasing so a solid SEO strategy can be the difference between success and failure.

For small businesses, the decision on how to approach SEO is even more pivotal as most small businesses cannot afford to compete with the marketing budgets the big brands in their respective industries will have at their disposal. However, this is where SEO steps in to help level the playing field. The search engines are in a sense a virtual high street, serving up the most relevant results in various ways for the user to access the most applicable content to meet their needs. Not so surprisingly, the majority of users don’t venture any further than the first page of results making it obvious that aiming to become part of the first page of the results for relevant keywords is the key to driving traffic and leads to your site.

All too often small businesses approach search marketing using more traditional although somewhat potentially ineffective methods such as Pay per Click (PPC). Although the initial attraction to PPC is clear as it provides a relatively easy way to gain a 1st page presence as well as an easy way to track; measure and analyse your campaigns, it is a technique that, if not conducted correctly, can result in high costs and a low return on investment (ROI). In addition to this, most small businesses don’t have A) A budget to sustain consistent results or compete on high priced keywords and most importantly B) the number or quality of staff to manage a PPC campaign that will have the ability to outperform competing PPC campaigns. Not to say PPC doesn’t have its place but it has to be handled with so much more time and care than most people are aware of.

So, if you own or are part of the marketing team for a small to medium sized business, you’ve realised that SEO is the way to go, but where do you begin? The world of SEO is so vast from on page optimisation and social media strategies to link building and article creation and submission, it is understandable that small businesses look at it as a daunting and time intensive task and many tend to either attempt it with limited knowledge half heartedly, if at all, which is a frightening thought. A lot of small businesses tend to start by using people with limited knowledge of the relevant techniques, such as web designers (These people are not usually from marketing backgrounds and will not have the focus a true search engine marketing agency can provide).

Worse still, they look to employ poor quality Search Engine Marketing (SEM) agencies who use limited optimisation techniques and pride themselves on 1st page positions rather than increased traffic or leads. Unfortunately, this usually dupes customers into thinking more 1st page positions must mean more traffic or leads. However, it isn’t as simple as that as these companies will generally look for low competition, less relevant and low volume keywords and phrases meaning although they may have provided a first page position for a term, if it is a term that is only searched 25 times per month, you may get an extra 5-10 visitors per month depending on your 1st page position….it that worth paying for, unfortunately, I would have to say no.

The solution should therefore be clear by now; find a Search Engine Marketing agency that covers SEO from all angles and will provide a bespoke service depending on your priorities as a business, from a team that is there to work with you long term and can provide SEO improvements from start to finish on high traffic, high competition keywords and phrases. That way, you are investing in the whole SEO Pie rather than just a slice. This can come at much less of a cost than you would expect and unknown to most it is highly measurable with a potentially extremely effective ROI.