Should my small businesses care about SEO?

A lack of awareness and knowledge of the benefits that Search Engine Optimisations (SEO) can bring means that 60 per cent of SME marketers are not investing in SEO(1).  A benchmark study of the top 50 SME websites in the UK, identified by The Times, revealed a lack of knowledge about SEO as they weren’t aware of the benefits it could bring.

Results of the survey found:

  • 22 per cent did not know what SEO was, and therefore didn’t invest
  • 20 per cent were aware of SEO yet chose not to allocate any budget for it
  • 18 per cent chose to spend their money on paid search instead
  • Only 15 per cent invested in search and considered it either an important or crucial part of their marketing strategy

What are their plans for SEO investment?

  • 11 per cent of SMEs plan to increase their investment in SEO over the next 12 months, 5 per cent plan to reduce spending in this area, while 22 per cent will keep their SEO budget at the same level.
  • 14 per cent considered SEO either important or vital to their business in the next year, 29 per cent have no plans to do anything about SEO.
  • 14 per cent said they planned to hire an SEO agency, while 23 per cent plan to keep their SEO strategy either completely or partially in-house.

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So what are the benefits of SME’s adopting SEO?

Cost effective – The one thing large corporations have that you most likely won’t is a large marketing budget, without comparable budgets, it can make it difficult for you to compete in the same market space. With SEO, it doesn’t matter how big of a budget you have, you could compete effectively and on the same level as everyone else as it’s not based on monetary value. As long as you follow a few basics and spend some time on it, you can gain just as much exposure as any other firm in the market space.

Raises your brand awareness – All businesses will have a brand; this is your identity to help you succeed, however people aren’t going to know about you or your brand if you don’t tell them about it. SEO does this for you automatically by increasing traffic to your site; you can increase awareness of your brand to virtually anyone on the web.

Stay competitive – Most businesses now will be utilising SEO to increase their visibility, so if you’re not doing it, your competitors probably will be. This means they’ll be gaining advantage over you; when customers search for your product or service, they could see your competitor’s website first instead of yours. You need to use SEO to stay in the game, if not be ahead of the game.

Increases credibility – Websites and businesses that top search engine rankings have a better reputation than the ones that come lower down the list, since sites are ranked by their effectiveness and usefulness.  Even if customers don’t know this is how websites are ranked, how often do you scroll to the third or even the second page of a search engine? Bettering your ranking will increase your traffic, conversion and sales.

Sources: 1 econsultancy; techgeek