In this section we present another article of interest to Startups and Small Businesses
As part of their third annual Small Business Digital Marketing Survey, Clutch has published a series of research over the past month which examine how small businesses approach various digital marketing segments. Highlights of the report include
- Small businesses are investing more in SEO. 52% percent invested in SEO in 2016, a number that will grow to 74% in 2017.
- Small businesses are also increasing investment in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. A total of 65% will carry out a PPC campaign in 2017, up from 40% in 2016.
- Small businesses prioritize local search and on-site optimization as their primary SEO activities (52% each).
- Website traffic from search engines is the metric used by most small businesses to measure SEO effectiveness (56%).
- A majority (60%) of small businesses depend on internal resources for SEO over external resources, like an agency or SEO software.
Small Businesses Will Increase SEO Investments in 2017
More small businesses will embrace SEO as part of their digital marketing strategy in 2017 and beyond. Over half (52%) of small businesses invested in SEO in or before 2016, and an additional 22% say they plan to in 2017.
The projected increase in SEO investment counts the third consecutive year that small businesses indicate plans to expand their SEO efforts, according to previous research from Clutch.
Despite more small businesses embracing SEO, they remain behind the ball, according to John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility (link is external), a San Diego-based SEO company.
“Every single website online needs to have an SEO strategy on some level,” Lincoln said.
Small businesses don’t understand how important it is to be found for specific terms that relate to their business. They don’t realize that for most companies, as they grow over time, organic traffic or traffic from search engines is going to end up making up the bulk of their traffic and their revenue.
For Lincoln, the absence of wide-scale adoption of SEO represents small businesses lacking an understanding of the benefits SEO can provide, such as increased traffic and revenue.
Small Businesses Prioritize Local & On-Site Optimization
For small businesses, deciding which activities to direct their focus and resources is the first step of formulating an SEO strategy. Given that most small businesses operate on a local level, it is no surprise that a majority of small businesses (52%) prioritize local search optimization.
Small businesses favor local and on-site optimization tactics over other SEO activities, like creating high-quality content or guest blogging.
“Small businesses might have a hard time grasping the idea of quality content, especially when it comes to earned links,” said Andrew Eager, Director of SEO Strategy at Boostability (link is external), an Internet marketing agency. “They have limited resources, but they also have less competition.”
Without anything driving them to market themselves outside of a local radius, and with limited resources to do so, small businesses focus on building a local audience.
Experts Urge Small Businesses to Create More Content
Experts say that because of their limited resources, small businesses should direct their resources more toward content creation, as opposed to local and on-site optimization.
Chad Reid, of JotForm (link is external), an online form developer, suggests that creating content, meant to draw links back to your website, has the best bang-for-your-buck of any one particular SEO effort.
“Since SEO is resource-intensive, a better strategy is dedicating time to crafting great site content, not necessarily an army of backlinks,” Reid said.
Reid’s suggestion aligns with consensus from within the SEO community, which agrees that creating high-quality content can provide a solid cornerstone for a more effective SEO strategy.
Of course, one activity in isolation will not act as the magic bullet for small business SEO. Instead, quality content can play a seminal role as part of a larger, more comprehensive SEO strategy which can work to boost site search performance and increase traffic or revenue to a company’s digital platforms.
“A comprehensive SEO strategy involves a multitude of disciplines including technical SEO, on-page optimization, outreach, and content creation,” said Stephen Jeske, Senior Content Strategist for CanIRank (link is external), an SEO software vendor.
Creating high-quality content assets may be a particularly productive SEO activity for small businesses but can provide even better search results when combined with other activities.
Clutch surveyed 355 small business owners and managers to investigate how small businesses approach SEO as part of its 2017 Small Business Digital Marketing Survey. The small businesses surveyed have between 1-500 employees. 42% have fewer than 10 employees, while 50% have revenue under $1 million per year.
A link to the full report can be found here: https://clutch.co/seo-firms/resources/small-business-seo-in-2017-survey