In my experience, small businesses are definitely not paying enough attention to search engine optimization. Nine times out of ten, the small businesses I come across are not taking advantage of even the most basic techniques to optimize their sites. Many small businesses believe that having a site is all that they’ll need for Internet marketing – the “If you build it, they will come” mentality. But a beautiful site that isn’t optimized is like a skyscraper in the desert – a beautifully constructed but seldom visited cobweb farm.
When small businesses do initiate SEO campaigns on their own, they are often inclined to turn the project over to a webmaster or internal IT resource, rather than their marketing person. Unfortunately, a technical person is bound to look at optimization as a strictly technical exercise, disregarding the terms of service of the major search engines and optimizing the site with tricks that the engines disapprove of, such as doorway pages or hidden text. If this happens, the site runs the risk of being penalized or removed altogether from the engines. And the reality is that small businesses are more likely to be penalized than large companies. Look at the recent case where Google removed BMW from its listings. It took over three years of BMW violating Google’s TOS for that to come about, and then the listing was reinstated within a day. Small companies don’t have that sort of pull.
It’s a shame that small businesses don’t utilize search engine optimization on their company sites because they have the capability to outperform their larger competitors. Large companies move very slowly, and SEO is still an “unproven” channel that many of them are unwilling to embrace. A smaller company can pursue SEO without the Fortune 500 hassle of scheduling an endless series of strategy meetings and, ultimately, making a board presentation. In addition, small businesses usually are able to quickly make changes to their company site that facilitate better rankings, because they won’t have nearly as many hoops to jump through as a corporate entity. The bottom line? Search engine optimization is definitely a marketing channel that small businesses should be exploiting because the return on investment of an effective SEO campaign is unmatched by any traditional advertising channel.
—Scott Buresh, CEO, Medium Blue.
Most small businesses aren't paying enough attention to SEO. Why? At first, It can appear very confusing. Many of the search engine optimization "experts" have directly conflicting views of how to rank at the top. There are also many websites that claim they can get you to the top of the search engines, but in reality they are either a complete scam or they use techniques that could get your site banned!
The search engines are constantly changing their algorithms, so it seems like trying to optimize a website is a constant uphill battle. But that's not necessarily the case. There are many things small businesses can do to their site to improve their rankings. On-page factors such as what they put in their title tags, headlines, etc can often make a big difference. Also, if a small business focuses on adding good, relevant content to their site on an ongoing basis, they are sure to win in the long run.
If a small business understands the basics of SEO - and works on providing their visitors with good content - they will be on the right track towards ranking at the top!
—Brad Fallon, CEO, Smart Marketing.