If you ask any small business owner where they spend their time and money looking for new customers, they will invariably say two things – advertising and word of mouth. This makes sense: these are two easy things to understand. But just because something is easy to understand doesn’t make it effective!
Take Search Engine Optimization (SEO), for example. SEO is viewed as black magic by most small business owners. As a result, they don’t focus on it at all, or they hire an expert to work on it for them. One of those experts wrote a blog post recently about a potential customer that wanted to study the impact of a paid advertising campaign on their organic search. The article is enlightening for those folks that are interested in the technical aspects of keyword management. But it was the “tweetable moment” in the article that caught my eye:
If SEO accounts for 40% of your revenue shouldn’t it account for more than 0.04% of your marketing & tech budget?
I’m confident that the 40% and 0.04% numbers are made up, but the intent is correct. The time has come to make SEO easier so that small business owners can understand it like they do with advertising. Of course, the irony is that most small businesses that “understand” advertising will also tell you they have no idea when or how it works for them.
To take this one step further, for a hyperlocal business, Local SEO is more important (and more effective) than advertising – those small businesses that primarily serve customers in their community. As consumers move en masse to mobile, the entire concept of advertising and word of mouth is changing. Small business owners would be wise to think through how their marketing budgets are set and make sure that SEO and Local SEO are represented equally with advertising.
This is a recurring theme that we will revisit often here. If you have specific questions or areas you’d like us to cover, leave a note in the comments.