The fact that Google represents pretty much the be all and end all when it comes to inbound traffic isn’t exactly what you’d call a secret. For well over a decade now, the power and influence the world’s biggest search engine has had with respect to the channelling of web traffic has been growing at breakneck pace, pretty much by the day. As things stand from a 2015 perspective, Google well and truly has the potential to make any business it feels like, should it feel the desire to hold it in high regard.
So regardless of changes in marketing strategies over the years, one thing that can be said for sure is that the power of SEO on the whole has only grown. So really, you’d expect that by this point in time smaller businesses in particular would be fighting tooth and nail to make the most of these valuable approach to inbound marketing.
Unfortunately, you’d also be completely wrong as a study carried out recently by the Small Business Authority uncovered evidence that not only does inbound marketing appear to be less than a priority for small businesses, but the overwhelming majority of small businesses seem to have absolutely no interest whatsoever in SEO. It’s pretty unlikely that anyone in business these days is unaware of the power and influence of Google, but in any case a shocking 83% of those polled stated that they were not actively investing in any inbound marketing efforts.
As in no SEO strategy in place at all…none whatsoever.
But it wasn’t just the way in which small businesses appear to be shunning search engine optimisation that raised a few eyebrows following the study. Quite to the contrary in fact, as it turned out that no more than about 60% of small businesses polled were in fact investing in marketing in any way, shape or form. That means 40% of small businesses simply sitting idly by and waiting for the punters to come their way. Suffice to say, this is exactly the kind of approach most experts would say is doomed to failure…at least for a good proportion of them.
When it comes to the extraordinary array of marketing techniques and strategies available to the small business, it’s unsurprising that some are viewed with more suspicion and cynicism than others. The simple fact of the matter is that not all marketing activities can guarantee a healthy ROI, so in many respects it makes sense for the smaller and newer business to avoid unnecessary risks. The thing is though, a second recent survey which in this instance was carried out by Leverable.com appears to produce irrefutable evidence that when it comes to rock solid marketing strategies with a guaranteed ROI, search engine optimisation ranks right up there with the best of them.
Specifically, the survey quoted 75% of existing business owners who currently use SEO to one extent or another saying that it said had a positive impact on their bottom lines and their overall operations in general. An average improvement in conversion rates of approximately 15% was noted, with most businesses utilising these kinds of inbound marketing strategies saving over 60% on the costs attributed to similar outbound marketing strategies.
Or in other words, it is abundantly clear that when it comes to chasing the most agreeable ROI and making sure all business money is invested wisely, it’s hard to beat strategic site optimisation.
All of which leads back to the obvious question – why are so many small business owners completely overlooking inbound marketing? There’s clearly much to be said for SEO, at least in the eyes of bigger businesses, so why are those who technically need the most help of all effectively turning it down?
Well, the SBA study appears to show that as far as the small business community is concerned, inbound marketing presents an expense that is neither necessary nor important for their long-term goals and aspirations.
In terms of the specifics, the fact that there still such an enormous spam contingency when it comes to SEO apparently doesn’t sit pretty with many small business owners. Avoiding potential reputational damage is something of a priority, while avoiding spending precious funds on something that could effectively have the opposite of the design defect seems illogical. In addition, there are also those for whom the idea of inbound marketing is something of a black and white concept – as in you spend a fortune on it and dedicate significant resources to it or you might as well not bother. Or in other words, modest SEO efforts are pretty much the same as no such efforts at all.
Sadly, at least for those with the above-mentioned mind-sets, evidence suggests things are only going to get increasingly difficult going forward as the world’s reliance on search engines continues to accelerate and evolve. We may not always rely on Google or conventional web search engines in general, but search in one form or another will continue to represent the biggest drive of traffic in the world.
Of course, the good news is that there’s technically no time ‘too late’ to join the party and get on board, but with the way things are going, the invitation is one the vast majority of small businesses are returning to sender.