Is SEO worth it for small business?
The short answer is yes. SEO is 100% worth it for small business. The real question is at what level should that business be depending on SEO and how do you measure worth?
Seo is meant to be supplemental
With any marketing initiative, the owners of the business still need to get clear on any services they are going to be putting money towards.
To get a page ranking and driving traffic takes a lot of work and investment. Especially when it comes to new sites with little ratings or rankings.
Depending solely on SEO as a strategy will not only mean considerable effort but depending on the practitioner it may take a long time to rank. That means an increase in the spending and blood pressure of the owner. Finding a good digital agency or firm is key when looking at SEO as the sole traffic creation model.
In reality, we don’t recommend trying to grow a website at the very beginning with just SEO. Especially an ecom or brand site.
SEO is best used in tandem with paid advertising
For small businesses, running some sort of paid traffic acquisition alongside their SEO efforts drastically improves the ability of the site to grow and become sustainable.
Think of it this way: SEO and PPC are in different parts of the sales funnel in the case of traffic. Most paid advertising, be it Facebook ads, Google paid search or others, you are hitting users further down the sales funnel closer to the buyer intent.
You can capture these users via SEO, but those keywords tend to be much more difficult to rank for and often you choose to capture a user’s intention further up in the funnel, closer to the research and branding phases. Finding people that are wondering about a topic or searching for providers of a solution.
Once they find you, it allows them to mentally add you and your offerings to their purchase decision list.
SEO is not the key to more sales
The final thing you must keep in mind when measuring the importance of your marketing is that SEO is a tool to generate traffic.
A lot of clients don’t understand the true value they are investing in when talking about SEO. Though using a good strategy can lead to increased revenue, you have to be sure the message or offer connects to your audience.
Many times in my early days of internet marketing I would have clients frustrated that they had spent the budget on SEO and although traffic was hitting their site it wasn’t converting into leads or sales.
It took a little while for me to understand that the job of a good agency is to drive traffic, but it’s up to the client and their copywriters to craft content that yield returns. If the offer sucks, it doesn’t matter how much traffic you get.
Using social proof, reviews, testimonials, coupons, guarantees, and awesome visuals is the key to converting that basic traffic into paying customers.
Often, honing the message with paid traffic until you know you have a winner and then ramping up your investment in SEO is a great way for companies to discover profitable weapons early in a campaign.
To recap, yes SEO is totally worth it for small business and startups but it isn’t the magic bullet. It is a tool that you can invest in that will pay you dividends for a long time, but it needs to be paired with a healthy injection of paid traffic and incremental media or PR buys. All these tools combined can lead to growing exposure and free traffic over time.
For 15+ years now Adam has helped business brand, plan, and grow.
With a background in media buying and specializing in data-driven marketing he founded the Painted Brick Digital Agency to act as your in-house marketing and advertising department.
“Cookie cutter doesn’t work in a world that is constantly evolving.”