For more than a decade, thousands of businesses have enjoyed the benefits of high rankings in Google searches (and searches on competing engines) thanks to their SEO efforts. Larger corporations pour hundreds of thousands of dollars and allocate entire departments to gaining more online visibility, but even small- to mid-sized businesses can use a fraction of that budget to get more traffic and sales.
However, according to a recent survey by the Small Business Authority (SBA), less than 50 percent of small business owners in the United States think of inbound traffic from search engines as an “important” source of future business. Another 14 percent declared themselves unsure.
It’s also worth noting that only 17 percent of surveyed small business owners are actively investing in SEO. However, a startling 39 percent of business owners aren’t investing in any marketing strategies whatsoever, indicating that SEO alone may not be the problem.
Studies, meanwhile, show that SEO yields significant ROI. According to Leverable.com, one study found that 72% of business owners with an SEO strategy felt it improved their bottom line. Another found that SEO leads have a 14.6% conversion rate, compared to 1.7% for outbound marketing, and are 61% less expensive to acquire, on average, than outbound leads.
Still, thousands of small business owners are missing out on significant business opportunities from organic search engine traffic because they don’t believe it to be significant or important. Why is this the case?
Misconceptions and Preconceived Notions
SEO doesn’t enjoy an unblemished reputation. The early days of SEO were full of spammers and scammers, willing to pull sneaky tricks to force their way to top rankings. Unfortunately, this reputation of SEO being a black hat game still persists in many circles. If a company believes their involvement with SEO will in any way harm their reputation, I can’t blame them for wanting to avoid it—even if that belief is totally unfounded.