Insiders find every aspect of search engine optimization (SEO) fascinating. But the real world doesn’t. An SEO professional may live and die by every algo update and latest social signal split-test, but please know that the non-SEO world couldn’t care less.
Take, for example, a carpet cleaner, a dentist, a veterinarian, roofer, plumber, mover, even doctors, lawyers... you get the idea. They are busy running their businesses. Over the years a divergence has developed between the SEM blogs and the realities of small business marketing. A course correction is needed.
It Used to be so Simple
A small business owner who has been around for a while is often especially unhappy with the migration to online marketing. The rules used to be simple. You set up shop, bought your yellow pages ad, and then had a modest budget for other media outlets such as radio, newsprint, fliers, coupons and perhaps local television.
While you’d expect great enthusiasm for the new online economy, you often hear frustration and bitterness. Why is small business so mistrustful of online marketing? And what is so special about SEO that has them particularly distrustful?
1. The Rules Keep Changing
2. The ROI Calculation is Difficult
3. Fear of Ending Up on Google's Blacklist
4. SEO Seems Overly Technical
5. "SEO Doesn’t Work"
Small business needs SEO, but it feels like SEO has not yet figured out that it needs small business.
A good SEO needs to help their small business customer see that the basic tenets of Google’s ranking system have been the same for years (read: quality onsite content and inbound links). Even as social signals are integrated, and thin content is removed from Google, it will be in a measured fashion with plenty of time to react.
SEO should sharpen its ability to quantify ROI potential (pre-sales) without breaking Google’s rules, especially through bundled offerings that down-play the perceived ambiguity of search engine rankings.
Strong technology support, in the form of tighter analytics, PPC, phone, email, backlink and social media data integration, combined with real business results (i.e., sales / revenues) will allow small business and SEO to communicate quickly, and in understandable terms. In other words, SEO will speak small business language and reduce the current learning curve requirement (which is steep). These efforts will lead small business owners to the conclusion that, like the yellow pages and PPC, SEO does work.