Fewer than one in ten small business owners are fully aware of how search engine optimisation (SEO) can be used to support their company’s online presence, new research has shown.
A survey, undertaken by online marketing firm Digimax, asked the owners of small firms for a definition of SEO, revealing that understanding of what it meant and what it could achieve was largely limited.
The most popular response, from 42 per cent of respondents, was that SEO meant simply adding keywords related to the business into their website. This was followed by the 15 per cent who thought it meant making their website “Google-friendly”.
Achieving a higher ranking on Google was what almost a fifth of owners understood the purpose of SEO to be, while 12 per cent thought SEO meant adding regular content to a website.
Just eight per cent of small business owners were aware that SEO meant combining all the above into a whole strategy for search engine success.
Worryingly, five per cent had no idea what the term meant or how it could be used to bring more customers to their website.
Commenting on the findings, Shaz Memon, a director at Digimax, acknowledged that the definition of SEO had evolved in recent years, and offered advice for small business owners who had fallen behind.
“Your website shouldn’t just include keywords – although that is still important. It needs to be clear, concise, logically organised and user friendly. Sentences should be to the point and the content both original and easy to understand,” Memon said.
Memon added that SEO now involved a “high degree” of user experience and emphasised the importance of having a clear and concise content that was user-friendly and easy to navigate.
Despite the growing use of social media in marketing strategies, online searches still drive 300 per cent more website traffic than all social platforms combined, according to Digimax, representing over eight in ten of all B2B sales.
Memon concluded that the goal for business owners should be reaching the first results page.
“The better your SEO the more business you will generate. It’s really something worth thinking about.”
Recent figures from auction site eBay showed that small UK firms without a website stood to lose out on an annual revenue boost of £20,000 from online sales and leads.
In response, Matt Hancock, government digital and culture minister, encouraged owners of small companies to invest in their website and remain competitive.
“Digital know-how can help firms save money, increase profits and improve productivity, yet too many firms still do not use websites, trading platforms or social media channels,” Hancock said.
Read our two-part guide to on-page optimisation for micro firm owners:
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