Having a mobile-friendly website can help small businesses rank in search results, especially because of Google’s mobile-first index. Yet only 36 percent of small businesses have an SEO strategy, with 38 percent more planning to invest in SEO in the future, according to a new survey from B2B research, ratings, and reviews firm Clutch.
The research shows that as more small businesses invest in SEO, choosing which SEO efforts to prioritize will remain a challenge. Social media marketing (63 percent) and mobile-friendly websites (54 percent) are the most common SEO activities small businesses spend time and money on.
Small businesses invest in content marketing for SEO
Nearly half of small businesses (48 percent) invest in content marketing for SEO. Content marketing helps small businesses attract potential customers and guide them through their purchasing journey.
The quality and clarity of online content is important as optimizing websites for voice search becomes a priority for small businesses.
The research found that only 21 percent of small businesses invest in voice search optimization for SEO. Other SEO activities small business pursue include keyword research (51 percent) and link building (28 percent).
Small businesses depend on in-house staff for SEO
Small businesses rely on in-house employees (54 percent) for SEO nearly twice as much as they hire an SEO agency (28 percent). In-house staff are less expensive than an SEO agency and offer small businesses more control over their SEO strategies.
“In-house offers more control over planning, content creation, and budgeting,” said Jaykishan Panchal, who manages SEO strategy for digital marketing agency E2M, in a news release. “The in-house SEO team probably has the best understanding of the brand voice, company culture, and availability of resources.”
Internal employees may lack the expertise of SEO agencies, however.
Small businesses use website traffic and leads to measure SEO success
The top two SEO metrics small businesses track are website traffic (25 percent) and leads and conversions (19 percent). Small businesses value these metrics over backlinks (14 percent) and keyword rankings (13 percent).
Tracking website traffic and leads and conversions demonstrates that small businesses tend to invest in SEO to generate revenue. These metrics, though, don’t fully capture SEO success.
More small businesses turning to PPC advertising to achieve search visibility
Sixty percent (60 percent) of small businesses with an SEO strategy also invest in PPC advertising. An additional 17 percent of small businesses plan to invest in PPC in 2019.
PPC advertising guarantees placement at the top of search engine results pages, which helps earn clicks and impressions. These immediate returns appeal to small businesses with limited budgets.
Clutch’s 2019 Small Business SEO Survey included 529 small business owners and managers in the U.S.