The answer: “…That’s a good question!”
While I am not an expert in Search Engine Optimization, I am seeing two different sides to the recommendation of this medium for certain businesses. SEO can a very long term, and in some cases, expensive, investment. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a good one; it just means that it may not be the best investment for your business.
Adam Stetzer, with searchenginewatch.com, recently outlined some pros and cons of SEO for the small business owner (read full article here). http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2326399/Avoid-SEO-Hype-Why-Small-Businesses-Should-Focus-on-Return-on-Investment#disqus_thread
This resonated with me after earlier this month when I was asked to be a guest speaker at Perfect Wedding Guide’s workshop for business owners in the events industry. After the class, many guests approached me in an attempt to start the SEO conversation. While I am always happy to help explain the wide, wonderful world of marketing, many times the answer is not so simple. http://nashville.perfectweddingguide.com/
As Adam points out in his article:
“These statistics confirm why many small businesses ask for SEO as their first online marketing product, they know this technique has worked for others. However, SEO is the worst place for a small business that is moving from word-of-mouth marketing to online marketing due to uncertainty, ROI time frame, and complexity.”
In the case of the PWG workshop attendees, I instead recommended a strong email marketing strategy first and foremost. Most small businesses in this industry are getting leads lists and seeing organic interest in their services. The key to closing the deal is to stay top of mind with the potential client, and to outlast your competitor. Employing this method of digital marketing will likely show them a quicker ROI, with a much more affordable upfront investment.
Check out MailChimp.com – They help small businesses get started with a free account! mailchimp.com/
However, keeping SEO in mind when creating your website and other digital marketing content (i.e. social media posts) is a great idea no matter the size of your business. Adopting solid practices will allow your business to start building a foundation for optimization until you are large enough to take the next step.
A friend of mine, Bill Faeth, CEO at Inbound Marketing Agents, offers a ton of great information on how to get started in SEO. Check out his simple suggestions: 4 Basic Tips to Boost your SEO Results. http://www.inboundmarketingagents.com/inbound-marketing-agents-blog/bid/301312/4-Basic-Tips-to-Boost-Your-SEO-Results