Does it feel like your hands are tied?

It’s inevitable that most small businesses feel crunched for time, resources, expertise and proper sized budgets in most aspects of their business. This is no exception when it comes to SEO.

The purpose of this article isn’t to scold but to help small businesses understand the consequences of their natural restraints if left unrecognized and to provide some creative ideas to help offset or minimize the negative effect the restraints can have.

“We don’t have time to do SEO”

When we are pressed for time we tend to focus on the “must do” items that occur on a day-to-day basis or have a serious effect on our business if left unattended. For example if you stop paying rent you risk being evicted and if you stop sending out invoices your cash flow stops flowing.

However there are other items that seriously deserve our time and attention even though they may not have an immediate or even short term consequence if left ignored. Often new marketing strategies and initiatives such as SEO are left behind even though they have strong potential to increase revenues and grow the business.

Are you suffering from “not enough time” syndrome but want to plan for growth and plot out how to achieve growth through online visibility? Try these remedies:

  • Set aside at least 2 hours in your work week to search out new marketing ideas such as SEO.
  • Keep a notepad handy to help you record new marketing ideas as they come to mind; take time later on to review the list and decide which ideas to implement.
  • Seek the help of an SEO company such as ours to take care of your SEO so that you can focus your precious time on what you do best.
  • Subscribe to an SEO tool to help you understand how well your website is optimized. Spend what little time you have reviewing the feedback these tools generate and decide the most time-efficient way to take action.
  • If you hire an SEO company ask to receive concise reports with results focused on your goals; do you really need to review how 100 keywords ranked last month when you are really concerned with the number of visitors to your site or sales conversions?

“We don’t have the experience to optimize our site”

SEO isn’t an easy task. Being an SEO requires many job titles including creative writer, web designer, programmer, marketer and strategist.

Without the experience and knowledge of how to implement SEO and the effects certain actions will have on your website it can feel like you are shooting arrows in the dark hoping one hits a target somewhere. You can minimize the liability of having little experience with these simple solutions:

  • Read through current online articles by trusted SEO industry leaders. Keep in mind that the SEO industry changes at a rapid pace; make sure you are reading up to date articles from the current month.
  • Think through your ideas before acting; SEO forums are a great place to get feedback from others.
  • If you want to perform the majority of your onsite optimization yourself it never hurts to hire an SEO consultant for a few hours of training. They can cover the basics and give you advice on what areas will get the biggest return for your time as well as tips on how to go about optimizing these areas in the most effective way.

“We don’t know how to measure if it’s successful”

Knowing when your SEO campaign is successful can take careful measurement and analysis. Often times the results may not be what they first seem. It takes extra digging to get the full picture. Do yourself a favor and start measuring your SEO success by doing the following:

  • Set realistic and measurable goals prior to starting SEO. Do you want to increase organic traffic by 100%? Do you need to increase sales by 50% to recover your costs? Do you want to improve your branding?
  • Set up Google Analytics to track visitor traffic to your website. Google Analytics provides so much data it can take you hours to sift through it all. However, having more information than not enough information is a better place to be for measuring success. You can also track growth over the months.
  • If you must watch rankings track just a few key target phrases you want to be listed in Google for. As you watch the rankings go up and down you can discern if what you are doing to optimize for these phrases working. It doesn’t make sense to keep doing the same thing without seeing a significant improvement or benefit.

“Our budget is too small”

Search engine optimization is a process that can cost as much or as little as you decide. However, buyer beware: Make sure your budget is “right sized” for where you want to business to go and how fast you want it to grow.

  • Make sure the amount set aside for SEO is enough to account for the future. Is it enough to get you to where your overall marketing strategy is set to take you in 5 years?
  • Compare your SEO investment to ROI. If you are spending $1000 a month on SEO but can see that sales have increased by $5000 then it is paying off.
  • Consider reinvesting profits earned from SEO back into more SEO to create long term sustainable growth.
  • If you have big dreams for SEO but are lacking the budget re-evaluate your entire marketing plan to see if some money should be reallocated to SEO. Do you want to transfer your Yellowpages spend to SEO? Your direct mailing budget to SEO?

Any or all of these restraints can guide you down the path of a poor or non existent marketing strategy. Without proper strategizing and planning for the future you risk remaining a small business forever, or worse yet, a short life expectancy as a business.

SEO, when given the proper level of attention and resources, can be a very effective tool at growing and nurturing your online presence as well as offline success.

Contact 1st on the List to learn about our Local SEO Services that are developed to help small businesses succeed even under the above mentioned restraints when it feels like your hands are tied.