Seven in ten SMEs not using SEO

More than seven in ten small firms are missing out on online traffic by not getting their websites configured properly for search engines, new research has found.

The study of just under 1,000 business websites, carried out by SEO Analytics, found that 47% of business sites overall have zero or very basic levels of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This figure increased to 71% among firms with fewer than 50 employees.

The survey also highlighted that nearly three-quarters of businesses had no web analytics software in place in order to track site visits.

Analytics SEO managing director, Laurence O’Toole, said the adverse effects of a poor website could be “substantial”, as sites not optimised for search engines like Google or Bing would not be picked up in a customer’s search.

Investing in an SEO-friendly site would bring more customers to the business, at a faster rate, he added, while tracking traffic enabled a firm to identify levels of demand.

Online marketing expert Lucy Whittington, director at Inspired Business Marketing, said there was “no magic formula” to guaranteeing a top ranking, but that investing in SEO need not be expensive for small firms.

“There are simple things you can do to boost your rankings and make yourself more visible online,” she said.

“Google typically looks at quality and relevance of a site in relation to a search. So always use the content on your web pages sensibly, and make sure the web code of each page is optimised to include your title, description and keywords. You can do it yourself with a content management system, or ask your web designer to do it for you.”

Another cost-effective way for small businesses to get noticed is to create a short video and upload it on to YouTube using relevant keywords in the online description, said Whittington.

“This can be a very good way of being picked up by search engines like Google,” she added.

“Getting your site link listed on other good-quality websites can also work well. While small firms could pay for Google advertising to secure high rankings, it’s likely to cost more than investing in SEO. You could be paying as much as £5 per click. Most people also tend to prefer ‘natural links’ that come up on a search, rather than ad links.” 

For further information see the Search Engine Marketing for SMEs service.

Seven in ten SMEs not using SEO

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