Does SEO Matter to Small Business Owners?

Carmen Rane HudsonSmall Business Websites & Blogs


does-seo-matterSearch Engine Land recently ran an article called Confessions of an $100/month SEO Client. It was an interview with a small business owner who had invested very little into his internet marketing profile.

I spend a lot of time talking about building your web presence and making use of SEO. But as a business owner it’s certainly worth asking the question: does SEO matter and does it actually help your business?

The experience of the SMB featured in the interview is somewhat unique since he got a lot of leads from a local service that’s only available in California. It was still a service that placed him online, however, and which contributed to his overall web presence.

He also did a lot of PPC advertising, and it looks like he did well enough with it that he credited it for a large portion of his business. Imagine what he could do with organic traffic, which receives the bulk of the clicks! recently put together some stats about SEO that SMBs should pay attention to as they evaluate this question for their own businesses.

Emphasis mine.

“8 SEO Stats that are Hard to Ignore when you’re trying to justify whether or not you should be investing in search engine optimization.

  • 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
  • Google owns 65-70% of the search engine market share.
  • 70% of the links search users click are organic.
  • 70-80% of users ignore paid ads focusing on organic results.
  • Search is the #1 driver of traffic to content sites, beating social media by more than 300%.
  • SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate.
  • For Google, 18% of organic clicks go to the #1 position, 10% of organic clicks go to the #2 position, and 7% of organic clicks go to the #3 position.

In short, SEO beats just about everything else. (Though social media is important for other reasons).

The 14.6% close rate struck me as particularly relevant. It’s yet another reason why small business owners need to think about diverting a lot of their old-school advertising budgets into SEO.

And it’s a great reason why you need to think about investing enough into your internet marketing efforts to actually make a difference.

What about blogging? How does that help you and why should you invest any efforts into the exercise?

Here are some statistics that The Inbound Writer blog compiled from several other sources.

  • Because 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, they are more likely to buy from that company.
  • Interesting content is a top 3 reason people follow brands on social media.
  • Social media sites and blogs reach 8 out of 10 of all US Internet users and account for 23% of all time spent online.
  • 90% of consumers find custom content useful and 78% believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them.
  • Blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links.
  • The average cost to generate a lead through inbound marketing ($143) is about half the average for outbound marketing ($373).

434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links is a stat worth paying attention to. It demonstrates one of the reasons that blogging is so important.

Simply put, every blog post increases your chances of being found. It lets you rank for 130 keywords, as an example, instead of 3 keywords.

After awhile, all of these efforts reach critical mass and you start seeing an explosion of business that you never would have had if you hadn’t invested in SEO, blogging and social media alike.

So does SEO matter? Yes! And it will continue to matter well into the foreseeable future.