SEO – why does small business have such an issue with search engine optimization?

SEO imageTo people in the SEO business (I count myself as one even if I’m really only on the periphery) the need for careful attention to SEO is obvious – you want to stay at the top, or at least close to the top, of the SERPs for your product/service/location as is possible. Yet when the topic comes up with most other small business owners their eyes either glaze over with boredom or start to turn red with anger – what gives?

One of two things is likely to be happening:

1.  The small business professional probably feels that the whole topic is just too complicated for him to understand and so therefore it’s easier for him just to ignore it.

2. The small business professional has previously been sold a batch of snake oil by an “SEO specialist/expert/guru” and still has that bad taste in their mouth.

When faced with scenario #1 I try to explain the situation in as simple terms as possible. I talk about “blind five year old” as a description of Google where you have to lead it by the hand to show it where things are and what’s important (Blind Five Year Old is the name of an interesting blog devoted to all matters SEO and Google). That gets their attention and if they “get it” then we can normally move forward. If they still don’t “get it” then I turn my attention to the next project / client because chances are I’m not going to be able to move them off their current position.

With the poor people bitten in scenario #2 I also try to educate them. I explain that there are white hat and black hat SEO practitioners and if they got burned it was probably because of black hat tactics. (I’ve been referring recent clients to an article at Search Engine Watch by Kristine Schachinger titled “SEO 101: Meet the White Hats, Gray Hats, Black Hats & Asshats” which does a very good job of differentiating between the SEO experts that want to help using approved tactics and those that are only in it for the quick buck.) I only work in the white hat arena and try to show examples of where it’s worked for other clients. Again some are willing to give it another go while others shut their eyes and close their ears.

So – why do small business owners have such an issue with SEO? There’s no one answer that fits all scenarios but clearly some if it reflects back on us SEO practitioners, who have to do a better job of explaining their services to their prospects in terms that non-techie people can understand.

If you have questions about SEO and your website please contact us and we’ll hopefully give you some answers that you can understand and use.

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