Wednesday 20 September 2017

Introduction

We have decided to write this article to illustrate the pros and cons as well as common misconceptions. Unfortunately, too often websites belonging to SMBs are improperly understood by their owners and let’s not even speak about digital marketing.

SEO is a fancy word but aside from SEO people themselves very few people will understand it and it can lead to many confusions. Or, even, sometimes, arguments between the customer and the professional/agency.

That is why it seems more important than ever to clarify what are the pros and the cons, the possibilities, and the limitations

SEO and Small and Medium Businesses

When a small or a medium business enquires about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), they often just discovered the word from either their counterparts or from something they read. However, a real education needs to be done. We previously wrote an article about the different digital marketing techniques, in which we tried to explain the different elements to consider prior to starting a digital marketing campaign.

Yet, we believe there might be some more things to go through.

SEO a natural ally of your business strategy

SEO is a core element of any digital strategy due to its intricate nature across other digital marketing techniques. In the schema below, you can see the relationships between the different types of activities. Please note that these relationships often goes both ways.

SEO-related activities

As you can see in this scheme most activities are related to SEO, from the way your site is developed to the way you convert your customers passing by the content you put on your website or on your social media; SEO will have an impact on these and they will have an impact on SEO.

So, why do we speak about an ally? Simple, it follows your business progression. At the beginning it is small but the more you grow, the more it becomes essential.

Regular misconceptions about SEO

SEO is often seen as a one-off by many owners. One of the major issues is that SEO only works with time. It is not a 100m race such as pay-per-click advertising but rather a marathon in which only the fittest survive.

Despite it gets repeated everywhere, SEO is long here are some elements you should know:

  • The results and effects of SEO do not show immediately.
  • When doing link building you cannot expect your SEO agency or professional to deliver X links per week/month. This is not Fiverr. Negotiations and contact take time, sometimes months just for a single link.
  • SEO requires total trust, if you try to keep control over it, then you may end up destroying the work supposed to be done.
  • It is not because you do not understand it that it does not work.
  • If an SEO is affirmative about reaching position 1 in X days or month, steer clear. SEO cannot be planned. It is completely dependant on the Search Engines.

Information, the key to success

So what are the different elements that you may want to share with your agency:

  • Your Analytics Data (Google Analytics or other)
  • Your website login (CMS and FTP)
  • Your expectations
  • Information about your business:
    • Key financial information
    • Sales strategy
    • General marketing strategy
    • Seasonality of sales

What can happen if you do not share that type of information?

E.g.: Let’s say that you ask your agency to do a certain task before period X (let’s pretend period X is linked to your sales period) but you have not shared your “sales seasonality schedule”, then by default the agency will operate based upon a search seasonality which can be very different. As an example people in general Google for second-hand cars around December but generally purchase around February, for travel the seasonality is even more different with several months in between (generally 3 to 4).

Small businesses case

small business

Particularities of SEO for micro and small businesses

Small business means small teams, small budget and lack of human resources. Quite often these businesses are very close to their money. But sometimes it is too little resources too late.

These businesses despite their clear lack of experience in the sector often have expectations miles away from any form of reality. They expect you to solve a complex issue overnight. Such as SEO penalties or other. If we take the case of an SEO penalty it often takes a few days to identify with certainty but the recovery is actually fairly long, it generally ranges from a few weeks to a few months. And if the client is pressuring his agency or professional, then, there is a risk of missing crucial elements that could speed up the process.

Small business should be aware that a backup budget should always be planned in the event such issue happen.

What small business owner should know:

  • Unless you are ready to commit for a minimum of 6 months it is not even worth trying SEO
  • Recommended technical changes are proposed to ensure the success of the campaign, any rejection will lead to a reduction in the potential of the campaign
  • Committing to SEO means, first of all, committing to a long-term plan

Medium businesses case

medium business

Medium businesses tend to be a bit more capable of exploiting the advantages of SEO as they generally have someone dedicated to their marketing, yet, no marketer is actually aware of every possibility. It is always a good idea to have your marketing manager receive some form of training from your agency. This training can either be done via Skype on-site at the agency, though Skype is generally preferred as it avoids the extra costs such as transportation and other. Additionally, the employee can do it in your office.

Obviously, this type of training comes at a cost. Yet, they allow your employee to understand in details the converging points between your general marketing strategy and the SEO strategy. It can also be a fantastic source of information for your agency to manage more efficiently and in symbiosis your campaign. It will also allow your employee to become an interface between your business objectives and the agency in order to maximise the potential of both.

But some elements should be known by the owner:

  • Do not expect your marketing manager to become an SEO expert. People dedicate enormous amounts of time to understand the logic behind it
  • There is a major difference between good work and quick work
  • SEO brings traffic to your site by making it more visible applying techniques across more than 200 ranking factors

Conclusion

SEO is not a simple technique, neither to understand nor to realise. Only specialists do seize the essence and the subtleties of SEO. Small and medium businesses are often struggling to accept handling control to another company.

Yet, we cannot be specialists of everything. If you are a cellphone manufacturer you will not have a speciality in typography as these two activities are very different. Same happens to a business owner and an agency. The business owner can recruit specialists to work for him, nevertheless, one expert cannot match the same results of 5, 10 or 15.

If you are a small or medium business owner try to find an agency or a professional you want to work with. Not simply the cheapest or the fanciest.

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Posted in: Business, SEO, Strategic Consultancy
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