Many Private Businesses Not Reaping the Benefits of Search Engine Optimization

    June 8, 2005

An impromptu study conducted on 10e20, LLC existing clients and prospects reveals that more than 70% of private businesses do not include search engine optimization (SEO) in their online marketing plans.

With millions of consumers utilizing search engines each day to find everything from chiropractors to kitchen sinks, you would think SEO would be at the top of the list on every online business’ marketing plan. But, surprisingly – it’s not.

Often SEO doesn’t even make the list of many online businesses. In the study conducted over a two month period, project managers at 10e20, LLC administered a 10-question survey to over 100 of its existing website design/redesign clients who do not subscribe to their SEO services and over 550 prospects. Project managers and account executives at the search engine marketing and web solutions firm wanted to know why clients sometimes shied away from even discussing SEO as an option, when it is one of the best – if not the best – ways to market a website. The survey offered very few surprises with responses centering around misconceptions of cost and ignorance of what exactly SEO entails.

When asked, “Why does search engine optimization not play a role in your online marketing plans?” more than 70% of respondents said that “cost is a factor”. But 65% of those respondents admitted to using sponsored ads. What responds seem to forget, or are unaware of, is that monthly rates for SEO are often cheaper than those of PPC (Pay Per Click).

When asked, “How much does your PPC campaign cost you monthly?” more than 75% respondents who admitted to using PPC chose the over $1000 option. Because over 66% of searchers are more likely to choose the “natural” search engine results (those acquired through SEO as opposed to PPC) many websites do not receive the targeted traffic they expect from PPC.

And when asked if they believed their ROI (Return on Investment) on PPC was satisfactory, more than 62% of respondents chose the “No” option instead of the “Somewhat” or “Yes” option. Again, because online businesses are sometimes paying very high click-thru rates only to receive minimal sales, they feel that they often feel that they are not receiving enough bang for their buck.

While the impromptu study does not claim to be a representation of all private businesses, it does offer a means of gauging views on search engine optimization held by the “average” SME (Small to Medium Enterprise). Furthermore, through this study, execs at 10e20, LLC know that now, more than ever, better education about natural search engine optimization and its benefits needs to be disseminated to online businesses that are still skeptical about SEO. Because, while for many online businesses SEO might seem like another risky, untried frontier, if they were to do a real apples to oranges comparison between SEO and other online marketing strategies such as sponsored and banner ads, it is likely that they would see the cost-effectiveness and quality traffic that SEO better affords.

Chris Winfield is the President and Co-founder of 10e20. He has written for various organizations in the past and frequently speaks with the media.