5 Reasons You Think You Don’t Need SEO (and why you’re wrong) | White.net

5 Reasons You Think You Don’t Need SEO (and why you’re wrong)

By Shaad Hamid / August 10, 2011

When speaking to small business owners, I often find myself being told that SEO isn’t right for them. Unsurprisingly, I rarely agree. So I thought I’d write about the five most common reasons people give for not adopting an SEO strategy and outline why I think they’re wrong.

Reason one:  I’m just a small, local business

There’s a common misconception that SEO will only benefit companies that are already operating on a national or even international scale. Many small businesses only want to attract customers in their local area. Casting a wider net would be a wasted investment as the firm can’t cater for a non-local customer base.

Why you’re wrong

From an SEO perspective, it’s actually much more effective to target geo-specific keyword phrases. Geo-targeting will help attract visitors in your own local area when you optimise your website for search queries with a geographic preference, such as ‘Cheshire chimney sweep’.


Not only does this mean that you benefit from highly relevant, localised traffic, it can also be much easier to rank higher since competition is relatively low. After all, climbing the search engine results for a widely-used term like ‘SEO agency’ is much more competitive than optimising it for ‘Oxfordshire SEO agency’.


Google is passionate about providing users with relevant search results. By linking your business with platforms such as Google Places, you therefore benefit from high quality traffic. Furthermore, the likelihood of localised searches converting into actual buyers is far greater than users searching for generic terms. Hence, in reality as a local business, it would work in your favour.

Reason two:  I don’t have the budget

SEO does require some initial investment and many firms are put off – especially if they think they can’t see how they will measure the returns. Many small businesses prefer to rely on more direct marketing, such as email promotions or postal drops, simply because these are tried and tested methods.

Why you’re wrong

Firstly, there are many tools that help measure return on investment for SEO projects and secondly, in a survey conducted by Econsultancy early this year found that search engine optimisation provided the highest ROI for marketers above email marketing.
Furthermore, SEO is a bargain when compared to banner ads and PPC campaigns. The benefits of SEO are long term and residual; hence, you reap high quality traffic even after SEO campaigns are complete.

Reason three:  I don’t sell online

A large number of small businesses have only set up basic websites and don’t accept sales or commissions online. Because of that, they often assume that there’s little point working to promote those websites – they don’t really anticipate receiving many enquiries via the web.

Why you’re wrong

Even if your website is nothing more than an in-depth listing, you should make sure it can be found easily – otherwise you’re wasting the investment you made building the site. Therefore make sure that the title and meta tags should all include the city and country where your business is based. If you offer a service, it is very important to include the areas or regions you serve.

Remember to add neighbourhood names, smaller towns in the surrounding areas and any popular landmarks people often use in searches. Place your physical address and phone number on every page of your site, in addition to the contact us page.

Reason four:  My key phrases would be too hard to rank for

Some small companies are already competing with larger organisations and so believe that the most relevant search terms are simply too hard to rank for. When larger businesses with far bigger SEO budgets are already ranking for the best keywords and phrases, it can seem like a wasted investment trying to beat them to the top.

Why you’re wrong

There’s no point throwing a massive chunk of your search budget into ranking for those terms when other businesses can easily spend far more. That’s true for SEO and often true for search engine marketing too.

But there are alternatives. Aim to rank for long-tail keywords covering more specific products. These will be less competitive, as well as driving even more relevant business to your site. An example for this is trying to rank for ‘life insurance for over-50s’ rather than the more generic and competitive ‘life insurance’.

Reason five: It’s too complicated without specialist staff

Very small businesses with just a few employees often assume that SEO requires a team of computer programmers with marketing qualifications and a hefty price tag.

Many won’t have bothered investigating how much investment is needed because they simply assume it’s beyond your means.

Why you’re wrong

SEO can be an expensive business but that doesn’t mean that a smaller budget can’t achieve some easy wins.

If you don’t have the funding to bring an agency on board or take on a specialist member of staff, you could still spend time learning the basics of SEO yourself. There are a lot of great blogs and web sites where SEO knowledge is shared freely, not to mention several books on SEO that cost less than £20 and offer terrific information.

According to Mintel there are a lot more people purchasing products online than ever before and a lot more now shifting toward mobile search for product information. Therefore, making sure your business is visible to these prospects will undoubtedly benefit your business in many ways, not to mention your bottom line.

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