2012: An SEO Minefield for Small Business and Website Owners


August 9, 2012Digital Marketing1 Comment

Having been involved with SEO and online marketing for close to 7 years, and executed close to 1000 campaigns – I like to think I have a fairly good idea of the challenges small business owners face online…

A strong online presence is obviously important to any small business that hopes to get enquiries through the web. This is where SEO, Adwords and the like come into play.

Penguins, Pandas, Rip-off’s, no ROI, cowboys and snake oil. Many small businesses associate SEO and Digital marketing companies with these terms, and that’s just the start.

The reason for this post is off the back of a conversation I was having in the office last week about how much of a minefield outsourcing SEO or trying to keep up with the latest trends.

Here’s why it’s a minefield:

Google have recently made some of the biggest changes to their algorithm in over 9 years. They’ve simply torn up the rulebook on previous SEO techniques and made life a lot more difficult for people to “game the system”.

SEO is now a fair amount harder and more expensive than the “good old days” (4 months ago). It also tends to take more time.

Here’s the reality of today (in particular in the UK):

– Most advertising agencies we speak to – don’t have a clue about this, or how they plan to overcome it.

– Most digital marketing agencies we speak to – similarly, cannot place their finger on what to do, and rely on hearsay.

– Many SEO companies, even £5m+ established firms, and having to reinvent themselves – and are struggling to do so. Companies that “never outsource” have started to knock on our door.

– Most marketing managers/marketing executives I’ve spoken to – also do not have a clue. Not a clue. 

So – my question is: How on earth are you – the small business owner – going to keep up with these changes and execute an effective strategy that gets results and delivers an ROI?

Answer: your probably not to be honest – unless you can find a solid partner that can manage it for you. Hiring an in-house team is expensive, and unless they are on the ball (big time) then it won’t work.

However – If you select the wrong firm to do work for you – they could screw up your site, destroy your rankings and land you in a worse position that where you are now?

I am expecting to do a follow up post with some tips/advice on HOW to succeed in what is essentially a very difficult environment. There is light at the end of the tunnel – as long as you take the right path. The SEO approach has to be consolidated into an overall marketing strategy – which is why at Zeno, we position ourselves as an online marketing partner – not an SEO company.

Stay tuned for the follow up post – also feel free to subscribe or connect.

  • Chris Harlepp

    Great comment Tom. Really speaks to where we are in the online marketing world. Great information to share with those in Latin America who surely don’t have a clue (if most in the UK don’t you can imagine…..!)
    Small comment: you know I just don’t scan, I read carefully. In the following sentence, in answer to your own question about what should a small business owner do…there’s an error:

    “Answer: your probably not to be honest – “. The “your” is possessive, so it should be “you’re”. Thought I should point that out. As you would say…Blimey!!

    Chris Harlepp