Marketing with a focus on SEO, content, and PCC is becoming a top priority for SMBs

Small businesses are adapting to shifts in consumer search and purchasing behavior, to leverage the best possible SEO and PPC (pay per click) strategies. Clutch’s 2019 Small Business SEO Survey report reveals that 36% of small businesses already have an ongoing SEO strategy, and 38% more plan to invest in SEO in the future.

SEO has become crucial for small businesses since the best business interactions between sellers and customers occur through online search. Going beyond SEO, companies are also investing in social media marketing and creating mobile-friendly websites. As per the above-cited report, for 63% of companies, social media marketing is a priority. Over half of the companies studied are planning investment in mobile-friendly websites in 2019.

Understanding search engines

As per the report, over a fourth of the SMBs have observed that traffic from search engines is the primary metric to determine the success of their SEO strategies. Over 50% of companies are focused on keyword research and almost 30% of companies are working on link building.

With voice searches increasingly taking the center stage, companies are investing heavily in it- Clutch found that 21% of small businesses are investing in voice search optimization too.

“Simply waiting for users to come and buy doesn’t work, online or off,” said Natalia Makarenko, SEO specialist for SCIENCE, a B2B lead generation company in San Diego. Almost 20 percent of companies believe that their strategy is going good only if there are conversions.

Investment in in-house content

Nearly half of small businesses studied were found to be investing in content marketing for SEO. This not just helps marketing teams to attract potential customers, but also guide them through the lifecycle of the purchasing journey. In 2019 and in the future, it is expected that companies will depend on in-house staff for creating high-quality content with an eye to execute their SEO strategies more efficiently.

Currently about half of the companies have in-house employees for content and SEO. “In-house offers more control over planning, content creation, and budgeting,” said Jaykishan Panchal, who manages SEO strategy for digital marketing agency E2M.

“The in-house SEO team probably has the best understanding of the brand voice, company culture, and availability of resources,” added Panchal. SMBs have observed hiring an in-house staff is also less expensive than an agency and also offer more control over their SEO strategy.

But even then, about 28% of the companies have hired an agency to do the most cost-effective SEO optimization.

PPC for immediate returns

Out of all the companies that invest in SEO strategy, 60% also invest in Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. About 20% of SMBs are planning to invest in PPC in 2019. Investing in PPC makes SMBs certain that they can achieve visibility for target keywords.  Participating in PPC advertising guarantees placement at the top of the search engine results pages. This then helps to get clicks and impressions, representing immediate returns which are a boon to SMBs with limited marketing budgets.

As the focus of SMBs steadily moves towards online search optimization strategies, 2019 may become a year of transitional from brick and mortar advertising to click and search customer acquisition strategies for many.