SEO for small business – a ridiculous argument!

That got your attention didn’t it? LOL!

OK I just read the most ridiculous series of comments on a post from a blog I subscribe to (well used to subscribe to) – the original post was a response to another post that raised the question of validity of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for small businesses – but it turned into a slanging match between two obviously diametrically opposed ‘experts’ on SEO. As far as I am concerned there is no question on the validity of SEO for small businesses – it is a must and this post looks at why…

But first, back to the argument. It really annoyed me. Do you know why it annoyed me so much? Because in this slanging match you could tell these two SEO ‘experts’ (yes I use the inverted commas sarcastically because in the slanging match they conducted themselves as anything but) were more interested about trying to out-do the other, rather than discussing the real issue of whether SEO is still important for small business got totally pushed to one side. So I take up the slack and look at that here – without any slanging whatsoever.

The weird thing is I actually agreed with some points on both sides of the argument. Oh and the argument was: Is SEO still important for small businesses? (One said NO the other said emphatically and just a little rudely YES! Oh and at one point to highlight the ridiculousness of it all were arguing about the use or non-use of a question mark! Yep I know – crazy!)

Ok, so let’s forget about the silliness and get cracking…

Is SEO important for small businesses?

YES! OF COURSE IT IS!

But… (And I am actually ducking as I write this) not in the way it was say 5, 3 or even 1 year(s) ago. SEO is still very important, but it has now become part of a more all-encompassing approach to promoting your small business website. It is simply not enough to ‘SEO-up’ your website and leave it at that. SEO is now a foundation, and like any foundation it needs to be strong, but it is not all there is to your ‘house’. (For house read business marketing!)

And this is the point the argument just completely missed in the end. Granted, anyone saying that SEO is not important for small business could be said to be silly but by the same token it just has to be recognised that it does not carry the same singular importance to small businesses that it once did. And this is because times have changed. Your SEO needs to be supported now by other online marketing activity, such as directory registration, article submission, social media, online networking and of course newsletters and blogging (and there’s more)!

Online or Internet Marketing?

I just wanted to bring this point to bear in this post because the side in the argument I agreed with slightly more said that SEO is more holistic now and went on to call that holistic activity – internet marketing. I don’t agree with that. So, what’s the difference between online and internet marketing?

In meaning not much. But in practice a great deal. Internet marketing is a moniker that most now associate with a specific online activity dedicated to building a list, driving traffic to sales pages and then selling online products or memberships. Nothing wrong with it – but it is what it is.

Online marketing, however, is a much bigger beast. Just like offline marketing, online marketing is everything you do to promote, communicate, describe, present, brand, profile, sell and market your business online – whatever business you happen to be in.

Online marketing is the way you take advantage of that very important website you have built and that very important SEO you have just done. Online marketing supports your SEO and justifies your website. I would posit that your website, SEO and online marketing are part of a strong and very inter-dependent triangle. Without one of them the structure collapses and does not fulfil its potential.

Very simply, there is just no point in doing one without the other two and this is precisely why some may say that SEO isn’t important for small businesses – because it’s not if you don’t support it with some form of online marketing – not when there is so much competition out there all scrambling for first page and first place.

So… if you have a website you need to make sure that it is properly optimised and that you support that optimisation with online marketing. Oh and this is for a future post, you really need to make sure that when optimising your website you don’t just concentrate on your meta tags – you need to look at your site’s actual copy too.

I have covered some of the types of online marketing you can do to support your website and your SEO activity in my Marketing Basics series – some of which is featured on this blog – but I will make a point of doing another post or two going into a bit more detail about online marketing and web copy for SEO. Of course if you feel move to comment then please do so or you can visit the Just Too Busy website and sign up to the newsletter. Or you are welcome to email me at alex@justtoobusy.co.uk to ask a question or perhaps vent at this or any other post! 🙂