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Small Business Worries

Nov 20, 2009   //   by freshtraffic   //   basic seo, internet marketing, search engine optimization  //  Comments Off

It’s simple numbers, small businesses are at a financial disadvantage when it comes to marketing their website. Funds, time, or resources are needed to engage in marketing on a level they would need to be competitive. Small businesses often have to rely on do-it-yourself strategies built upon free advice gathered from blogs, forums, and social networking sites.

Every small business owner wants to ensure maximum ROI for their marketing efforts. But even with a good SEO and a good campaign outline, you can still break your budget–or render your SEO campaign ineffective–when you let your worries get the best of you. Worrying about smart things is smart. Worrying about the other stuff, well, that just sets you up for failure.

1) Perfection
SEO isn’t an exact science, there is no “do this to get this” formula. There are many trials and errors along the way and if you’re not prepared for that then you’ll likely spend too much of your time trying to perfect what can’t be perfected. There are many trade-offs made when optimizing a site. Ultimately you want to do what’s best for your visitors, while doing what’s best for the search engines. While Google likes to believe those are one in the same, the truth is that they are often two different things. The problem is when you want perfection on both, when you may need to settle for less than perfect on one front in order to get a perfect balance.

When it comes to both engines and visitor usability the paths to the perfect site is always changing because what would have been perfect yesterday is not perfect today. Settling for poor performance can be corrected, sometimes you have to accept what you have, get it out there and then move forward perfecting it later. By trying to make it perfect first, you’ll spend too much of your budget on that while and get no SEO improvement. Isn’t it better to start getting the benefit of the changes sooner, and perfect it later?

2) Worrying about being #1
Wouldn’t it be nice if getting #1 were easy (and cheap?). Unfortunately we don’t operate in a vacuum and there are many competitors out there. If you’re in a highly competitive industry, it’s not just your competitors that you’re up against. Informational sites such as Wikipedia, blogs and others can often dominate the top search engine rankings for your most profitable keywords. You need to accept that you may never outperform sites like Wikipedia, and you may never be able to outspend your competition. Settle on this and you can direct yours, and your SEO’s, efforts on things that will make a real difference in your optimization campaign. Once your site is optimized you can often get a better ROI by improving your visitor’s experience.

3) Worrying about competitors
Is your competitor climbing in the rankings? Are you worried that they will over take you? Are they outperforming you on some keywords? While disconcerting, you can’t expect your SEO to jump in and stop that from happening. Yes, you can invest in more SEO or links or social media… and maybe you should, but short of that, a site can only get so optimized for certain keywords.

The question here isn’t whether your SEO is doing their job or not. The real and only viable solution is to assess your campaign and make changes as needed. The problem with worrying about how your competitors are performing is that there is so much you don’t know. How much are they spending? Are they profitable? Are they focused on the right things? These questions are just a few you need to know before you decide what, precisely, is worth worrying about.

4) Traffic over conversions
Rankings get traffic, but why do we want traffic? Traffic alone is worthless unless it becomes a patron of your site; paying customer, signed up for a newsletter or news release etc. We often lose sight of that as optimization takes place. SEOs are paid to deliver traffic and are often happy to see traffic through to your site, even if the conversions do not follow.

While traffic is a required result of the SEO campaign, conversions should matter more. Before worrying about traffic changes, look first to see what your conversion rates are. If your SEO campaign results in more traffic but less sales, it’s time to look at content. As your traffic improves, your conversion rates need to be monitored. If you’re getting more sales, great. But if your conversion rate drops, then you need to focus on improving that before looking to improve traffic any further. Why bring more people to the site if fewer and fewer are going to convert?

5) Slow growth / instant success
SEO is a long-term investment that rarely, if ever, brings over night success. One of the most difficult expectations to overcome when pitching SEO services is the expectation that results will come fast. That being said, some sites can be optimized and see near immediate benefit. Other sites take longer to get optimized therefore the benefit in rankings takes longer. Newer sites have a much longer hill to climb before they see success. Before beginning an SEO campaign be sure that your expectations are in line with reality. Don’t look for a get-rich-quick solution, but instead be willing to invest in a long-term strategy that will pay off as you let it mature.

Small business budgets are tight and they have to make the most of every dollar. But sometimes trying to squeeze every bit of juice from a dollar ultimately squeezes the life out of it. Worrying too much about the performance of your SEO campaign can lead to jumping the gun on bad intel and making a seemingly bad situation worse. Give time for your SEO campaign to work before jumping in to make changes. It can be difficult if you are spending money and don’t see things going your way. There is risk in everything, including worrying about something that you shouldn’t. Worry less, and let your SEO campaign perform more.

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