It might come as a surprise to you that in a world in which we’d all like to think we’re internet-savvy, over 50% businesses admit they don’t really know what they’re doing when it comes to running their search engine marketing campaigns.
That figure is based on research conducted jointly by independent SEO analysts, SEMPO, and US credit card company, Amex. Maybe that figure doesn’t surprise you: perhaps you are one of those businesses who are scared or intimidated by the thought of using SEO techniques to improve the overall performance of your business.
The survey, carried out by Echo Research on behalf of Amex, asked 400 small US businesses who use digital marketing channels for their opinions on how well they understood the practise of SEO and how effective they’d found it to be. The research concluded that 56% of all these businesses were clueless when it came to using SEO and admitted that they were in desperate need of help.
What was perhaps the most damning statistic was that one in five of these businesses chose to do the optimisation in-house, and gave the responsibility to a member of their own marketing staff, in addition to the other duties that employee was expected to fulfil. Needless to say, this sector of the small business market hadn’t noticed any visible signs of improvement or growth during the period in question.
The survey also highlighted that those who were planning to use online marketing in 2011, had only set aside on average $5,260 to cover both their search and social media advertising budgets. 19% of the companies polled had absolutely no intention of spending any of their marketing budgets on search engine marketing, though interestingly these same companies admitted that over two thirds of their new business was gathered via search engine referrals.
Three quarters of the companies said that they planned on either adopting online marketing during the course of the year, or building on their existing platforms: of these 36% vowed to add a company website, 29% pledged to opt for social media marketing and a mere 23% promised to adopt some form of optimisation strategy.
What do these figures tell us?
The answer, as with most statistics, is whatever you want them to. However, what’s important is the general view that the majority of companies, in this admittedly small scale survey, were worried and perhaps perplexed by the whole practice of search engine optimisation. A quarter of the companies found this area to be far too complex and intimidating. A third of them admitted that they hadn’t a clue about how to choose appropriate and effective keywords, and a quarter of them really didn’t know how you could possibly measure the success of an internet marketing campaign.
The only light at the end of this statistical tunnel was that 35% of the companies questioned decided by the end that their SEM campaigns were probably best left to the experts. Search engine marketing needn’t be a minefield: all that’s necessary is to use the services of a reputable and professional search marketing agency and let them worry about it. Your business is better off doing what it does best.