Half of US small businesses failing to use SEO, survey finds

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It’s one of the most fundamental eCommerce marketing tools in the book and yet a new report finds that half of small businesses’ websites in the US do not engage in SEO, reducing their chances of being found by potential customers. The survey also showed that of those small businesses surveyed only just over half (54%) had a website in the first place.

The report, from a small business digital marketing survey by Clutch, shows that cost was one of the main reasons why such small businesses shy away from SEO with only 34% of such companies hiring an SEO company to help them. 64% use in-house knowledge to implement and maintain SEO efforts within their businesses.

Of those businesses surveyed that currently do offer SEO more than half (57%) focus on onsite optimisation and local search optimisation whilst only 25% say they create quality content that earns links.

However although take-up of SEO may be limited currently this is set to change, according to the report findings. The results show that 60% of small businesses are planning to implement an SEO strategy by 2017 or later. The results showed that 21% had begun on SEO strategies before 21%, 9% began last year, one in five plan to implement SEO this year and a further 10% in 2017 or later. However more than a quarter (26%) said they were unlikely to adopt SEO in the future.

The study also showed that only just over a quarter (26%) of small businesses use paid online advertising to position their company website at the top of a search engine page. This is set to grow to 54% by 2017.  

The report surveyed 352 owners and managers of small businesses in the US - the majority of which have between one and 10 employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue. 

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