More small businesses are likely to invest in search engine optimization (SEO) in 2017, a new survey shows. Almost three-quarters (74%) of small businesses in the U.S. expect to invest in SEO this year, up from 52% in 2016, according to data from Clutch, a B2B research and reviews firm. Additionally, 66% say they plan to invest in pay-per-click (PPC) digital advertising, such as Google search ads, by the end of 2017.
“A comprehensive SEO strategy involves a multitude of disciplines, including technical SEO, on-page optimization, outreach and content creation,” said Stephen Jeske, senior content strategist for SEO software vendor CanIRank, in a statement.
The survey shows that more than 50% of small businesses limit their SEO activities to local and on-site optimization, ignoring lucrative marketing strategies like content creation or guest posting. One of the major reasons for this is the lack of external resources being used – 60% of small businesses rely upon in-house resources to develop SEO.
“The in-house person eventually gets to a point where they hit their limits,” said John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility. Lincoln suggests that small businesses invest in hiring consulting agencies or freelancers for managing SEO software and tools or for training in-house staff on how to effectively use them. “To do SEO correctly and really compete in this very competitive online space, it’s good to have a true external expert that’s working at an expert company along with somebody who’s in-house,” Lincoln said.
The Clutch study found that small businesses implementing a combination of in-house and external resources have the most comprehensive SEO strategies. In order to strengthen those strategies, Clutch urges small businesses to prioritize the creation of content assets, expand which metrics are tracked and more closely measure which activities are pursued.