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Why is SEO harder for small businesses? 

At MarketKeep, the digital marketing agency for small businesses, a common question we receive is, “is SEO harder for small businesses”, and we have to admit it is. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo have made it harder and harder for small business owners to get their websites to the 1st page of search results because of all the updates over the years making it harder to excel online. So why is is that only the big dogs get visibility online? Well according to our team and through our research here are 10 reasons that answer why is SEO harder for small businesses. 

10 Answers to the Question: Why is SEO Harder for Small Businesses

1. You have less money

The biggest factor why small business owners don’t succeed online, budget. Its an old saying but the more money you have to spend the more money you make. The reason why larger companies are able to succeed online is that they have the budget to do so. For example, we have seen small businesses finally receive a larger return on investment when they invest in strategies like backlinking which is an additional cost for the SEO campaigns. 

If you can devote more money to your search engine optimization efforts, you will see better returns. Bigger companies have bigger budgets that they can allocate towards hiring more employees, or more consultants to focus on their SEO strategies. 

2. You have less time

Right up there with the budget is time. Time is money and if you have less money, you have less time to devote to your own needs. The less time you spend on your marketing strategy the less time you have to spend on your SEO campaigns. Some businesses are so small that they might even have just one or two people doing EVERYTHING for the business, making proper SEO even harder. Real organic search traffic takes time to develop. Investing your time in creating content that sticks with your target audience takes time to develop. Often times we see small businesses producing rushed content or neglecting it altogether resulting in an unoptimized website with poor search rankings. 

3. Not the highest priority

When you are short on resources, sometimes SEO can start to lose its priority in your rankings of things to get done. Blogging and other forms of content creation are a prime example. Often times it starts at the top of your list of items to get done but it never really happens. Companies with SEO consultants or workers make the time for SEO. 

4. Its harder to keep up with changes

Again this falls under the category of not enough resources. A true SEO specialist lives and breathes this stuff and will keep up with industry trends and publications. They will know if Google has released a new algorithm that has an impact on their SEO strategy. They will hear about new techniques that they think are worth trying. 

5. Google Favors Popularity

The bottom line is Google wants to provide its end-users with the best search results available. So in a way you can view search engine optimization as a popularity contest. So if you want to compete on a keyword that other companies are going after, you will need to make sure that your content provides a better experience for users. 

SEO harder for small businesses

6. SEO takes time

Search engine optimization campaigns grow over time. If you are a new business trying to compete with an established business, it will take time to rank. In fact when you are just starting out it is tougher to rank because your website hasn’t accrued authority or a great link profile yet. Established businesses don’t have to start from scratch and have developed a high ranking authority and a link building strategy.

7. Your website is smaller

If you are a small business owner, chances are your website isn’t just new it is also smaller too. You have less content, fewer pages, and fewer keywords to rank for. Really big websites get more traffic in part because they rank for a variety of SEO keywords and therefore their potential to rank for more SEO keywords is greater. 

8. You have fewer tools and less powerful software

Sometimes a craftsman is only as great as the tools that they have available. This is true for SEO. More established businesses can afford to buy programs or software that will help them identify new SEO trends, keyword ideas, and better reporting. Small companies are often stuck with free or no tools at all making it harder to gain a competitive advantage. 

9. You have less clout to leverage link building opportunities

Big brands and websites with great reputations online tend to get links to their website without even trying. 

10. You don’t have a relationship with search engines

Bigger companies tend to have a personal relationship with Google. So if their SEO campaign goes south they can contact their rep at Google and fix the situation correctly. Small businesses will have a lot more trouble figuring out what to do. 

So is SEO even worth it? Yes!

We realize that this blog post has, why is SEO harder for small businesses is kind of depressing. You may be even thinking well is SEO even worth it? If you want to be successful online you have to invest in an SEO strategy that performs well. So at a bare minimum, your SEO strategy should cover the following three items.

1. Help potential customers find your site via search

2. Make sure that your website is easy to navigate

3. Make sure it is obvious what they should do next

These tasks, especially the second two, involve the principles of web design, usability, and conversion rate optimization as much as they do SEO. But to accomplish #1, you’re going to have to think about search engine optimization. Of course, you should have other sources of traffic for your site – PPC/remarketing, social media, email marketing, word of mouth – but if you neglect SEO, you’re leaving a great potential source of brand-new leads untapped.

The trick for small businesses is figuring out what you can accomplish given your limited resources. Also, remember that there may be ways that being small actually helps you! For example, small business are often more agile, and more willing to experiment. So stick with it, cover your basics first, make sure your managers know SEO is important, and investigate new opportunities as you can find the time.

What should I do next? 

Look we get it, SEO is hard. So what should your next step be? Well if you need help managing a search engine optimization campaign your next step should be to look at our SEO packages for small businesses. Like we said at the beginning of this blog post, we are the digital marketing agency for small businesses. Our goal is to work with small business owners to increase their overall search visibility online.