While SEO may still have a somewhat murky reputation (many still don’t know what it is), the fact is SEO is now a big business that will only get bigger, and it drives very strong ROI for small businesses, with break event at 3-6 months.
These were key messages from Andrew Shotland, principal of Local SEO Guide, and Steve Yeich, CEO of Relevant Ads, at this morning’s panel, “Local SEO and the SMB Value Prop.”
Shotland started off with an update on what going on with SEO and SMBs. He began with research that showed 11 percent of SMBs say SEO is one of their most important marketing channels. Optimizing web presence to improve page rank, for example, is an outcome with a direct positive impact on any business.
Small businesses need help, because SEO is complex and becoming more so. And the pending launch of Apple Maps has the potential to drive up interest in SEO as businesses try to position themselves on a potentially huge local search platform. Shotland also noted that Google keeps making SEO more challenging, which rather than encouraging SEM has simply created more business for SEO experts like Shotland.
Increasingly SMBs are buying SEO solutions bundles that combine Google optimization, content creation, external data optimization, link building and so on. Programs can range from $200 per month up to thousands per month for company generating high volumes of high value leads online (think plastic surgeons).
Steve Yeich, CEO of Relevant Ads, talked about how SMBs with multilocation SEO, using the Chicago pizza chain Leona’s as an example. Yeich noted that 6,500 Google search a month for “Chicago pizza restaurant” and effective SEO is a key to getting at more of that traffic.
The basic approach to helping Leona’s Pizza involved cleaning up listings data (consistency is critical), building geo-targeted landing pages (location name in URL is a key to optimization), managing on-going content redistribution, among other things.
And the results? Before the program Leona’s had first page search result locations for four of 12 locations. A few months later they were 12 for 12.