As a consultant for small businesses I get asked all the time if SMB’s should be using SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The answer is “No”.  A lot of businesses don’t really understand how difficult and costly it is to get a top ranking for whatever keyword or search term they want. They dream of outranking websites that have been spending tens of thousands of dollars in content development and marketing for years.

It takes real money to displace real money. So if a business has been spending 50k a year on SEO for the last 3 years, then it has already spent 150K in content development and marketing. And if your idea of replacing this 150k worth of rankings is a 10k yearly budget for an intern to learn SEO on your dime then you need to wake up.

Content is King and it should Be Done in-House

There are a lot of technical components that will go over the heads of most SMBs and many SMBs simply don’t get marketing. The best way to capture the most relevant keywords in a search is to blog. The process of blogging will produce content and help connect you with your community. Content is King! Always has been, probably always will be.

But managing your SEO campaign or content creation can’t be easily outsourced. It has to be part of your business. And you can’t expect it to have far-reaching results overnight or even within a year. Building a business is a long-term project offline and online. So I’d say that outsourced SEO is likely not for many SMBs (outside of Local SEO services) but that internal SEO is not only viable but critical to long-term success.

Thank Goodness for WordPress!

I was never that concerned with SEO until I started using WordPress. WordPress is my blogging platform of choice. It’s open source, top rated and free. Free does have its price since you don’t get any support but that is a small tradeoff for why you get in return.

WordPress is my SEO lifeline. By using WordPress SEO plugins I have learned the basics of SEO without having to spend a small fortune. The school of hard knocks comes to the rescue again. There are also tools for WordPress to help you manage keywords and tags.

But How Do SMB’s find this In-House Talent to Manage SEO?

That is an excellent question! I have yet to stumble across the person who has the entrepreneurial spirit to work directly with an SMB. It can get quite daunting and you need to have some other real world skills besides the ability to code, make websites and manage SEO Campaigns.

As a matter of fact I recommend finding an actual blogger to handle your in house SEO and other marketing opportunities. This is even harder to find. Most marketers, bloggers, SEO people gravitate towards large corporate marketing firms. That does have its advantages as there are strengths in numbers and the learning curve is quicker for a marketer in a large firm.

I have no great answers here for SMB’s as to where to find the perfect person to fill that internal Marketing/Blogging/SEO/all around tech person. For those of you who follow the blog, most SMB’s have a ned for this type of person. They may not be able to pay as well as large companies, they may have tons of work too but there’s definitely a need for bloggers in the SMB World.

What do you think? Have your SEO outsourced or do it internally with WordPress?

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