A lack of awareness and knowledge of the benefits search engine optimisation means that 60% of SME marketers are not currently investing in SEO.

These stats are from dotSEO’s Naked SEO report, which contains the results of a survey of marketers from small businesses, as well as a benchmark study of the top 50 SME websites in the UK, as identified by The Times. 

A few highlights from the report after the jump… 

Use of SEO by small businesses

The benchmark study finds that many sites are getting the basics right, with 76% using heading tags in titles on their homepage and 64% using meta descriptions.

The 50 sites were judged against a range of SEO criteria, and average score for of all the websites was just 48%. Only 11 companies scored over 70%, with 24 scoring less than 50%.

Some of the lowest scores were in the on-site keywords section, with only 28% using relevant keywords on their websites, something which could be easily fixed. 

SME attitudes to SEO

The results of the survey reveal a lack of knowledge about SEO, as well as being unaware of the benefits of search optimisation. 

  • 22% did not know what SEO was, and therefore didn’t invest. 
  • 20% were aware SEO yet chose not to allocate any budget for it. 
  • 18% chose to spend their money on paid search instead. 
  • Only 15% invested in search and considered it either an important or crucial part of their marketing strategy. 

Plans for investment in SEO

  • 11% of SMEs plan to increase their investment in SEO over the next 12 months, 5% plan to reduce spending in this area, while 22% will keep their SEO budget at the same level. 
  • While 14% considered SEO either important or vital to their businesses in the next year, 29% have no plans to do anything about SEO. 
  • 14% said they planned to hire an SEO agency, while 23% plan to keep their SEO strategy either completely or partially in-house. 

The results of this report follow a similar pattern to a Thomson Local study we covered last week which found that 47% of 1,001 websites studied had either very basic or no search engine optimisation at all.

As the survey results show, there are plenty of small businesses that are yet to see the value of effective SEO, or else lack the knowledge to make some basic improvements that would improve their search rankings. 

These businesses should be looking to correct this as, implemented well, SEO has the potential to be a very important and cost-effective sales channel. Also, competitors that have invested time or money in SEO may be gaining an advantage.