Danny Sullivan has a great write-up in Search Engine Land relaying his experiences in searching for small businesses and coming up frustrated. He had assumed that every business owner, large or small, must understand by now the importance of appearing before these customers in search. However as he recently sought out local businesses to help with his needs after a recent move, Danny was reminded of just how far behind some companies remain.
I’ve had the same experience when searching for local businesses in the master planned community I live in – Anthem, Arizona. You could simply not find businesses up here even if they had web sites because they had taken no actions to ensure that they could be found. In fact when speaking to 20 or so Anthem business owners a couple years ago, I asked how many were doing any form of search marketing and only two out of the twenty raised their hands.
My own experience caused me to build a local directory called AnthemLocal so I could find businesses up here when I need them. Now that same site on many occasions ranks better for the brand names of companies in Anthem than the company web sites themselves.
I believe the fact that a lot of small businesses are still not getting it lies in their ignorance of search marketing in the first place. I’m not saying that small business owners are stupid but rather they have not taken the time to properly educate themselves on what search marketing is and how it can vastly improve their business.
This is why I so much appreciate the opportunity to educate small business owners when they call in with the request to “be found in the search engines.” Rather than give them some sales pitch, I try to educate them what SEO, PPC, Link Building and even Social Media Marketing are. After our talk they usually get it and jump on board. Not too long afterwards they are always thrilled with the results, many of them wondering why they waited so long.
You think it’s bad that so many small businesses have yet to understand and grasp search by now? I know small business owners who still do not even have a web site! And you didn’t think we still had dinosaurs among us.
So if you are a small business own who has yet to take advantage of search marketing, reading this post is a good first step for you. I would encourage you to educate yourself by researching materials online, attend a local conference on search marketing (their are plenty of them) or even contact a local search marketing company and pick their brain. Just because you are unfamiliar with something is no excuse to ignore it, especially when you are missing out on valuable business from searchers such as Danny or myself because we cannot find you!