February 24, 2010
By Jill Whalen
I've had the opportunity to work with a variety of businesses through the years – from tiny one-person small businesses to huge international companies. While there are many similarities in working with different sized companies, there are also important differences.
For instance, what's great about working with small businesses who opt for full-service SEO packages is that you can roll up your sleeves, dig right in, and get the on-page SEO set up quickly and efficiently while starting to see results soon after. While the SEO process itself is similar for large businesses, there's often a difference in how (or whether) the SEO ever gets implemented.
With small-business SEO services, you usually deal directly with the owner of the company, or at least with someone authorized to quickly approve your recommendations, so implementation can go a lot faster. In fact, after a certain level of trust has been established, they will often give you carte blanche to immediately implement whatever needs to be done to increase the website's targeted search engine traffic.
Too many cooks spoil the SEO soup!
With some larger companies, any change to the website – no matter how small – has to be reviewed by Marketing and then implemented by IT. Sometimes the approvals from marketing come quickly but IT puts a crimp in things by saying, "We can't make those changes" or "We don't need to make those changes." Or it can go the other way where IT is ready, willing and able to do whatever is necessary, but Marketing (or sometimes Legal) sticks a monkey wrench into the works. It's not that they're purposely trying to thwart the SEO process, they just have their own stake in the website and how they want it to be.
Don't get me wrong – this isn't true of all large companies. We've worked with many who had prior approval to implement changes, and did so in a timely manner. But this is typically not the norm. Because of this, most large-business SEO is about making recommendations rather than doing stuff. While this makes things easy for the SEO company, recommendations are not always implemented in a timely fashion – and sometimes never at all.
Small businesses aren't immune either.
In an effort to save money, many small businesses opt to learn how to do their own SEO either through SEO classes or website audit reports rather than paying for a complete implementation package. Unfortunately, many of these same companies never implement the recommended SEO advice due to a lack of time.
As a small-business owner myself, I can certainly relate to this lack of time. I don't have time to input my bank statements each month into QuickBooks. I scarcely have time to open the mountain of mail that keeps piling up on my desk. I'm busy helping our clients and barely have time to eat lunch, let alone do additional projects that are out of my area of expertise.
So I absolutely understand the small-business owners who can't find the time to implement their SEO recommendations – even when spelled out clearly and succinctly. But that doesn't make them any less important! Implementing SEO is the most important thing you can do for your website – especially if you're a small business. And unfortunately, SEO doesn't implement itself.
Hire others to do what you don't have time for.
I've recently taken care of my bookkeeping conundrum by hiring someone part time to do it and the other nagging things I don't have the time or inclination to do. If you can't find time to correctly implement your SEO, whether you're a small business or a large one, you need to hire someone else to do it for you. Think of it as an investment in the future of your company.
Like many professional endeavors, sometimes it just makes sense to outsource it to the experts. This is especially true of those business owners who've tried to do it on their own and found they just don't have the time or the understanding to do it correctly.
Be careful out there!
If you decide to outsource your SEO, just remember that all SEOs aren't created equal. In other words, don't hire someone who dabbles in SEO on the side. Be sure to find a company who understands all the ins and outs of SEO, and more than that, be sure they understand why they need to implement certain recommendations. Everything recommended by a professional SEO is done so for a reason. And each and every recommendation should make your website better for your site visitors, not worse. You'll want to work only with an SEO company who agrees with that premise and follows it to a tee! Anything less, and they will be doing you, your business and your website a disservice. But worse than that, they could potentially harm your search engine rankings and traffic rather than help.
While you can be educated about SEO and even have all the recommendations in hand that you need to start increasing your website traffic, if you don't implement it, you'll never take your website and your business to the next level.
Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings, an SEO consulting agency based outside of Boston, MA. Be the first to read more articles like this by signing up for the High Rankings Advisor search marketing newsletter.