Less Than Half of Businesses Say They Use SEO. Why is That?

Posted on September 28th, 2018 by nms

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a proven formula for success. By increasing visibility in online searches, businesses of any size can benefit, bringing in more customers and improving revenue streams as a result. SEO for insurance agents has been shown to yield a significant return on investment, helping smaller agencies stand out in a competitive marketplace. Despite the potential of SEO in boosting search visibility, many small business owners forgo this critical component of digital marketing. In fact, a study by the Small Business Authority suggested that less than 50 percent of all small business owners polled believe that search engine traffic is an important source of business growth. In the same study, it was shown that only about 17 percent of small businesses in the survey were actively investing in SEO strategies, and a staggering 39 percent were not taking advantage of marketing efforts at all.

Why the reluctance to adopt SEO? In this article, we’ll take a look at why small business owners are not leveraging the power of SEO and illustrate the benefits of adopting this digital marketing tool to increase potential business traffic.

Misconceptions about Search Engine Optimization

In the earliest days of the World Wide Web, nefarious practices were used to boost search visibility. So-called “black hat” strategies were designed to fool popular search engines; these strategies included stuffing content with repetitive keywords and links in order to force search engines to rank offending sites favorably. As the search engine algorithm has evolved, these sneaky practices have fallen out of favor and may in fact now penalize the sites that attempt to use them. The modern algorithm is not easily fooled and SEO has been shown time and again to produce real results, yet the belief that SEO is a scam persists among many small business owners. Poor understanding of accepted practices and a fear that SEO can actually harm a business’s chances at bringing in new traffic makes many owners reluctant to invest in this digital marketing cornerstone.

There are misconceptions about time and cost as well. Many smaller business owners believe that adopting SEO requires a huge budget. Because SEO does not produce overnight results, some business owners and marketing professionals find they cannot wait for the payoff, turning to other methods to produce the desired quick gains in website traffic. The truth behind both of these misconceptions is that SEO can be inexpensive to adopt, particularly when a company adds SEO features to new content as it is launched. And, although SEO tends to produce more long-term gains in traffic, relatively quick results can be shown if a company is willing to add this toolkit to their marketing efforts.

A Changed Playing Field

A leading digital marketing industry group released a study in 2018 that showed SEO has fallen out of favor among marketing professionals, despite its proven underpinnings. Many marketers are focusing their efforts on emerging marketing outlets, including:

  • Social media promotion
  • Email marketing
  • Website development and marketing
  • Display advertisements
  • Mobile applications

Obviously, these emerging marketing platforms have changed the digital marketing playing field, but by utilizing these new tools, marketers are still employing many of the fundamental principles of SEO, even if they may be unaware of this fact. While attention to new marketing platforms is important, it is critical that small businesses invest in SEO, as failure to do so could undermine results in these other platforms.

Benefits of SEO

SEO for insurance agents can have profound effects on business opportunities. By driving traffic to your agency’s online properties, such as websites, social media profiles, and blogs, SEO allows you to make connections with potential new customers at a fraction of the cost of other marketing methods. There are additional benefits to adding SEO to your marketing efforts as well. Optimized site content provides a better user experience, which strongly influences “conversion”, or turning a site visitor into a customer. Leads generated from SEO efforts also have substantially higher closing rates than in outbound marketing leads; in other words, it is estimated that the close rate for SEO leads is around 14%, while outbound leads only produce less than 2% efficiency in close rates.

SEO can add a vital boost to your business. It can be time-consuming to adopt these proven marketing methods, but, as shown above, the payoff is more than worth the effort.

About Agency Tsunami

Agency Tsunami is the digital marketing division of Neilson Marketing Services, who has provided the insurance distribution sector with innovative marketing and communication solutions for over twenty-five years. With our Agency Tsunami program, we have implemented an integrated marketing strategy that includes optimized, professional websites supported by high-quality SEO and Social Media for hundreds of insurance retailers and wholesalers. Our goal is to help your insurance business perform and generate new opportunities. Give us a call at (800) 736-9741 to learn more about how we can do that for you.