It seems to me that it doesn’t really matter the size of a business or how many clients they have the consensus across the board for many businesses is that they still have a real hard time understanding the concept of SEO or even its value to a business. This actually blows my mind that in today’s market place you can take a rather large established and robust business and ask them what is search engine marketing? Your answers will probably be devastating.
Why is SEO such a difficult concept to understand? Is it that people just can grasp the whole idea of inbound marketing? The concept is not all that difficult. You have to take a step back and just really dumb things down a bit. People are under the preconceived notion that SEO is really technical and it is all about finding the tricks and secrets to get web pages ranking in the search engines. It seriously couldn’t be further from the truth. The problem is that search engine optimization was a technical approach for many years but not so much anymore. Things are changing in the search engine marketing world. Before MySpace there was no serious online community and conversation aspect. Now it is a part of everyone’s daily life.
Matt McGee is the editor of Search Engine Land and he recently came across a study that shows how a rather large group of Fortune 500 companies are still confused about the whole SEO concept.
Matt McGee States:
“Despite spending millions of dollars on paid search, Fortune 500 companies continue to fail when it comes to natural search visibility. That’s the conclusion of “Natural Search Trends of the Fortune 500: Q4/2009,” the latest study released today by Conductor, a New York-based SEO services/technology firm.”
You can view the rest of the study here. Search engine optimization seems to still be viewed as a dark art. Kind of like the black sheep of the digital marketing age. I think over time this reputation will be seriously cleaned up. Search behavior and shopping patterns are changing and they have been for quite some time. This is a fast moving industry that truly requires having an open mind and the ability to really keep up with the sweeping changes that often times occur in the SEO industry. One day an effort might be perfectly ok to apply to your online marketing approach and the next day it is highly frowned upon by all search engines. Maybe for this reason many big businesses that have been conditioned to conduct business a certain way for so many years are having a hard time adopting this new form of marketing and communication. I think over time as younger generations move up in rankings through a variety of industries we will see an even bigger boom of search engine optimization needs. Right now many businesses are very reluctant to incorporate SEO into their daily business model because I think they just don’t understand its raw power.
With social media hot on the heels of search engine optimization it makes things even trickier. Search engine marketing has been around for almost ten years and many businesses are yet to adopt the practices never mind diving into something even much younger. Social media has only been in full swing for about 3 years and many businesses don’t have any intention to introduce it into their business just yet.
Look at these daunting statistics that Matt McGee laid out on Search Engine Land:
• Only 15% of Fortune 500 companies have “mid to strong presence” in natural search results for the same keywords on which they advertise the most.
• 53% have “no natural search visibility for their most advertised keywords” — meaning they don’t show up in the Top 100 results.
• Collectively, the Fortune 500 spent about $3.4 million per day on more than 97,000 keywords, but they show up in the Top 50 of natural search results for only 25% of those keywords.
Could it be because they are such big entities they feel like they don’t need it? Or is that they are scared of it because they don’t understand it? I think it is a strong combination of both. Like I said as the younger generations move up the rankings through these corporate giants we will see them start to leave a much larger foot print in the search engines. Until then we all have to play our part to let them know that it is important. Is it smart for them to play the business as usual card?