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by OppGenetix

How much do business owners know about SEO? The answer might surprise you.

Fractl surveyed 977 people, with 394 of them being business owners, on SEO knowledge. The majority of these business owners (219) ran companies with fewer than 5 employees.

This survey found that:

  • Nearly a quarter of business owners were either vaguely familiar or not familiar with SEO.
  • 55% of business owners reported being mostly or very familiar with SEO.
  • 1 in 3 business owners had little or no understanding of how Google determines search rankings.
  • When asked to describe common SEO terms, business owners were more confident than the general public, but…
  • …When quizzed over these basic SEO terms and concepts, both business owners and the general public failed. On average, business owners scored 48.7% while the general public scored 38.7%.
  • About 26% of business owners don’t see SEO as an important aspect of the health of their business while 18.4% think it is very important.

The gaps in SEO knowledge, particularly for business owners, are eye-opening. How is it that 55% of business owners said they were mostly or very familiar with SEO while failing to pass a basic SEO terminology quiz? Even though business owners’ average quiz results were better than the general public’s, a failing grade is still a failing grade. It’s easy to pin the blame on those surveyed for their lack of knowledge, but what if that is only part of the problem?

What if the digital marketing industry is doing a poor job of educating clients about SEO?

 

Bad and Good Teachers

Bad teachers are teachers who fail at their main task: educating students in a way that makes sense.

We’ve all seen our share of bad teachers. There’s the math teacher who insists there is only one way to solve a problem even though there are several other ways. Maybe you’ve had a chemistry professor who cannot explain complex concepts in a simple way — but instead uses a lot of scientific jargon with the assumption that the students understand.

On the other hand, you may have been fortunate enough to encounter a good teacher. Good teachers simplify confusing or difficult concepts, encourage multiple ways of problem-solving, and inspire their students by revealing what can be achieved with a thorough education.

Just as there are good and bad teachers, there are also good and bad digital marketing agencies. A good digital marketing agency is a lot like a good teacher. They both educate and communicate with the items below in mind.

 

Being Transparent and Honest

If a digital marketing agency says it has a secret formula or won’t disclose a list of its clients, that’s a red flag. That might mean they don’t value educating clients, they don’t feel comfortable educating clients, or they have a reason to work in secrecy.

There is no reason to keep SEO ranking factors a secret, especially when some factors can easily be found in a Google search. However, there are still aspects of SEO that may require an agency’s expertise, so don’t go waving off a partnership with one immediately. Some organic search ranking factors weigh more heavily than others, and that isn’t necessarily information business owners can glean from just anyone’s blog.

Ideally, a digital marketing agency will teach clients as much as they know about SEO so their business can meet their goals, whether that be lead generation, booking more appointments and consultations, or increasing sales.

Hiding any of that information could have a negative impact on a client later down the road, leaving them worse off than they were before.

 

Encouraging Growth to Succeed

The most experienced digital marketing agencies want to see their clients succeed. They won’t string people along with vague answers. They’ll do whatever it takes to see their clients rise to the top.

The best digital marketing agencies will create a customized SEO strategy that’ll help clients meet their unique goals. They also know to communicate that it takes time to see the effects of any optimizations that have been made to the client’s website and content.

Growth does not happen overnight. It may take months before a client sees an increase in sales or consultations. An agency that tells its clients that growth will be immediate may not be the most honest or experienced agency.

 

Creating Personalized Strategies

Everyone learns differently. In an ideal world, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to education.

Business owners who receive “cookie-cutter” services from their digital marketing agency may want to look elsewhere. It doesn’t matter if this agency has some of the highest organic keyword rankings for their clients. Just because they had great success with a few clients using the same strategy does not mean they’ll be able to boost your business to achieve the same results.

Before starting a marketing campaign, a strategic marketing agency performs a digital audit and analysis so they can figure out the areas where SEO and/or PPC clients succeed and the areas in need of work.

 

Bringing It All Together

It is imperative to educate business owners about SEO and PPC campaigns and what sets apart the best digital marketing agencies from their counterparts.

For business owners:

If you work with an agency, ask them to explain topics in more depth instead of giving summaries. If you don’t understand something, ask them to slow down or give another example. 

Just as business owners tend to be knowledgeable about their respective industries, digital marketers have some expertise in theirs, too. They might not know the ins and outs of what running your business entails or certain terms, but that doesn’t mean you think they’re complete buffoons. Marketers don’t think that about you. They know you’re seeking their help and won’t think any less of you for asking what you might feel is a stupid question.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question, so ask anything that comes to mind.

For digital marketing agencies:

Explain things on a basic level before getting too deep into the lingo of SEO and PPC. If your client looks or sounds confused or frustrated, stop and ask an open-ended question like, “What can I make more clear?”

Asking “Does that make sense to you?” makes it easy for clients to nod along, even though they have no idea what you’re saying. Open-ended questions encourage you to listen carefully to clients, which shows you take them seriously. That can strengthen your relationship with clients.

Business owners and digital marketing agencies are not enemies. They are partners that could not exist without the other. Educating one another is key to successful marketing campaigns, and by utilizing all this information and transforming them into strategies, we can start to close the SEO knowledge gap.

OppGenetix Team
About OppGenetix Team
Business Owners Still Don’t Understand SEO, and It’s Not Their Fault