SEO for small business - the statistics

SEO Small Business Statistics 2016: Do-It-Yourself vs Outsource?

Written by | Date Updated: July 12, 2016
SEO for small business - the statistics


Small businesses, you have a difficult decision to make regarding SEO. Do you do SEO in-house or should you outsource?

As you consider this decision, it’s always beneficial to know what your peers are doing and to find out if they are satisfied with their decision.

Of course, another decision is not to embrace the concept of SEO at all. You may opt for some form of outbound marketing that you have already been doing, but did you know that SEO leads have a 14.6 conversion rate as opposed to the 1.7% average conversion rate for traditional outbound marketing such as trade shows, cold-calling, or email blasts.

So, we know that, when done right, SEO works for your small business. However, while some small businesses still want SEO for $500 per month, SEO does cost money and does take time to see results.

The amount of money that small businesses spend on SEO varies greatly. This cost can be somewhat trimmed by doing SEO in-house (as opposed to outsourcing) but the cost to have trained SEO and online marketing employees in-house is not inconsequential.

So, let’s take a look at what your peers are doing to help guide you in the process. Should you go with in-house, do-it-yourself SEO or outsource? Here are 5 compelling SEO small business statistics to consider from this week’s SEO and PPC article of the week.

More than 60% of small businesses do SEO in-house.

Many refer to doing SEO in-house as “do-it-yourself” SEO. In fact, with tools such as The SEO System’s small business online marketing software, small businesses can implement the SEO tactics of the major players.

And, it’s no surprise that over half of the businesses resort to doing their own SEO. The reason for this is money and commitment.

While outsourcing your SEO can lead to monthly contractually obligated payments, in-house SEO is often done by existing employees whose salary is already a part of the budget. This can be a solution and a problem all at once.

Why? Commitment.

Your existing employees are there because they already have a job. Thus, while it is highly beneficial to have a knowledgeable employee steer certain online marketing efforts (E.g. who better to engage in content marketing than someone who knows your market?), there will always be conflict with their levels of effort. Are they there to do the job that they were hired for or to do your in-house SEO?

You will read time and again that SEO takes consistency and dedication to achieve success. The problem that people often have with doing SEO in-house is the absence of this consistency and dedication.

If you can solve this problem, it may make sense for you to do SEO in-house. After all, 60% of your fellow small businesses are doing it.

Roughly 30% of small businesses outsource SEO.

Just when you think it might be safe to do your own SEO, online marketing expert Neil Patel offers 12 Reasons Why You Might Never (Ever) Want to Hire an In-House SEO.

Among these reasons, Neil mentions price, ability, necessity, commitment, strategy, perspective, and location. A rather long list, wouldn’t you say?

Keep in mind though that Neil is talking about hiring an SEO specialist to work for your company, not redeploying existing resources to do the in-house SEO. As he mentions, “If you have a small website with limited SEO needs, you might already have someone on staff who has the SEO skills to help you rank.” Personally, I would favor the reallocating existing staff approach to hiring a dedicated SEO resource.

So, if you are ready to outsource your small business SEO as 30% of your fellow SMB’s are doing, do so wisely: Be sure to read 17 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Company.

80% of those that do SEO in-house are very likely to continue to do so.

If you decide to go with SEO in-house, you are like to be happy with this decision — more than 80% of those that do in-house SEO are like to continue down this path.

However, this begs the question: Are they happy because they don’t know anything else? Are they measuring the proper metrics? Are they improving ROI? Do they even know to ask these questions?

Be that as it may (even if ignorance may be bliss in some circumstances), they are content with their current plan.

66% of companies that outsource SEO are somewhat or very satisfied with their service providers.

You may have heard that outsourcing your SEO can lead to disaster. Certainly, if you are promised the world and asked for little money in return, you may likely become a victim similar to one of these 5 Horror Stories of Cheap SEO Gone Wrong.

However, in spite of these horror stories (which always achieve more notoriety than positive outcomes), more than 66% of companies who outsource SEO are somewhat or very satisfied with their SEO consultant or company. Moreover, 78% of those who outsource SEO are very or somewhat likely to continue to do so.

So, while horror stories do exist, you may want to ask who is more likely to create some of The Biggest SEO Blunders of All Time: An in-house representative or an outsourced company full of SEO professionals?

Conclusion: What do these SEO small business statistics tell us?

What will be your SEO small business decision in 2016? In-House or Outsource?

These SMB online marketing SEO statistics yield very positive news — the vast majority of your SMB brethren, whether they’ve chosen in-house or outsourced SEO, are content with their choices.

Article Comments: What are your thoughts? Are you implementing SEO in-house for your small business or outsourcing it? Are you satisfied with your decisions? Why/Why not? Sound off in the comments section below. I respond to all comments that come in.
Cheers, Richard

Richard Cummings

Director of SEO, Social Media, and Web Content Development at The SEO System
Richard Cummings has been practicing online marketing for many years and has setup and optimized hundreds of WordPress sites.He founded The SEO System to provide SEO, social media, and online marketing services and software to businesses.
Richard CummingsSEO Small Business Statistics 2016: Do-It-Yourself vs Outsource?