Small-Business Owners Split on Importance of Search - eMarketer

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Small-Business Owners Split on Importance of Search

For new business opportunities, search has dropped in importance since last year

September 11, 2015

Search is typically a major driver of traffic to websites, but small-business owners disagree on whether it’s important for new business opportunities. Based on research over time, it may be less so than it once was.

US Small-Business Owners for Whom Search Engine Traffic Is an Important Source of New Business Opportunities, 2014 & 2015 (% of respondents)

The Small Business Authority found in August 2015 that 45% of US small-business owners said traffic from search engines was important as a source of new business opportunities. That was down five percentage points since 2014, when the importance of search traffic was affirmed by a bare majority.

In April 2015, Capital One Spark Business polled US small-business owners about which marketing tactics had brought the most ROI. Just 13% chose search engine optimization (SEO), though 18% chose online advertising, which could include search formats. Nearly two in five respondents, however, said none of the tactics named was effective.

Marketing Tactics in Which US Small-Business Owners Have Invested, April 2015 (% of respondents)

Seventeen percent of respondents said they were actively investing in SEO, while 25% were spending on online advertising in general. Both social media and email investments rated higher.

The same survey found that identifying and reaching new prospects was the No. 1 challenge of small-business owners. And if their lack of investment is any indication, many in this survey population agreed that search was not the way to gain new business.

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