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