More than half of Chicago’s small businesses lack an SEO strategy

Chicago SEO Marketing

Survey results suggest that more than half of SMBs do not have a SEO strategy despite more competitive SERPs and increased interest in SEO services.

Small to medium-sized business owners and employees in the Chicago area have revealed that 50% do not have an SEO strategy, and 25% do not intend to create one this year.

Just 40% of businesses have implemented an SEO strategy and 30% have made it a priority for 2022.

Despite the relatively small sample size, these findings are surprising after nearly two years of economic turmoil and uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

Consumers’ informational needs and shopping behavior changed dramatically due to lockdowns, fear, and restrictions on businesses in 2020, with Internet traffic growing by 40% globally.

Early in the pandemic, SEO interest spiked as businesses scrambled to get discovered by customers searching for nearby solutions for food delivery, online banking and healthcare appointments, furniture for the home, and more.

SEO’s popularity has remained high because it has proven to be not only a powerful marketing channel, but also an invaluable source of customer insight in an era when historical data proved largely useless.

SEO works, and businesses know it.

According to our own SEO 2021 study, client traffic increased for 65% of SEO professionals between mid-2020 and mid-2021. Additionally, 75% of SEO budgets either remained the same or increased during that timeframe.

The fact that a sizable majority of businesses do not have an SEO strategy in place is alarming – at least for those companies.

SEO SMB Survey Key Findings

During our inquiries, we found that many respondents are utilizing SEO strategies in conjunction with PPC strategies in order to create a synergistic effect between the two forms of marketing

More than half of small businesses with an SEO strategy invest in paid search advertising, and another 30% plan to do so in the coming year.

Since PPC tends to be very inexpensive, this is one way that businesses can test the waters on a search engine without investing significant time or expense in modifying your website for search engine friendliness.
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  • 30% use Google Ads
  • 20% use Facebook Ads
  • 15% use Instagram Ads
  • 10% use Amazon Ads
  • 10% use LinkedIn Ads

The Best Small Business Analytics Tools

According to small businesses when asked what tools they use for analytics:

  • 15% use Google Analytics
  • 10% use Google Search Console
  • 10% use Answer The Public
  • 10% use SEOquake
  • 10% use Screaming Frog

Small business SEO goals for 2022

According to what businesses most want to accomplish in their SEO programs this year, these were the top-weighted goals:

  • Boost organic traffic.
  • Increase organic conversions.
  • Increase domain authority.
  • Gain more featured snippets.
  • Improve brand recognition.
  • Develop an internal linking strategy.
  • Boost page speed.
  • Reduce bounce and exit rates.
  • Improve backlink profile.
  • Diversify the high-traffic pages.

However, you can also choose to look at the bright side of the data; 80% percent of businesses are making SEO a priority in 2022. That’s great news for them.

Those who don’t plan to create an SEO strategy this year or don’t follow through on their plans to implement one, will likely find it increasingly difficult to be discovered by new customers online.