By Jason Theodorou

A survey of marketers by SEO agency dotSEO reveals nearly a quarter of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) still don’t know much about search engine optimisation (SEO), despite Google being the first port of call for most people looking for goods and services.

A fifth said that although they know what SEO is, they don’t spend any of their marketing budgets on it. Only 14% identified SEO as being strategically important to their business. 23% of marketers were also unsure about the benefits delivered by using SEO, with 14% saying there were no benefits as far as they could tell.

The survey findings are revealed in a new dotSEO report entitled “Naked SEO”, which is designed to demystify what SEO actually entails. The full report can be downloaded here.

Naked SEO also includes the results of a new benchmark study into how 50 of the UK’s leading SMEs, as ranked by The Sunday Times, are optimising their websites for natural search. The study found that the majority are failing to take simple steps to improve search engine rankings, with only 28% using relevant keywords on their site.

The dotSEO benchmark study shows SMEs were generally getting the more basic SEO requirements right with, for example, 76% using heading tags in titles on their homepage and 64% using meta descriptions to give a good summary of the site. But at the more technical end, the results were poor, with only 22% of page titles beginning with a keyword and only 44% having a clearly visible sitemap.

Skip Fidura, Digital Director at dotSEO said: “SME marketers in the UK are clearly unsure about the benefits of SEO, which in turn means they aren’t making the simple changes to their websites that could dramatically affect their rankings. The SEO industry itself isn’t helping to educate businesses".

"Too often SEO techniques are shrouded in mystery as a dark art, not within the reach of ordinary marketers. Our report reveals how there are simple steps that any company can take to make tangible SEO improvements and drive real business returns.”

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