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The popular sentiment is that most small business owners are pulled in 99 different directions, work insane hours, and hope to make a good profit one day.

There are certainly some owners that are really good at strategy, ops, and marketing, but it’s not the majority.

Small businesses are in a really tough spot with hiring marketing agencies – their budget is constrained to a few hundred to the low thousands a month. It’s enough to do something but not enough to make a big dent. The only thing tougher than small business marketing is small business SEO.

According to JP Morgan Chase, “Over 99 percent of America’s 28.7 million firms are small businesses. The vast majority (88 percent) of employer firms have fewer than 20 employees, and nearly 40 percent of all enterprises have under $100k in revenue.”

Perhaps I’m only speaking from my own experiences, but reading SEO blog posts and Tweets, I can’t help but think that the majority of SEO conversation topics are too low-level and missing the forest for the trees. The advice isn’t super helpful for small businesses.


1. Talking about site loading speeds, when small business sites have 5 pages and it won’t make an impact

2. Granular discussion about Schema and rich snippets

3. Overly complicated link building advice

The truth is, there’s so much information out there that small business owners just don’t have time to separate the wheat from the chaff.


The primary counterargument is that yes, these small things do add up at an enterprise scale. If you’re Etsy with millions of pages, then yes, title tag tweaking has a big impact.

If you’re Amazon, improving page load speed by milliseconds is impactful.

But for the 28 million small businesses in the U.S., the vast majority of minute advice is a distraction from the big focuses according to Drucker: Marketing and innovation.

So small businesses should spend most of their time innovating and marketing than tweaking SEO.

Yes, SEO is part of marketing, but the role it plays should be appropriate for the business.

A small business should be publishing, publishing, publishing, marketing, marketing, a dash of SEO, then more marketing, marketing, marketing.

Those who do need to hire an agency should only hire industry specialists that have been proven to do the work and get results.

Joe Robison

Founder & Consultant
Joe Robison is the founder of Green Flag Digital. He founded the agency in 2015 and has been heads-down scaling content marketing and SEO services for clients ever since. He is an occasional surfer, fledgling yogi, and sucker for organized travel tours.
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