2020 Online Marketing Study: Small Businesses Often Fall Short with Basic SEO

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The new Online Marketing Coach report, "Small Businesses Aren't Mining SEO Gold," details shortcomings with website page titles (60% lack suitable keyword phrases), content headers (77% don’t feature effective keywords), and the number of indexed pages (25% have 1-10 pages).

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Small businesses keep missing the mark with SEO and search engines like Google, according to a 2020 Online Marketing coach study, "Small Businesses Aren't Mining SEO Gold." The report, based on an evaluation of 200 U.S. small businesses, found that the company websites rarely focus on educational content, keyword-rich page titles, and backlinks to attract more visitors and leads through search engines.

The businesses were randomly selected from a ReferenceUSA database covering diverse industries, such as retail, manufacturing, health care and construction.

“Unfortunately, small businesses still aren’t digging deep enough to really enjoy the value of SEO – search rankings, better visibility, natural website traffic, leads and sales,” said Mike Murray, president of Online Marketing Coach. “Occasionally, they do well, but generally small businesses seem too content with tiny websites. They also lack links from other websites even though backlinks can affect rankings on Google.”

For example, the study found that:

  • 77% don't include effective keywords in page content headers.
  • 60% don't include useful keyword phrases in SEO page titles.
  • 33% have 50 backlinks or less.
  • 25% have fewer than 10 pages.
  • 85% don't offer educational content.
  • 80% are mobile-friendly.

Additional results are available in the complete study:

Online Marketing Coach also explored keyword rankings for 20 of the websites. Other than the company name, the websites struggled to appear on Google even on the first few search engine results pages (SERPs). The study includes a few examples of websites that did rank near the top of Google.

In addition to charts, the study features numerous screenshots of how businesses attempt to mine SEO. Examples include page titles, domain names, and calls to action that can help companies connect with visitors who arrive from a natural search and other sources.

“It’s clear that small businesses don’t realize that multiple SEO basics should be in place, not just a blog or a domain name that includes a keyword. Website size, keywords in titles and link building all come into play,” Murray said.

About Online MarketingCoach

Online Marketing Coach shapes digital marketing strategies for small businesses in distinct industries, including manufacturing, technology, retail, and health care. Mike Murray, the firm’s founder, has guided businesses since 1997, including well-known brands like Little Tikes, Bissell, FedEx Custom Critical, MTD, KeyBank, Cleveland Clinic, Sauder and Eaton. Mike has authored several national studies and frequently writes for industry publications. He speaks at conferences like Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Search Engine Strategies (New York City, Chicago, and San Jose), American Marketing Association (Cleveland, Ohio chapter), Educational Travel Conference (Providence, Rhode Island), and the University of Toledo Internet Conference.

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Mike Murray
since: 08/2008
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