Many small businesses are at a financial disadvantage when it comes to marketing their website. Too often they don't have the funds, time, or resources needed to engage in as much marketing as they would like. Unlike larger businesses with deep pockets, small business often have to rely on do-it-yourself strategies built upon free advice gathered from blogs, forums, and social networking sites.

This gives them a lot to worry about, making sure they are doing it right and that the results will be all they had hoped for. And hoping it doesn't break their budget in the process.

Worry MoneyEvery small business owner wants to get the most value for the money they spend on their marketing efforts. Simply put, the ROI must be there. But even with a good SEO and a good campaign outline, you can still break your budget--or render your SEO campaign ineffective--when you let your worries get the best of you. Worrying about smart things is smart. Worrying about the other stuff, well, that just sets you up for failure.

Here are five things you should stop worrying about if you don't want to blow your SEO budget over the top:

1) Worrying about perfection

SEO isn't an exact science. Nor is usability. There are many trials and errors along the way and if you're not prepared for that then you'll likely spend too much of your time trying to perfect what can't be perfected.

There are many trade-offs made when optimizing a site. Ultimately you want to do what's best for your visitors, while doing what's best for the search engines. While the search engines like to believe those are one in the same, the truth is that they are often two different things. But the differences are not always that great between them. The problem is when you want perfection on both, when you may need to settle for less than perfect in order to get a perfect balance.

When it comes to both engines and visitor usability the paths to the perfect site is always changing because what would have been perfect yesterday is not perfect today. While I don't advocate settling for poor performance, sometimes you have to accept what you have, get it out there and then move forward perfecting it later. If you try to make it perfect first, you'll be spending your budget on that while you get no improvement from the search engines. Isn't it better to start getting the benefit of the changes sooner, and perfect it later?

2) Worrying about getting #1 rankings

Wouldn't it be nice if getting that #1 spot were easy (and cheap?). Unfortunately we don't operate in a vacuum and there are many competing forces out there.

If you're in a highly competitive industry, it's not just your competitors that you're up against. Informational sites such as Wikipedia, blogs and other informational sites can often dominate the top search engine rankings for your most profitable keywords.

Achieving top search engine placement for all your keywords is great, but sometimes your money is better spent making improvements elsewhere. Once your site is optimized you can often get better return on your investment by improving your website and visitor's experience. Instead of wanting to be #1, why not build a site that actually deserves to be #1.

You may never outperform sits like Wikipedia, and you may never be able to outspend your competition. Get your self settled on this and you can direct your, and your SEO's, efforts on things that will make a real difference in your optimization campaign.

3) Worrying about competitor movement

Do you see a competitor climbing in the rankings? Are you worried that they will over take you? Do you see them outperforming you on some keywords? While this may be disconcerting, you can't expect your SEO to jump in and stop that from happening. Yes, you can invest in more SEO or links or social media... and maybe you should, but short of that, a site can only get so optimized for certain keywords.

Honestly, the question here isn't whether your SEO is doing their job or not. The solution isn't to demand that they start doing better. The real and only viable solution is to assess your campaign and make changes as needed. This may require spending your money in new areas, or spending more money altogether in order to remain competitive.

The problem with worrying about how your competitors are performing is that there is so much you don't know. How much are they spending? Are they profitable? Are they focused on the right things? These questions are just a few you need to know before you decide what, precisely, is worth worrying about.

4) Worrying about traffic over conversions

We all want rankings so we can get traffic. But why do we want traffic? Traffic alone isn't worth much unless it converts into paying customers. We often lose sight of that as we optimize sites. We pay our SEOs to deliver traffic and are often happy to see traffic come, even if the conversions do not follow.

While traffic is a required result of the SEO campaign, conversions should matter more. Before worrying about traffic increases or declines, look first to see what your conversion rates are. SEO can often result in more traffic but less sales. How does that benefit anyone?

If your traffic improves, your conversion rates need to be monitored. If you're getting more sales, great. But if you're losing in your conversion rate then you may need to focus on improving that before looking to improve traffic any further. Why bring more people to the site if fewer and fewer are going to convert?

5) Worrying about slow growth / instant success

SEO is a long-term process that rarely, if ever, brings over night success. One of the most difficult expectations to overcome when pitching SEO services is the expectation that results will come fast.

Some sites can be optimized and see near immediate benefit. Other sites take longer to get optimized therefore the benefit in rankings takes longer. Newer sites have a much longer hill to climb before they see success.

Before beginning an SEO campaign be sure that your expectations are in line with reality. Don't look for a get-rich-quick solution, but instead be willing to invest in a long-term strategy that will pay off only as you let it mature.

Small business budgets are tight and they have to make the most of every dollar. But sometimes trying to squeeze every bit of juice from a dollar ultimately squeezes the life out of it. Worrying too much about the performance of your SEO campaign can lead to jumping the gun on bad intel and making a seemingly bad situation worse.

Give time for your SEO campaign to work before jumping in to make changes. I know, it can be difficult if you are spending money and don't see things going your way. There is risk in everything, including worrying about something that you shouldn't. Worry less, and let your SEO campaign perform more.

November 19, 2009

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Hi Stoney,

Thanks for the post.
Clear thinking, clear thoughts, and clearly written out.

Being #1 at something isn't worth much unless your #1
in a category that really matters.

That was I think the common failures among internet marketers. I resorted to several marketing strategy yet nothing happens until I found out MLMLeads System Pro. It good working with that system since it allows you to build your own network and more importantly, you can be able to turn that affiliate clicks into cash. Isn't great?

Very well delivery of thoughts. I have subscribed to your post. Thanks

As an internet marketer, I really appreciate your straightforward and simplified approach to SEO. I find it refreshing.

And I think one of your best points is: "Once your site is optimized you can often get better return on your investment by improving your website and visitor's experience."

You may be interested in this article from Website Magazine that reviews usability tools

I am affiliated with but the article covers several others.


If you want to make sure you make the most of the traffic brought to your site ensure conversions you should focus on analysing your site and how your visitors interact with it. There are many out there, i am using clicktale at the moment which has a free plan too.

This article about SEO rankings is a complete breathe of fresh air. I give a talk called "Being #1 in Google is NOT the Goal" because so many small business entrepreneurs believe (because some $10K SEO expert told them so) that they need to worry about only that and it's a bill of goods. Thank you for sharing you point of view and helping to spread the message about what to really care most about - conversions. I'm marking your site as one of my favorites.

Vicki Flaugher

Thanks for this information. We have the hardest time staying focused on our goals. We tend to worry about so many aspects of our business. Thanks for the clarity.

Wow easily the stupidest article I've read today. Should be named "don't worry be happy" as this really has very little to do with SEO and more to do with worry warts.

"SEO isn't an exact science." - Well true it is not a science, it is the art of spaming search engines.

"Wouldn't it be nice if getting that #1 spot were easy" - It is easy, post something useful to the user and they will come.

Wow, easily the stupidest comment I've read today.

Hehe, this game is fun.

I think you're confusing "spamming the engines" with creating value for visitors. Quality SEO has nothing to do with spamming search engines, though I won't claim there are no SEO spammers out there. But then, how much different are they from people who develop websites for someone with a poor business model? Such web developers are responsible for putting junk sites out on the Internet, are they not?

Oh, and if getting #1 search results is so easy, why don't you rank in the top 100 on Google, Yahoo, or Bing for "freelance web design" and "freelance web developer"? Oh, my bad... You're number 59 for "freelance web developer" on Yahoo. I'm sure that one was easy.

Good article. I think people forget that succeeding online is just like succeeding takes time and trial and error. Many ads online are misleading prompting people to believe they will make $100k overnight, but it takes lots of effort and consistency to see lasting results.

Really fabulous article, you really noted the fact seo is exactly a trial and error concept. No need to worry, be patient to get success.

Good article, I have been doing SEO for awhile and I use long tail keywords and tons of linking because right now that is very important for getting your site ranked on the first page of google. I believe blogging is also an important part of it.

Comments closed after 30 days to combat spam.

Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > 5 Worries That Can Blow Your SEO Budget