This is a question that often pops up in daily conversations between SEO specialists and small business owners. SEO keeps getting harder as time passes so it is normal for SMBs to have problems.

There is this common misconception that search engine optimization is simple for the large sites. This is incorrect. They just have more resources available.


SEO is more difficult for smaller businesses.

Why is that?

You Do Not Have Enough Money To Pay For SEO

This is the number one reason why SEO is difficult for smaller businesses. Bigger companies have more money to spend on advertising, marketing, and SEO. Smaller firms and startups simply cannot spend that much.

What few people understand is that search engine optimization is not cheap. It cannot be cheap because creating quality content costs money.

According to WebFX, the average SEO package costs between $750 and $2,000 per month. Hourly rates can go as high as $200 per hour and one-time projects cost around $17,500.

Can you spend that much on SEO without your business being exposed to potential financial problems? Remember that you would need to pay the monthly fee for months before good results come in, especially when referring to competitive niches.

You Do Not Have Time To Do SEO

We live in the age of the internet. You can learn SEO and do most of the very important tasks alone. However, this is oftentimes impossible because of a lack of time.

With many small businesses, there are just a few people that do everything. This is a huge problem since real SEO takes quite a lot of time. Much more than those outside the industry expect.

Just think about the simple tasks you have to do in SEO:

  • Create high-quality content
  • Optimize web pages
  • Promote assets
  • Secure the site
  • Run tests
  • Find guest post opportunities

Because SEO takes a lot of time to produce results, many small businesses just neglect it. This oftentimes leads to poor rankings and under-optimized websites.

Big Businesses Already Did SEO Work For A Long Time

We so often forget the fact that big businesses have been IN business for a long time. For how long have you known Coca Cola, MTV, and Gucci?

For the small business, it is hard to rank because the website is young. There is no real accrued authority and it takes a lot of time to build a quality link profile. Also, Google loves older domains. Since bigger brands have been doing SEO work for longer, there are more links and it is very easy to repeat the past successes to repurpose content assets. Small businesses start from scratch. Big businesses are way ahead in the race.

We should also think about site size. Small businesses have relatively new sites, smaller sites. There are less content present and fewer overall pages. This means there are fewer keywords that can be targeted and even fewer ranking opportunities.

One thing that many do not realize is that the bigger sites have so many more resources that can be used in SEO. There are more services and products.

The best example of a big business you simply cannot compete with is Amazon. There are hundreds of thousands of pages filled with content. This means there are countless ranking opportunities. Smaller businesses oftentimes have under 10 pages and a few blog posts to work with.

You should also know that Google favors the big brands. This is simply because everyone favors them. User behavior dictates that people click much more often on results leading to highly recognizable brand sites. When you compete with them, people just click on the other results. Google sees this. Unfortunately, when you go for the branded keywords or the high-volume ones, it is close to impossible to beat large companies as a small business.

There Are More Important Things To Do

Sure. SEO is very important. You need it in the long run because it helps. However, when a business is small, there are so many things that have to be done every single day. SEO tasks are just not important in the large scope of things.

Startup employees tend to be overworked. They do so many things first and SEO work ends up being handled last. Oftentimes, SEO work is not even done. This is why the big firms hire SEO agencies so they can focus on core operations.

Lack Of Access To SEO Software And Tools

This can also be tied to money. Your marketing budget is most likely really small so you cannot invest in the software and tools you need to do great SEO work. In-house SEO departments have the tools that they need to automate some of the time-consuming tasks but you only find these in the larger companies. Small businesses cannot afford such extra expenses.

As a very simple example, the standard Pro package for SEM Rush is $99.95 per month. Ninja Outreach is $119 per month. Even paid Mailchimp packages start at $9.99 per month. These amounts add up.

Can you afford such extra monthly payments?

Chances are you cannot as a small business. All you can do is use the free versions of the software and tools so it is very hard to gain the competitive advantage that is oftentimes needed.

The big brands have a good reputation. They simply get links to their pages without even trying to. Having weight behind the name helps out a lot more than you might think.

As an example, let’s say Coca Cola launches a new flavor. It is enough to do this and numerous media outlets will want to cover it. Ads will be quickly picked up and published everywhere. Even bloggers will talk about it without being paid or contacted.

As a small business, you cannot leverage clout because there is no real clout present.

Should You Still Use SEO As A Small Business?


There is simply no other answer.

You should never give up on doing SEO work. At least, do the minimum. You want to keep growing your online presence. Your website will eventually help you. It just takes longer for the smaller businesses.

When you have the finances needed to get serious about doing SEO work, you will do it.