Survey Says SEO The Single Most Important Marketing Channel For SMBs

SEO: one channel to rule them all? A new “merchant confidence survey” from lead-gen company MerchantCircle/, among 2,500 US small businesses, finds that search engine optimization is the marketing channel they would choose if they could choose only one.

The question asked was: “If you had to put all your marketing time and budget into only one channel, what would it be?” The list of choices included SEO, paid search, mobile, social and traditional media. As you can see below SEO beats everything else by a mile.


What’s also interesting is how high “traditional media” ranked. That category would include newspapers, yellow pages, direct mail, traditional radio and so on. Newspapers and direct mail were the top traditional channels being used by this group of survey respondents.

However Facebook (not Facebook Ads) was the most common marketing tool, used by 70 percent of these SMB respondents. The question was, “Are you promoting your business with the following websites/services?”


The online survey was conducted in November. The sample came from MerchantCircle’s 1.6 million SMB member database. Just under 80 percent of respondents were businesses with fewer than four employees. The majority (63 percent) had annual marketing budgets of $2,500 or less.

There are additional findings about the use of social media, deals and mobile marketing that I discuss on my personal blog Screenwerk.

Related Topics: Google: SEO | SEO – Search Engine Optimization | SEO: General | SEO: Local | Stats: General | Stats: Popularity | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.


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Joe Beccalori CEO
Joe Beccalori is a twenty-five-year digital marketing veteran and industry thought leader. After working for fifteen years in enterprise web programming, design, and marketing services he founded Interact Marketing in November 2007 and is currently the company CEO, visionary, and public speaker. He is also a contributing author on Forbes, Huffington Post, and In December of 2017, Interact's parent company also acquired Slingshot SEO.
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