Small business owners and marketing professionals often grapple with the balance between SEO and managing their business. From aligning business and SEO goals to scheduling regular SEO work, we’ve gathered fifteen valuable insights from founders, CEOs, and marketing experts. Discover how these seasoned professionals navigate the complexities of SEO in the small business landscape. Here’s how to balance DIY SEO and running a small business:

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  • Align Business and SEO Goals
  • Prioritize Revenue-Impacting SEO Tasks
  • Focus on Quality Content Creation
  • Automate SEO Where Possible
  • Adopt Time-Blocking for Task Management
  • Delegate to Expert Digital Agencies
  • Maintain Strong SEO Team Relations
  • Seek Quick SEO Wins Amidst Business Tasks
  • Batch Out SEO Tasks Quarterly
  • Find an SEO Mentor for Guidance
  • Dedicate Time Monthly for SEO
  • Start with a Phased Marketing Approach
  • Regularly Audit Technical SEO
  • Build Smart Link-Building Relationships
  • Schedule Regular SEO Work

Align Business and SEO Goals

My advice on balancing SEO with running a small business: Make sure your overall business goals and SEO/Digital Marketing goals are aligned. It’s important for creativity and strategy to work together smoothly. This means your business objectives and marketing aims should match up. Effective communication plays a pivotal role in achieving this alignment.

For a small business, marketing teams should have a set time for regular discussions. Weekly meetings are an excellent approach to providing both strategists and creative professionals with an opportunity to comprehend each other’s current priorities and goals. These meetings should establish a framework for sharing feedback and gaining clarity on each other’s perspectives. 

Also, teamwork is key. Use marketing tech tools that help with working together, especially if your team is remote or in a hybrid setup. Some tools we like are HubSpot, Canva, Slack, and Zoom, among others. A lot of these tools have free or inexpensive versions, so your team can try them out and see what fits their needs best.

The dedication of your team to the company and to each other is very important for boosting productivity, profitability, employee retention, and innovation. Successful companies invest resources in nurturing this internal commitment among their staff, recognizing its significance in achieving success.

Henry Brook, Founder, The Page

Prioritize Revenue-Impacting SEO Tasks

Managing SEO effectively while running a small business requires prioritizing tasks that directly impact revenue. It’s easy to get caught up in achieving a perfect technical SEO score, as indicated by tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush, but this can be a distraction from more crucial activities.

For example, focusing exclusively on a 100% site health score might lead to neglecting areas that actually drive business, such as keyword optimization and engaging content creation. Striking a balance between technical SEO and strategic growth-focused activities is essential. Prioritize tasks that have a clear link to revenue generation, ensuring your SEO efforts contribute directly to business success.

Do not be fooled by vanity metrics.

Kevin Hall, Marketing Operations, Webserv

Focus on Quality Content Creation

Absolutely, the intricate dance of juggling SEO tasks while steering the ship of a small business can indeed be a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. In my experience, the key is to strike a harmonious balance between being detail-oriented and monitoring the bigger picture. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint; it requires patience, persistence, and a deep understanding of your audience. 

The one piece of advice I’d underscore is the importance of quality content. In the realm of SEO, content isn’t just king; it’s the kingdom. Focus on creating content that resonates with your audience, provides real value, and answers their queries. This approach not only enhances your SEO efforts by aligning with search engines’ emphasis on user experience but also strengthens your brand’s voice and customer engagement. 

Remember, in the world of small business, your unique perspective and personalized touch in content can be your most powerful SEO tool.

John Werner, President and CEO, Pilot John

Automate SEO Where Possible

I find the biggest boost comes from knowing how to automate well. Automate where you can and lean on inexpensive SEO tools. SEO is too complex for most leaders to manage manually, but you also don’t want to automate every task and reduce the quality of your efforts. 

Content creation, for example, requires real people to do well. So, determine where the human touch adds value so you can automate everything else and free up enough time to create original, high-quality content that will appeal to more people!

James Delapa, Director of Digital Marketing, Wrike

Adopt Time-Blocking for Task Management

In 2023, I made the decision to focus on business development, as well as running the business. SEO was a major component of the business development strategy, as it had been long neglected. My first months were entirely defined by this struggle to balance both. 

At first, I overextended myself while focusing on SEO, and many other responsibilities were sidelined. In the middle of the year, I then over-corrected, and SEO took a backseat. It was only in August that I managed to find a solution that was annoyingly simple; I just adopted the time-blocking method of task management. I built myself a timetable and broke the week up into 30-minute chunks of time, dedicating these chunks to different tasks, evenly split between SEO and other business duties. 

While it can sometimes be difficult to remain disciplined, this timetable has greatly balanced my responsibilities and ensured that progress is made consistently across all my responsibilities.

Ryan Stone, Founder and Creative Director, Lambda Films & Animation

Delegate to Expert Digital Agencies

I let an expert digital marketing agency do the heavy lifting. I just make sure to steer the ship in the right direction from time to time. 

By delegating tasks, I don’t miss other important things. One piece of advice that I can give if you’re a solopreneur is to focus on one thing at a time. Do what works to have some guarantee of results at the very least. Even when not certain, you should optimize your SEO campaign for the best results.

Kristel Kongas, CMO, Inboxy OÜ

Maintain Strong SEO Team Relations

As someone who leads small-business SEO initiatives for a rehab center, it’s difficult to balance the demands of managing operations while also staying on top of SEO tasks. 

Having a strong relationship with your SEO team is crucial to ensuring that the two aspects work together seamlessly. Not only will they have specialized knowledge and skills that you may not possess, but they can also help educate you on the latest trends and strategies in the constantly evolving world of SEO.

Jesse McCraw, Clinical Outreach Specialist, Driftwood Recovery

Seek Quick SEO Wins Amidst Business Tasks

It’s easy to start the week, month, or even year with grand SEO plans, only to have SEO tasks pushed further and further down the priority list by issues that are critical for the day-to-day running of the business. It’s important to take the time to recognize that, while some issues can’t wait, in order to maintain or grow a business, SEO and marketing are also essential. 

Something that works well for me when time is tight is looking for quick wins. These could include putting together short news or blog articles, responding to journalist queries, and getting listed on directories. These options might not get as big SEO gains as guest writing for high-profile outlets or creating amazing video content, but they do allow us to keep growing our online presence, even when time is short.

Ultimately, balancing anything with managing a business is going to be a challenge! But setting realistic targets and appropriately prioritizing them really does help.

Kim Allcott, Partner, Allcott Associates LLP

Batch Out SEO Tasks Quarterly

As an SEO consultant, managing SEO tasks for my small-business website is an even greater priority as it showcases my capabilities to potential clients. I emphasized optimizing my business website before it went live to reduce the task load and allow me more time to focus on winning new clients. 

However, since not every small business will be starting with a new website, my advice is to prioritize and batch out SEO tasks for each quarter. If you begin with a comprehensive audit, you will know which SEO tasks take priority and can plan your strategy and the corresponding tasks over a year with follow-up audits and regular reporting. 

This will help ensure you’re staying on track with your strategy and give you opportunities to shift SEO priorities based on your ongoing performance.

Lauren Galvez, SEO Consultant,

Find an SEO Mentor for Guidance

Just like social media marketing or HR operations, SEO and link-building are important aspects for your small business as well. While social media marketing can make your brand go viral, SEO helps you be visible and get noticed more frequently by consumers visiting Google for solutions. Managing SEO and your small business can be challenging if you’ve got a small team, so I would insist you get an SEO mentor that simplifies the complex processes for you.

Hiring a white-label agency can cause a big hole in your pockets, whereas with a mentor, you constantly strategize to tackle SEO difficulties. The biggest problem I see with small businesses is that they take too long to understand different SEO concepts. Their trial-and-error methods may take time, and a mentor can lay down the exact steps you need to take.

Not only do mentors simplify your SEO tasks, but they’re also staying up to date on SEO trends for you, while you focus on other aspects of the business. Mentors make SEO easy for you with their vast experience and give you a simple DIY process, which makes it affordable and more convenient than DFY (Done for You) agencies.

Jack Vivian, Chief Technology Officer, Increditools

Dedicate Time Monthly for SEO

You first need to appreciate the value of dedicating time to SEO. It’s not an instant win, but organic visibility should produce strong revenue streams and position you as a trusted source. I block out around one day per month to work on my company’s SEO. Only something absolutely business-critical gets in the way of it. I treat my own website as a client.

George Cotter, SEO Consultant, Tall Marketing

Start with a Phased Marketing Approach

Balancing SEO tasks while managing a small business indeed poses its challenges. Drawing from my own experience working in a startup software house, I can attest to the delicate juggling act required in prioritizing between SEO efforts and other aspects of business growth.

Initially, our startup opted for paid campaigns as a quicker route to garner attention and attract clients. Investing in ads provided immediate results and helped build a client base. It wasn’t until we had established a steady stream of business that we gradually shifted our focus toward SEO.

My advice, based on this experience, is to start with a phased approach. Begin by leveraging social media platforms to create a presence and engage with your audience. This not only helps in brand building but also provides valuable insights into customer preferences.

Once you’ve gained some traction, consider venturing into PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns. Paid advertising can yield quicker returns, driving traffic and conversions. This stage allows you to refine your messaging and understand which keywords resonate with your target audience.

As the business gains momentum and financial stability, progressively invest in SEO resources. Building a robust content strategy and acquiring quality backlinks become crucial for long-term visibility on search engines. The gradual transition from paid campaigns to SEO ensures a strategic and sustainable growth trajectory.

In essence, the key is to strike a balance between immediate results and long-term sustainability. By navigating through social media, PPC, and SEO in a phased manner, your small business can achieve a well-rounded online presence while managing resources effectively.

Zain Zameer, Senior Link Building Expert, TFA

Regularly Audit Technical SEO

I advise keeping an eye on your website’s technical SEO. Regularly audit your site for issues like broken links, improper redirects, or crawl errors. Addressing these technical aspects ensures that search engines can crawl and index your site effectively, which is foundational for good SEO. While it may seem daunting, many tools can help automate this process, making it more manageable for business owners.

Tom Golubovich, Head of Marketing, Ninja Transfers

Build Smart Link-Building Relationships

In balancing SEO with small business management, I’ve learned the power of smart link-building. It’s not just about getting links to your site but also carefully choosing outbound links in your content, like blogs or articles.

Link to industry influencers and build relationships with them. This can lead to them sharing your content or linking back, which is invaluable. Remember, in link-building, it’s the quality of links, not the quantity, that really makes a difference. This approach can significantly boost your site’s authority and visibility.

Marco Genaro Palma, Content Marketing Manager, PRLab

Schedule Regular SEO Work

I’ve found that what gets scheduled gets done. That means I need to put SEO tasks into my calendar and actually stick to it. This is especially important for regularly publishing SEO-driven content. It’s so easy for that to get pushed to the back burner. 

Scheduling a little time each week to devote to SEO helps keep my website in good shape without becoming an onerous task. If you keep putting off SEO tasks, the size and complexity of the issues only grow. That’s why it’s so important to chip away at SEO tasks regularly.

Temmo Kinoshita, Co-Founder, Lindenwood Marketing