The other day I came across a pretty nifty infographic which shows the public perceptions about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how Google calculates it’s search results. The picture of what the public thinks is a pretty confused one - what they think and what actually happens are pretty far apart. If you want to see all of their answers just head down to the infographic below.

This got me thinking that actually many new small businesses probably have similar ideas about SEO. If they do it means they’re going to face a real up-hill struggle if they’re hoping to succeed in the online world. So if your a small business how do you get started with learning SEO?

Often SEO ends up being the neglected misunderstood tool at the bottom of the pile of items listed as 'marketing'. The thing is SEO isn't a single thing that you can just log into, spend some time with and then logout. It’s a variety of techniques and features that encompass almost everything you do online to ensure your website is as optimized in search engines as it can be.

There seems to be three main obstructions in getting small businesses to use SEO effectively:

Where to Start with SEO...

Lack the knowledge about where to start with SEO?

I’m not going to lie, it takes a time to read, learn and put into practice SEO techniques, especially if your new to the game. It’s also an industry where you never stop learning as the goalposts tend to move every few months.

With a bit of persistence though it can be done- even if you haven't ever done this sort of thing before. Just have a read of this post from one woman in Australia about learning SEO.

The Solution // Start Studying:

It’s really important you know how the internet works and how your website fits into everything. Even if you can master the basics, you can ensure you’re not harming your website when it comes to online marketing.  Spend some time reading these two crucial documents as a starting point:

Lack of Money to learn how to do SEO?

In business every penny counts, and spending money on new pieces of software or consultancy fees can all seem unnecessary when the utility bill is just around the corner. If you can make your website work more effectively in the long run then it could make the difference between a good and a bad month. 

The solution // Find the freebies

Get along to some free training courses. From my experience in Devon there are a large number of organisations who offer seminars or funded training days for local businesses to enhance their skills. Just see what’s going on within your local business community.

Plus if you can afford to get away for a couple of days head to one of the conferences. Every year Brighton SEO offers a brilliant weekend of talks and workshops – for free! (although tickets get snapped up sharpish).

Lack the time to learn SEO?

Learning Good SEO and website management takes time. Time which most people cannot afford, when there are so many other day to day tasks and issues that need attention.

The solution // Do some networking

There are online marketing and SEO niches for almost every industry, so spend some time in tracking them down. Sign up to their newsletter, follow them on Twitter or engage with them on the forums when it suits. That way you can have an easy source of information as and when you need it.

If money isn't a problem you could always hire the services of an SEO company on an ongoing basis, but if money isn't so plentiful then you could always hire them out to complete a one- off audit of your site. That way you’d have a list of all the things you need to go to make improvements to bring your website up to scratch.

At the end of the day if you’re looking to gain exposure online you need to know how search works. Learning the best practices for this is no quick fix, but can provide you with real results in the long term, plus knowing the basics will ensure that you know you won't be damaging your website along the way.

If you want to see the statistics that originally got me thinking about this post, then check out the infographic below from SEO Training London.

SEO Training: What do the Public Understand about Search? - An Infographic from