When SEO is not right for you
In 2017, 46.8% of the global population had access to the internet, with that number increasing year after year. According to the latest Smart Insights study, over 3.5 billion searches are made each day on Google. That’s 1.2 trillion Google searches each year! Nowadays, it’s pretty important to make sure you’re searchable and accessible on the web, regardless of whether you’re an online or traditional-based business. It’s a part of the modern marketing landscape, Google is a proven form of gaining new business or controlling your reputation.
However, as important as all that sounds, search engine optimization (SEO) is a tricky beast that requires the right mindset and expectations to see success. Frankly, some businesses have marketing needs that don’t fit into the reality of how SEO works. The same can apply to Google Adwords, or pay per click marketing, when it comes to budget and objectives.
With all the misconception surrounding SEO, and the relentless selling by cold callers, many business owners get involved in campaigns only to be burned with wasted money and time. It can be a much more expensive and lengthy process than is expected, which can be disastrous for a marketing campaign. As we’ve mentioned before on our blog, SEO is a long term process where overnight success simply does not happen. No SEO company or professional, regardless of how talented they are, can make your website organically rank from nowhere to the front page in Google for effective keywords in a matter of days. It’s simply not the way Google works. It takes consistent and gradual development of SEO content to convince Google your site is the most relevant, and timely option to show when people search for keywords – that can take months if not years. Think about it, Google has to sort through millions of websites across the web, take in countless of (everchanging) factors, and decide how to organize them based on search queries. Their database is updating constantly, comparing 20-year old domains to new domains, reading new versus old content, and deciding ‘who should we trust?’ Every keyword is different as every industry has different players – different competition – different involvement in online activity. The job of a proper SEO firm is to make changes both on your site, and how others talk about you, in order to convince that system that you’re more relevant than your competitors. This takes both time (at least 6+ months) and money (SEO campaigns can easily go into several thousand dollars per month).
The biggest problem we’ve seen with businesses entering into SEO is their lack of understanding of how long the process takes. If you’re in your ‘hot’ season and are looking to increase sales now, SEO is not right for you. If you have a promotion you’re running, and want to be found in Google within the next 2-3 months, you’re too late for SEO. You simply will not get the results you’re wanting to get in the timeframe that you’re needing. Now, if you’re in your slow season, and have 6+ months to invest in a proper SEO campaign – it’s worth exploring since reality just may align with your expectations. By the time you need those sales, an SEO campaign may have already pushed some of your target keywords into the front page, gaining you needed exposure.
The same applies to what stage you are in your business. If you’re a brand new startup, with no branding and no sales – SEO may be too long term (and therefore costly) of a strategy that shouldn’t fit into your plan yet. While the power to be found organically (therefore free) via Google search could lead to a major sale – a startup may very well spend its precious marketing dollars on more direct forms of marketing that will generate them more exposure faster. Whether that’s Google Adwords (budget permitting), social media, PR, traditional print, media buying, or hosting conferences – every form of marketing has its place.
So are we saying SEO doesn’t work? Absolutely not. It’s an excellent form of lead generation and reputation management that fits into most marketing mixes. Not every business scenario is the same, but it’s our responsibility to present how SEO works, and help you determine if it’s the right fit. Just like any form of marketing, SEO is an investment and it’s important to ask the right questions first before committing to any sort of campaign.
Is SEO the right fit for you?