As you ponder whether you should invest time and money into working with an Internet marketing company, you may be wondering, “Do I really need SEO for a successful online presence?”
SEO, a three-letter acronym, sometimes incites a four-letter-word reaction due to its complex and ever-changing nature. But it can — and almost always does — make a difference to businesses’ bottom lines.
“Showing up — preferably towards the top of page one — when someone goes looking for an answer, product, or solution is a determining factor in the success and growth of just about every business,” says John Jantsch and Phil Singleton in their book SEO for Growth.
But Could SEO Could Be a Waste of Time for Some Bloggers and Businesses?
Yes. Because SEO requires commitment. Even with a reputable firm leading your SEO efforts, you can’t be hands-off and detached from the process. Not only that, but there are technical issues that must be favorable no matter how ready, willing, and able you are to pull the SEO trigger.
Some signs that you and SEO won’t be a match made in heaven include:
1. You Abhor the Idea of Creating Content.
Creating original content that attracts, interests, and demonstrates your expertise is critical to SEO success. According to HubSpot, B2C companies that blog more than 11 times per month get more than four times as many leads as those that blog only four or five times per month.
B2B companies that blog 11 or more times monthly generate three times as many leads as businesses that blog only once, or not at all.
Even if you can’t craft content at that frequency, anything is better than nothing.
With every post you publish on your blog, you add another page to your website that search engines can crawl and index (which helps them recognize your site as an authoritative resource for readers).
2. You Don’t Want to Make your Website Mobile-friendly.
People use mobile devices more often than computers to do online searches, according to Google. Smartphone users lose patience when a site isn’t easy to use; 9 out of 10 will leave the site and look elsewhere.
So, even if your site ranks well in search engine results, you could lose your visitors’ interest if it doesn’t perform well on mobile devices.
There could be ranking implications, too, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly. In April 2015, Google started giving preferred ranking mojo to sites with mobile support. And when Google implements mobile-first indexing (expected in early 2018), mobile performance will matter even more.
As the mobile version of web pages becomes the main index Google will use for evaluating sites and determining how to rank them, you might find yourself at a disadvantage even with other SEO efforts in play.
3. You Hate Social Media.
Your website alone cannot build relationships online with your target audience.
If you ignore social media, you’ll miss out on a powerful channel to interact with customers and increase the amount of qualified traffic to your website.
By sharing your blog posts and generating other content on social media, you can instill trust in and awareness of your brand. While social signals don’t impact ranking as heavily as Google’s other top-ranking factors, the increased online visibility from social media activity will augment your other SEO activities — and make them more successful.
4. You Suck at Converting leads to Customers.
Driving qualified leads to your website isn’t enough. You need to make sure your website compels visitors to take the action you desire after your SEO efforts get them there.
Whether you want visitors to subscribe to your blog, call for a consultation or buy on the spot, you must give them something compelling after they arrive to your site. For example:
- Strong copy that sends the right message
- Professional images that showcase your products
- Site design that allows visitors to find what they want to know without jumping through hoops
Also, don’t underestimate the importance of promptly and responsively following up on the customer inquiries you receive from your SEO initiatives. Crappy sales and poor customer service will ensure your SEO hard work is all for naught.
5. Nobody likes you.
SEO works only if you can drive a sufficient amount of relevant organic traffic to your website.
If your target keywords have low search volume, then no matter how brilliant and well-funded your campaign is, you won’t get enough website visitors to generate enough revenue to justify the expense of SEO.
For instance, if your main keyword has a monthly search volume of 200, and your associated website captures 20 monthly visits (a very high estimate), then will those 20 visitors produce enough leads/online orders to make SEO pay? This is, pardon the pun, a “key” question.
Yes, if you have a LOT of low-volume keywords, you can target all of them to generate a critical mass of traffic, but that will take $$$$$$$$.
6. Your Competitors Rule the Roost.
If you’re in a business where big competitors with deep pockets dominate the top rankings on Google, SEO may be a battle you can’t win.
This is a common problem for local and regional players in businesses such as consulting, financial services, travel, and real estate.
Suppose you are a solo business consultant. Find out if your niche is dominated by massive consultancies that spend hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars a year on SEO — and basically, own the top rankings for every important keyword under the sun.
If that’s the case, you’ll be better off hiring a skywriter than an SEO agency. Here’s a list of the 50 most competitive keywords to jump-start your research.
7. You’re Selling Something New.
Do you sell a groundbreaking product or service? Congratulations on being innovative, and forget about SEO.
People don’t search for products or services they don’t know exist. Your marketing money will be much better spent on PR and/or content marketing.
8. You’re into Instant Gratification.
SEO is a very long-term proposition. Google wants to see consistent effort over time before it starts rewarding your website content with higher visibility.
In fact, a sudden burst of activity can work against you, as Google may suspect you are trying to game the system.
Some entrepreneurs and many business cultures are simply too impatient to invest month after month, year after year, on an SEO campaign that produces only a few intermittent drops of ROI.
Even though SEO could produce a blizzard of ROI somewhere down the road, certain businesses will be more comfortable investing in other marketing options.
They may find tactics such as paid search marketing, where results can come quickly and unproductive campaigns can be scrapped immediately with no downside, a better fit.
“But I have plenty of time to waste.”
Said no one ever. As you consider working with an Internet marketing agency to develop and launch an SEO strategy for your business, do some soul searching to make sure you’re committed to the endeavor.
SEO requires cooperation, collaboration, and a stick-to-it mindset — without these things, you risk squandering your time and missing your business goals.