One of the most talked about marketing approaches for the last 15-20 years has been SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. You may be sleeping under a rock if you haven’t heard the term. My question is, do you even need it?
Yes, you heard me right. Do you even need SEO? If you listen to the salespeople, the answer would undoubtedly be yes! Here’s the thing. It isn’t true.
Don’t get me wrong, there can be a ton of business in SEO. In fact, there can be a fortune in it for the right businesses. If you are in a commonly searched industry or company type, SEO can be even more important than you might think. However, when might it not be necessary?
Here are some examples of businesses that might not need SEO, but remember, every situation is unique, and it's always best to consider your specific circumstances and, if in doubt, ask. We can run a scan for you and let you know how your site performs, and let you know if SEO would be best, or if you need some other approach to marketing.
Referral-based businesses and word-of-mouth: If your customer base comes primarily from referrals and your existing network, you might not need SEO done actively. This can be a slow approach to growth, but it does work for these types of businesses.
Limited online presence: If your business operates mostly offline and your website is primarily for brand awareness or to provide basic information, SEO might not be a top priority. However, neglecting SEO completely can still hurt your online visibility in the long run. Remember this: you look up businesses to do light “research” on companies you would potentially do business with. Your potential customers are doing that to you, too. If you don’t do SEO, you might not show up in that research, which can be a bad sign that may lead some of them to go elsewhere.
Niche markets: If your target audience is small and extremely specific, and you reach them effectively through other channels, SEO might not be necessary. However, even in niches, SEO can help you expand your reach and attract new customers within your target market. It might also be that your niche is so small that there aren’t many competitors, meaning very basic SEO might do the trick.
Paid advertising: If your marketing strategy relies heavily on paid advertising (PPC, social media ads, etc.) to drive traffic and attract customers, SEO might not be as critical. Again, SEO can still complement your paid efforts by boosting your organic visibility and brand awareness. Paid ads can also be a way to shortcut SEO efforts because SEO is relatively slow and paid ads can create business instantly. Paid ads, however, will continue to go up in price with competition, while good SEO should get your organic ranking to perform well at roughly the same cost.
Short-term projects or pop-up ventures: If your business is only temporary or has a limited lifespan, an investment in SEO might not be worthwhile. But basic SEO practices can still help you get found when you’re active.
Internal-facing businesses: If your business operates exclusively with B2B clients or within a closed network, you might not need SEO for external visibility. Once again, though not always necessary, SEO can be beneficial for optimizing your internal website for employee search and information access.
Here are some things to consider:
Budget for SEO because it takes time, and it’s not free. If your budget is limited, other marketing channels might be more effective in the short-term, especially if you need leads right now.
If your industry is highly competitive, SEO might be necessary to stay ahead of competitors. It may also make SEO very expensive to achieve. If you are a small antique shop in a small town, you will perform better on local SEO for a lot less than, say, a defense attorney downtown in a large city. More competition means more time and money to qualify.
Even if SEO isn't crucial right now, building a solid online presence with good SEO practices can benefit your business in the long run. One of the key pieces to effective SEO is the age of your site, and activity such as new info and reviews. Get started early and it will pay off.
Remember, even if SEO isn't a top priority, basic website optimization and maintaining a mobile-friendly website are still important for any online business. Nowadays, over 60% of your website traffic will appear on mobile devices. Make sure your online presence is discoverable and provides a good user experience, even if you don't actively pursue high search engine rankings.
How you prioritize SEO will depend on your specific business goals, target audience, and available resources. There are lots of ways to do this, and we can help guide you, but the key is to make the best decision for your business and your budget. Free evaluations and scans are available from Connection Media Company. Let us know if we can help you.
To put it simply, there are a few basic reasons for SEO. First, there is a need for your site to be technically optimized, so that it can be read properly by the bots that search engines send out to see what your site is all about. Second, your site needs to show it is really what people are looking for. To provide good service to their customers, search engines want to deliver the right information to us when we need it. If our toilet is leaking, we don’t want to pull up a plumber in a web search from the next state. We want a good one who’s nearby. There are more complexities when it comes to SEO, but these are the basics. If you want help with this, let us know. We can get you on the first page.