You have definitely been pitched SEO services. As a business, it’s impossible not to receive cold calls and emails from marketing agencies who claim they can boost your rankings on the Google search results page.
As a digital marketing coach and an SEO myself, I am going to make the opposite argument to the countless marketing agencies who say all businesses should do SEO, because frankly, not all businesses should.
Why an SEO is NOT Advocating SEO
It’s strange isn’t it. An SEO professional writing an article outlining why businesses should not do SEO. But like all marketing methods, success depends entirely on your budget, your business niche and the size of your business. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons businesses shouldn’t do SEO.
1. Your Budget is too Small
Your marketing budget is crucial to the success or otherwise of and SEO campaign. SEO is a marketing method that takes a long time to work. If you don’t have the budget to consistently create new content, prospect for backlinks and essentially maximise the digital PR of your business, then you won’t gain any ground.
Think about it. The most important factor in an SEO campaign is the number of backlinks to your website. There are other important factors in an SEO campaign but regardless of the optimizations, you make on page, if you don’t generate links, your SEO campaign is dead in the water.
You need a healthy budget to generate good links. The budget isn’t necessarily to buy links, it’s to pay for the sheer force of PR and content needed to generate links. There are SEO agencies out there who say they can do SEO for £300 – £400 per month, but I guarantee that good links won’t be included in this type of SEO package. Buyer beware.
2. You’re in a Highly Competitive Niche
The nature of SEO means that only 10 people can rank on page 1 of Google for any given term. With that said, only the top 5 really make any significant traffic gains from ranking on Google. Those in position 6-10 really don’t get a good share of the traffic. See the graph below from Advanced Web Ranking. You’ll notice the vast majority of clicks go to those in the position 1 and it tails off nearly completely by position 5. (Advance Web Ranking 2017 Study)
What this means is that SEO would be completely pointless if you can’t achieve strong rankings. This may sound obvious but in a highly competitive niche, it means SEO may well be pointless. Let’s use the highly competitive niche of business bank accounts. There are dozens of what are known as ‘challenger banks” which are startup banks, usually app focussed who are challenging the status quo of banking through agility having no local branches.
There are some significant challenger banks out there with millions of dollars of investment behind them, for example Tide, Monzo and CountingUp. Even though these businesses have a healthy marketing budget, take a look at page 1 of Google (in the UK) for the search term “business bank account”.
You will notice that none of the banks I mentioned are in the top 5. In fact, none of them are even on page 1, despite their huge marketing budgets.
The reason is clear. It would require a huge investment to move the needle on their SEO and even then, it would take a very long time to see any results. In other words, it is not worth the investment or risk. They are better off leveraging PPC. When you also factor in that all off the businesses on the first page are also leveraging SEO, then it means they may never catch up. In this instance, SEO is not a marketing priority, do not fall into the trap of thinking you should always do SEO. Not everyone can rank in a finite space.
3. You Need a New Website
If your website isn’t up to scratch, then there is no point in even considering SEO. Is your website relatively old? Does it need a refresh? Is it even ready to convert traffic into sales? If the answers to these questions are negative, then you’ll need to invest in a new website first.
If your website has the following specific issues, then fix them before pursuing SEO.
- Not “mobile responsive” (doesn’t fit mobile screens without the user needing to pinch, zoom and pan)
- Outdated design or poor layout – information is difficult to read
- Not conversion optimized – It’s hard for the user to know how to get in touch. A lack of “call to action”
If you’re not sure what makes a good website from a conversion optimization point of view, then check out this video, which shows a full conversion rate optimization process.
Reading this article you might think SEO is pointless and doesn’t work. However quite the opposite is true. SEO is a great digital marketing channel and provides high quality traffic consistently. Many businesses have grown exponentially through the power of SEO. The only question is whether it is the right fit for your business.