There is no doubt that SEO (or ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ for the uninitiated) still has its place in the world of digital marketing, but does your business really need it?
Like any form of marketing you need to start with your target audience.
- Who are they?
- What do they do?
- How will they find you?
- How will you find them?
If you don’t know the answer to all of those questions right now then you don’t need SEO… yet! And depending on the answers to those questions you may not need it at all.
There is often a huge focus on SEO in people’s minds when they’re thinking about putting a new website together. It’s often thrown in there as an offhand comment; “I’m looking at redesigning our website as it’s out of date, and I also need to look at the SEO.” But do you? It’s surprising really, I don’t know many business owners that have some kind of presence on the internet (whether it be a website or social media profiles) that don’t get bombarded with emails and messages saying that your website is not optimised well enough and you could get your website found in all the search engines… all for $99!
Or is it?
I was having a coffee with a couple of potential clients today, who also happen to be old friends, and one of the first things they mentioned is that they need to improve their SEO. Now as it transpires they work in a field which is highly competitive in the search engines (sort of) and those search phrases that could be relevant to them are actually filled with organisations coming at their field from a completely different angle. The bottom line is people aren’t likely to go looking for what they offer and even if they did get found in the search engines the hits they get are highly likely to be the wrong sort of people; they need to be actively targeting and talking to those people. None of their previous conversations with web ‘experts’ had even discussed whether search was even the right avenue for them in the first place.
Now if you’re thinking “Well isn’t SEO worthwhile then?” the answer is 100% yes… but only if it’s right for your business.
So how do you know if its right for your business or not?
The simple answer to that question is talk to someone who really knows their stuff. Talk to somebody who will take the time to work out whether its suitable for your business (and I don’t just mean your industry, I mean your individual business) and go from there. That being said there are a number of things you can do to start working this out on your own.
- Work out what you would search for if you were looking for the product/service you offer. The worst thing you can do is base it on how well you show up for your brand name! Get together a list of ‘keywords/phrases’ that you would type into Google if you were your potential client.
- Use the Google AdWords planner. No, this doesn’t mean you have to use paid AdWords! The planner simply allows you to look up your specific list of phrases and see if people (or enough people) are actually searching those specific phrases!
- Think about your target audience… again. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential client. Would you search for what you offer? Or would you go on social media and ask for advice? Or would you do neither of these things?
- How much more business do you need? Do you actually need more business? Are you booked up for the next six months? Depending on the answers to these questions your current marketing strategy (whatever that is) could be working just fine; so why spend money on more marketing? Ultimately SEO is just another form of marketing, but often people are under the false illusion that they have a website, so it needs good SEO.
Take us, Big Bear Digital, for example. We are a company that provides both website design and SEO services. But right now we’re not using SEO as a marketing tool for our business.
“Why the hell not?” I hear you cry! The simple answer to that question is that, right now, we don’t need to. We are in the fortunate position where the majority (if not all) of our work comes through recommendation and referrals. Therefore we’re not going to put the time (and therefore money) into another marketing avenue when we’re already busy!
Now don’t let me put you off SEO, there are plenty of examples where it has helped companies to thrive and grow. But for each of those examples, it was the right avenue of marketing for their business, at that point in time. And if you’re going to spend your hard-earned marketing budget on SEO, you need to be sure that it is right for you too.
So if you’re not sure whether SEO is the right route for you, or you’ve been told you need SEO and you’re not sure; have a chat with us and we’ll help you work out whether you really need it right now for your business or not. It’s our promise to you that we will never sell you SEO if we don’t believe your business could truly benefit.
Like any form of marketing; SEO should be an investment, not a cost. And just as every investment isn’t for everyone, SEO isn’t for everyone either!