Many SEO companies tout search engine optimization is close to the holy grail of marketing, almost going as far as saying that it is the only thing that works. And what do you know, customers are buying this.
Far too often when sitting down with small business owners and talking about their web presence we come to the topic of SEO as though it is going to make the website wildly successful.
Here’s the thing. It is just another form of marketing and isn’t at all the holy grail and can definitely not give you instant success. I am not denying that SEO can be a vital part of an online marketing strategy and yield wonderful results, but for many businesses, this is not what is going to make them money.
What I am arguing is not to put blinders on and ignore the bigger picture. Look at the product you are selling and look at who your customers are. Offering a great product that connects with customers is a far bigger challenge than getting your website to rise to the top of google search results pages (for low-moderate competitive keywords—which is usually the case for small businesses anyway).
This advice is like every business advice going to differ greatly across sectors. If you are working with eCommerce, then you’d better believe that SEO is the cornerstone to making your business successful. For many other types of businesses, it isn’t.
Many areas of SEO resembles mainstream advertising. If you have a simple product that is directed to a decently defined audience—or mainstream audience, then you will likely have better success at selling it via SEO-measures directly. For many other types of businesses, the relationship building will always trump the sales from marketing.
Ultimately, it comes down to knowing your audience and your customers. How are they finding their products? While visibility online is wonderful, there is still a belief that SEO is this magical thing that will come in and save the day for your website and make it successful. It won’t. It can be one crucial part, but it isn’t everything.