Not long ago I was sitting with some people discussing marketing techniques and SEO when someone interrupted and boldly said,
“You don’t NEED SEO“…!
I was like …
Wait. What??? I don’t need SEO?
But wait … if I don’t need SEO wouldn’t that then imply that people are no longer searching for things?
I mean, as long as people are looking for things, doesn’t it make sense to make sure they can find said things.
It really got to me. I started asking myself why people are so down on SEO lately?
Could it be that SEO is truly dead and I am just now hearing about it?
Perish the thought.
That would be scary.
My question, for those that think it is dead, is how would they know if it was? Isn’t that a little like knowing if a grandmaster was playing better chess this week than last.
So, why are people thinking that SEO is not needed?
Do they think it’s because their business is already doing really well?
I suppose that could be true. Maybe their business is rockin’. Good SEO and marketing will only improve on that, so I don’t think I would consider that a good enough reason to say you don’t need SEO.
Newborn Jiu Jitsu was also doing really well with just word of mouth and Facebook. However, with decent SEO, his business has since more than tripled. In 2015 he had three people contact him from his website. Now he is getting around 60 a month.
If it is leading in the search results, awesome. But maybe you should make sure just in case.
Did you know that Google stores your most searched for content and displays that first?
All I have to do is type in an ‘S’ and it knows what I am most likely going to search for.
If you really want to know where your site is in the results, try using incognito mode. Are you still showing up number one? If you are still number one it probably is due to lack of competition or that you already have some decent SEO going. If you are number one and you did nothing to get there, awesome. Just remember this post is for those who are still working their way to number one. Which means you might eventually have some competition. 🙂
Do they think no one is searching for the keywords they are using?
Maybe they aren’t. But do they know for sure? Most people have no idea whether a search term is searched for often or not. They have no idea. What they might know is that they have tried several things to rank well in the past only to have spent month after month seeing little or no change.
But that is pretty common. It can be caused by several factors. Factors like, changing only a few things on the site, but not taking a look at the content.
Most people don’t take a comprehensive approach to SEO. And why would you if you haven’t seen any significant improvement throughout the years? You hire someone to change a meta tag or two on your site, but they leave all the content exactly as it was, and surprisingly nothing changes. A meta tag will not fix horrendous content. It just won’t.
Plus, some search terms are inherently more difficult to rank for than others. According to AdWords, the keywords “Spokane SEO” is only searched for 10-100 times per month. “Spokane bars” and “Steakhouse” are searched far much more often, like around 1-10k more often. Obviously more people are interested in a night on the town than their website’s success. 🙂
- Maybe it’s just semantics.
When someone says you don’t need SEO is it because their business does just as well without it? Or does it mean they don’t want to mess with it?
It wouldn’t make sense to say that your company does just as well without the extra interest a website generates online. If your company can’t benefit from more customers, I mean, what kind of company do you own that couldn’t possibly do more business with more customers? I certainly can’t imagine one.
- Is it because they are tired of people telling them how to fix their site?
Like those emails that every WordPress site gets? Every WordPress site gets that email that says your SEO is crappy. Do you trust an email like that, or do you verify the claims made in such an email? Remember SEO is more than using the proper HTML and bolding a few keywords here and there. Things like that won’t do much overall. Don’t take what those spam emails are saying as being important. They are really only trying to scare you.
- Is it because they think no one can know how to fix SEO since Google doesn’t tell anyone how to?
Maybe you feel that SEO is unknowable and therefore a huge scam that Google is perpetrating on the masses. Yeah, sometimes I feel that way too, but remember Google wouldn’t be in business if their searches didn’t produce quality links. Not all search results are perfect of course, but if they were as awful as Yahoo was no one would use them. And then there are people that work at Google that clue us in from time to time on what Google considers a site worth ranking. Matt Cutts for instance. Matt Cutts used to work for Google. He has a blog you could read that has a ton of clues as to what Google is after.
There are companies that do research on Google’s algorithms too. They study Google. Companies like Moz spends countless hours studying these things. Moz, search engine land and search engine watch are some companies that study and share information on how Google appears to be ranking sites.
Professional bloggers like Neil Patel can also offer insight into what works and what doesn’t.
- Is it because they think they can win over all the people they need to by doing it in person.
I am not sure what kind of business you would be in where you could do that. People tend to investigate your business online before they even speak to you, so if you are waiting to speak to them first you are missing out on a ton of contacts and sales. Car dealers have staff on hand to assist you if you drive up, but they also know a very large percentage of people are searching for the car they want WAY before they set foot on a car lot.
According to Adweek, 81% research a business online first. If you can do without that 81% well…
SEO is more than source code.
SEO is more than your HTML and your META tag structure. SEO is not only the technical side of web design. It’s that and it’s marketing. It’s how you say, what you say, and when you say things on social media for example. It’s everything you do to help your site being found when people are looking for what you offer. Sure it is the alt tags on images and the hierarchy of your titles, but it is more than that. It is also how you say things. It is how you build a relationship with your customers as well as the source code on your website.
It’s knowing what your buyers want and when. Let’s imagine you have a camera repair shop. Would it be beneficial for you to approach strangers out of the blue and try to explain to them the type of censors Canon DSLRs have? You would sound insane to them. But if you think about it this is what billboards do. They try to sell you something out of the blue. They are hoping that if they repeat it enough you will remember them when you are searching for them.
SEO doesn’t bother with all that. It strives to meet the buyer where the buyer is in their search. This is what inbound marketing is all about.
You need SEO for the same reason you have a business phone number.
Would you run a business without a phone? Of course not. You want people to contact you with inquiries and orders. It doesn’t make sense to assume everyone in Spokane knows about your business. They are going to look you up and they find you they are going to research you. The Yellow pages had business listings. Now you have the internet and your website and it reaches the people when they are looking for what you offer.
You need SEO because more and more people are searching for companies like yours.
More people are searching for sites like yours than ever before. Which also means they are searching for your competition.
In 2016 there was an average of 3.8 million searches per minute. Let that sink in for a moment. That is over 63 thousand a second!
Do you want those searches, or should your competitor have them?
It’s not SEO or nothing.
It’s not this OR that. It’s both! It shouldn’t be a question of whether you use SEO or some other form of marketing. You need several types of marketing working at once. SEO is one of them.
SEO is a benefit for your company.
The benefits of good SEO
Here are just a few benefits:
- More money saved. Cheaper advertising.
- More money earned. Additional Sales.
- Increased leads and sales.
- More free time.
- Further reach.
Many companies note that their online business outperforms their brick and mortar. If you watch Shark Tank you will have seen several companies that have their solid beginnings online and in social media.
The National Retail Federation notes that last year roughly the same number of people spent their time shopping online versus those that went to a physical store location.
“The percentage of consumers expected to shop online this holiday season, 56.5 percent, is almost identical to the percentage that will shop in department stores – 56.6 percent.”
Other companies note that the website does better advertising than a billboard. Especially when the site is found for what the person was searching for. Do you remember any of the billboards you saw today? No? But if you are searching for something then companies with websites have their products or services right there in front of you.
Increase in traffic. Obviously!
If you rely on contacts from email even just a little, more traffic means more emails. More emails mean more relationship building. More relationships mean more business.
You are making connections!
It is much more pleasant to be found than to be forced on someone.
The larger the network the more people you can reach for events like sales.
Building your network is similar to the power of word of mouth and testimonials.
People will build a trust via your site.
People many times will rather build a rapport with your company via emails and reading what you have to say on your site before hiring you. This is why people read testimonials. They want to know you can be trusted way before they even talk to you. Quite honestly I have no idea how else I would go about looking to hire someone. At the beginning of this summer, I wanted to hire someone to do our landscaping. Searching online was my only choice really. I don’t know how else I would have gone about it.
Quite honestly I have no idea how else I would go about looking to hire someone. At the beginning of this summer, I wanted to hire someone to do our landscaping. Searching online was my only choice really. I don’t know how else I would have gone about it. I bet the companies I found online don’t think SEO is worthless. 🙂
Your website is working even when you are aren’t.
It is on 24/7. SO even when you are off the clock the site is still making sales and building relationships.
Not everyone has time to visit your business during your business hours. They work, they have kids, they have a life. They want to learn more about your business on their hour, not yours. If you are not caring about things like that, why are you in business?
You are reaching a larger market.
Companies in Spokane are being found by people in Coeur d’Alene. Yes, local SEO targets your area, but many times people search just outside of that area for things their immediate location doesn’t have. Not long ago I search Montana for car even though I live in Washington. Without local SEO I never would have found the companies I was searching for.
You are saving money!
Imagine the cost of reaching the number of people are you capable of reaching with print ads. You could go door to door or place flyers on cars at Wal-Mart. How many cars would you need to put a flyer on to get the same return as on your website?
You can publish an entire catalog yourself! What an amazing age we live in!
So, is SEO dead, worthless, or in other words something you don’t need?
Hardly! The value of good SEO is beyond measurable. If you have a website you should have some decent SEO.
Sure it can be tough at times. Your patience may run thin. It may take awhile for you to see results. Just remember you are not the only one that feels this way from time to time. Neil Patel said in a recent post, “It seems like someone is always saying that “SEO is dead,” …”
But alone or not, foregoing your internet marketing, or SEO, is like trying to flip someone off without having a middle finger. Or riding a bicycle with square wheels. Or having subtitles for the blind. Or….
Author: Timothy Eberly
Timothy is a web design and graphic artist that has been working in the business for over 20 years and has designed and built thousands of websites including one for a major ad firm in Spokane. In addition to graphic design and web development he also worked as a photographer on several films made in the Spokane area. You can connect with him on facebook and Google+.