SEO: A Billion Dollar Lie
We’re about to throw our own industry under a bus, debunking one of the biggest lies since Pinocchio.
Truth be told, but many businesses and companies are throwing thousands of dollars down the gurgler on SEO: Search Engine Optimisation.
But who can blame many well-intended business owners, when on the other end of the phone or email is an “SEO expert” running their operations from Bedroom HQ, with phrases such as “We’ll guarantee you a first page ranking!”; or our personal favourite, “We know the secret to Google’s Algorithms!”
The result? Duplicated content, meaningless links to irrelevant sites, stuffed keywords and marketing buzzwords cluttering your website. Yes, you may have climbed slightly in your organic ranking, even to the #1 position, but your sales still don’t go up.
Sadly, most people who embark into this marketing exercise end up with such a disastrous episode. The result? After being burned by bad agency practices, business owners mistakenly conclude that “digital marketing just doesn’t work for my business”, and give up altogether on the enormous opportunity the internet has to offer.
Here’s how you should reconcile with the whole SEO concept, and how to move forward:
The days of “organic reach” are gone
Organic may be great for your health; but in the area of digital marketing, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Many SEO companies promise an increase in organic ranking as a result of their efforts. To give credit where credit is due, when done properly the way Google wants to play, the results can be staggering: Organic rankings will give your website credibility, searchability and a boost to your web traffic – the intangibles that you can’t really measure or predict, but great for long term.
Exactly like organic food – you won’t see results in days, but you will be thankful for the lifestyle choice when you’re cancer-free in your 70’s.
Back to marketing.
A simple Google search on your product or service will prove this point. If you’re an electrician in Melbourne, what comes up the very top when you type in “Electrician Melbourne” on Google?
Ads, and location based companies – basically businesses who have paid to get ranking, regardless of their SEO effort in the organic.
Worst off, in the world of mobile devices with much less real estate than desktops, how many scrolls after the paid ads will people finally get to the organically ranked sites?
Quality vs Quantity
The age-old argument of quality vs. quantity could not ring truer when it comes to SEO.
One of the most common strategies used by many SEO companies, is to jam keywords into useless blog posts and content on their clients’ websites. Sure – it’ll help traffic, but the quality just isn’t there.
Let’s presume that after engaging with traditional SEO, your website’s traffic has increased to the thousands per month. People are randomly landing on your site based on overused keywords, and once they land, they’re overwhelmed with the clutter and lame use of keywords and language. The result? They exit within 5 seconds.
The point is this: What’s the use of driving traffic to your site where people don’t engage and buy?
Technically speaking, many SEO-driven websites usually have a high bounce rate. In other words, mass traffic landing without the engagement.
Compare this to paid, targeted traffic that qualifies for your products or services. While your traffic volume may be less, you’re far more likely to convert them into what matters: Paying customers.
Unpredictable, labour-intensive, and extremely hard to measure
Simply put, the only purpose for SEO is web traffic.
The real question needs to be what happens after people have landed on your website. If all your SEO effort only contributes to people landing and leaving the site, you’re wasting money.
Smart businesses don’t drive traffic to their website for the sake of extra eye-balls, with communications that is confusing and irrelevant. Smart businesses take the time to ensure their brand messaging is robust, speaks directly into their customer’s problem, and directs targeted quality traffic that is far more likely to engage and convert.
Traffic aside, other measures that are often referred to by SEO companies, is visibly how well your website is ranking on Google relative to key search terms, and whether there are any tangible increases.
SEO is not a one-night-stand exercise; it requires constant refining, A/B testing, refreshing content, and staying on top of updates, just to name a very small select few.
SEO requires a constant auditing exercise to ensure that it ticks Google’s boxes, but also ensuring that nothing on your website will penalise you. Given how much effort is required to gain momentum from SEO, it can be a very costly exercise.
No one can outsmart the Google Machine
Here’s something to know about Google: It’s ever-changing, evolving, and no one can understand its algorithms, or predict its next move. Infact, hundreds of updates are released every year alone.
You can rank well one day, and have your whole SEO effort collapse the next as a result of just one “major update” out of the blue.
If this isn’t bad enough, Google has over 200 influencing factors when it comes to ranking your website in and amongst millions of websites, and over a trillion searches every year on the platform.
Staying ahead of the organic game requires constant, ongoing work, and will cost you thousands of dollars in the long run with poor quality results that are a mile away from conversion.
Compared to paid advertising such as Google Adwords and Social Media Ads, there’s much more leverage and predictability.
If there’s no valuable content, there’s no SEO
If there’s one thing we can accurately predict about Google, it’s that their constant algorithm updates are done with one thing in mind: to create a better user human experience.
SEO is not all bad news – infact, Google encourages it. Because after all, when it’s done properly, the result is fresh content, relevant information and links, and websites the right people want to see.
If you’re paying a marketing agency to bolster your website and web presence with hacks to boost your rankings, or if SEO is the bread and butter to your web traffic strategy – you’re leaving an enormous amount of money on the table.
The best thing you can do for Google, and for the sake of your customers, is to provide valuable content that people not only need to see, but want to see.
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