Can Your Business Survive Without SEO?

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It’s a serious question, and the core of it is: can you generate enough targeted traffic, leads and conversions to reach your goals?

There’s so much hype around SEO it’s easy to forget you are the only person who knows what your blog or business is about, who you want to reach and how, and search engines are not always the right channel to reach your target audience.

Yes, I know – this blog has its own stance when it comes to SEO, but this is about being realistic: what works for one business might not work for another.

What are your business needs?

Know Your Business Needs

Here I examine 3 scenarios.

1. Your Niche Is Too Competitive

There’s little you can do if your business is in a highly competitive niche or industry – some competitor will always be a step ahead of you, especially if they’ve been in business (and in the SEO game) for a long time.

Focusing on SEO, in this case, could reveal a huge waste of money and resources, when you can work on carving out your specialty and a narrow audience to do business with.

Remember that business is about making money, not about getting generic search engine traffic in high amounts.

2. You Have Things to Keep Private

Anne Ward, author of SEO Battlefield and CEO of CircleClick, says you might have to exclude SEO if you have things in your business to keep private – because SEO is meant to help spread the word, not keep it in!

“Not everyone is a candidate for SEO,” she says, “like companies who need to keep most of their information private or behind a firewall (financial/medical). Every program is different! At least it should be.”

In a highly information-loaded and word-of-mouth-based world, keeping things from leaking out is virtually impossible.

That means the only way to keep things manageable and safe is to avoid SEO and use as little of the Web as possible.

3. Your Business Hasn’t Been Online for a Long Time

If your business just got its first website and a social presence, SEO won’t be the first marketing asset to bring in the first results (and sales).

Placing the business in front of as many targeted users is much more effective than the generic traffic search engines can provide. Angela Zade, content marketer at Evus Technologies, shares:

“I’ve learned that SEO is great for a company whose already been online for awhile. If your business is new, you need to put some money upfront to kickstart your company’s presence online through an SEM campaign such as Adwords or Facebook Advertising. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Any business that is looking for a quick return won’t find that with SEO activities. Expect 6-9 months before you have measurable SEO results.”

Yes, You CAN Do Business Without SEO – Go With SEM!

Like Angela Zade, even Jennifer Phillips, Vice President of Marketing and Client Services for Traktek Partners in Boston, knows the high competition scenario is a tricky one to deal with, so her advice is to not waste any time on SEO and go the SEM and social advertising route instead:

Many companies consider SEO as a crucial component to their marketing efforts. There are some cases, though, where that budget can be best spent elsewhere.

For example, at Traktek Partners, we’ve worked with small businesses in the past that were up against much larger companies that had a strong hold on first page organic rankings. These small businesses have a choice… do they spend their limited budget on trying to rank high enough that they get some traffic to our site organically, knowing that it would be an uphill battle, or do they drive traffic by investing in other efforts?

In these cases, a better option may be search engine marketing, where you can purchase your ranking, or through social ads where you can target the exact audience that you want to get in front of.

If you’re not sure if you can achieve results in SEO with your budget and the amount of time you have to invest, a good digital marketing agency can help you understand your options. In most cases an integrated strategy that includes focusing on multiple digital marketing tactics is the best way forward.

And so we come back to the beginning of this post: know your business needs, then decide whether SEO is a viable option for you. If you can’t decide or you want to try SEO anyway, combine it and integrate it with other marketing tools, SEM and social advertising, as well as content marketing and list building.

Read the article I recently published at Relevance.com on when to go with SEO and when not to — I got an overwhelming amount of responses to my query for quotes, and I picked the most helpful perspectives out of all the expert insight I received.

Originally posted on: Written on July 25, 2017, Tuesday

Luana Spinetti freelances as a writer, an artist and a designer/coder for WP and HTML5 themes. She loves Web Marketing for the creativity outcomes it produces and its power to bring people together. Contact Luana on Diaspora or via email here at n0t SEO.

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