They say the data doesn’t lie. And in this case, the numbers were strong.
But here I was, with a client in front of me who was adamant their SEO wasn’t working. His explanation was that people in his industry (law) didn’t use Google for businesses like his; it was all word of mouth.
He was convinced. But that didn’t account for the steady increase in goal conversions – such as form enquiries and phone calls – I was seeing from organic search (SEO) traffic. Was SEO truly not working for this client?
This situation leads on to a broader set of questions that I hear a lot:
- Is search engine optimisation effective in some industries/businesses and not others?
- How can I find out if SEO is right for me and my business?
- Should I steer clear of SEO altogether?
The first question is interesting, because it is somewhat true. In some industries, and in some businesses, SEO will have more of an impact – or a greater return on investment – than others. What are some of those factors? We’ll discuss them in a moment.
The obvious answer to the second question is, if people search for what you do (or sell or offer) then you want to be discovered. And how you are discovered is by having your site found when people use those terms via search engines.
We can say a big “no” to the last question. In this modern day, your business must have SEO. You could have the greatest offering in the world but if nobody knows you’re there, you’re doing yourself and your business a mighty disservice.
With that said, let’s discuss the five factors that determine whether SEO will work for your business. You don’t need all five, but having at least a few will help.
The big three ingredients
The big three are: volume + definable product or service + geographical market.
If these three factors exist, you can triangulate a search market to target and optimise for. It is a myth that you need lots of search volume. What you need is a viable search market, which is a combination of the three elements.
I once had an SEO client who sold and rented customised mining vehicles. The sale of one of these vehicles was well into six figures, so a single sale made doing SEO worthwhile. There weren’t thousands of searches for his products per month. But it was a definable product and there was some, albeit small, consistent search volume within his geographical market.
A local presence
If you have a local presence – be that a shopfront, an office or other physical location – it is worth optimising your website and overall online presence for search.
Start with Google My Business, which will prominently be seen on the search results page and will display your user reviews. Then make sure the same details are on your website and off-page citations.
A long buying cycle
The longer the buying or consideration cycle, the more effective SEO becomes.
For example, let’s look at buying a diamond ring. If I am going to buy a diamond ring, it might take me a couple of months from deciding to buy to actually buying. Not only am I saving for it, I am likely going to be researching the types of diamonds available and how diamonds are graded, cut and set, and I am going to review different retailers and maybe some custom jewellers – all before finally deciding exactly what to buy.
Each of these points along the way is an opportunity to be found via organic search.
A long-term business outlook
There is no secret. It’s simply that good SEO takes time.
If you need short-term results, you’d be better off looking elsewhere. But if you have a long view on your business, SEO will return value to you over and over again. Your website is a business asset. Adding value to that asset via high-quality SEO over the long-term makes good business sense.
A clear understanding of your business
Many times, I’ve sat with a potential client and rather than discuss the SEO service, I’ve ended up becoming a business coach.
With plans to be the next Gumtree, make passive income online via a lead-generation idea, or to dropship products from China, these people incorrectly believed they just needed: an idea + SEO = business success.
Wrong. SEO is not a business plan. It is a marketing strategy that is most successfully employed within a well-considered business plan. Where a business knows what it is offering and what makes it different from the competition and can articulate and present this on their website effectively, SEO is much more likely to be a success.
FURTHER READING: Search Engine Optimisation secrets are 2000 years old
So what happened to the client from the beginning? It turns out this commercial lawyer was getting value from Google. Yes, he did have a great name around town and was seeing results from word-of-mouth referrals. But then again, so did another lawyer with a very similar business name. Our SEO ensured his business stood out from his competition, even when they were confused about which commercial lawyer was which.
If you want to know more about creating a content marketing program focused on high-quality, credible content, then get in touch with Lush – The Content Agency. We’re Western Australia’s full-service content marketing agency.