An Unconventional Thought on SEO: Is It so Important to Every Firm’s Website?

This axiom has been drilled into our heads: A primary objective of your marketing strategy is to get listed on the first page of major Web browsers’ search results. Whatever web design you choose, that rule seems to be the first, most important goal of your firm’s web content. Let me explain why I believe that thinking is not for everyone.First, a disclosure is in order—I am not a web designer. I write content. And content works hand-in-hand with web design to improve search engine optimization (SEO) results. This article is not meant to denigrate efforts at better SEO scores. I am saying that for some businesses, however, resources focused on SEO may not yield very positive results. For those enterprises, ad placements or other strategies may be more effective.

Consider my own business, Revisions: I write marketing content for small businesses, and this is far less reliant on clients locally than a plumber’s revenue, for example. I can work with clients in any of the 50 states, Canada, England, even India and Australia! I wouldn’t expect prospective clients to find my business, among hundreds of other businesses-writing firms, by typing into the search line something like “press release writing near me.” This is a highly competitive field like most business service categories are, but our geographic scope is limited only to English-speaking peoples. In contrast, folks in the trades or who run small shops on Main Street, Anytown, desperately want that geographic level detail of SEO. That’s why electricians’ websites repeatedly highlight the towns and/or counties they serve, with their mapping app.

When making this point, I’ve heard the countering argument that clients still want to meet you before offering you their business. True, but this is easily accomplished through phone and web-based communications, especially today. One side effect of the COVID-19 outbreak is that it familiarized so many of us with video conferencing through Zoom, Uberconference, Go To Meeting, etc. Introduction and familiarization can easily be done this way, as opposed to in person. I still like sharing a cup of coffee with potential clients, but it is no longer necessary.

Based on this level of competition in a business category and a wide-open geographic service area, it seems to make less sense to rely on SEO for page rankings. Yet, you still want your business to appear on the first page of Google’s search results? You may be better off spending your resources on Google Ad placements or on broader social media efforts. Even though I’m interested in a national audience, that doesn’t preclude considering locally targeted campaigns on occasion. This may involve direct mail or highlighted content in local business papers or websites.

The point is that some businesses need to get beyond the mindset that SEO is marketing job number 1. It may be job 3, 4, or even 10. It’s just not essential to every single business.

On the other hand, one thing that is essential to every business (for its website and all other marketing materials) is its content. At Revisions, that is all we do: We eat, sleep, breathe, and worry ourselves silly about the content you need to make sure you achieve your marketing goals, whatever they may be. See our Contact page to learn more about our capabilities and to answer your questions.

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