I sometimes meet potential clients who sadly suggest that it is too late for them to run a search engine optimisation campaign. They think they have left it too late, that they have arrived after the party and they will never catch up with their competitors. Others feel SEO is something younger businesses do, not established companies like theirs.
CC Image Credit: Pattista – Flickr
Since I am never bored of arguing the case for SEO, I want to use this post to explore the main reasons people put forward and show why I think they are wrong. I have yet to meet a single business which I have not felt could benefit from some targeted online marketing.
The best key phrases are too competitive
I have two responses to this complaint. One is that there is always a way to drive a website to the top of the results pages, the only limiting factor is budget.
A business has to decide how much getting to the top of rankings for popular keywords is worth – and whether that money may be more productively spent marketing in other ways.
My second point is that, while some keywords and phrases are fiercely competitive, choosing less popular terms can have hugely beneficial effects for much less cash.
If a business selects keywords which are more relevant to its offering – a good example is choosing “Oxford SEO” instead of the enormously popular “SEO” – it can see vast increases in traffic for less cash. That traffic will be more targeted too, meaning the firm is more likely to see conversions.
Search marketing needs a huge budget
The beauty of all search marketing campaigns is that a firm can spend as much or as little as it wants. When it comes to paid search, companies set the budget, they can control how many clicks they pay for and they can bid on costlier or cheaper terms, depending on what they want to get out of their campaign.
A good agency will employ experts who can discuss with a business the best way for it to spend its budget – whether that means focusing on costlier terms which deliver highly targeted potential customers or cheaper terms which showcase its name more frequently.
We cannot afford to redesign our website
Many SEO campaigns will involve some work on a business’ website and some potential clients are worried this will be costly, inconvenient and time consuming.
However, while I hate to utter this cliché, in a world of fierce online competition, can anyone afford not to upgrade their website? If a company’s pages are not optimised for search engines, there is a good chance they will be failing to attract and convert clients in other ways.
When a business starts of new SEO campaign, it can be a really great time to revamp all of its online marketing tactics and really push the web as a platform. Furthermore, a decent SEO agency will take care of the work, leaving the business to concentrate on building client relationships.
I have enough business without the web
This argument always surprises me. Surely all companies want to expand, grow and build on existing success? However, now and again I will meet someone who declares that the internet is unnecessary to them because they have a sufficient client base through recommendations, existing customers, high street traffic, that sort of thing.
Now, to a certain extent, I can see why they think like this. Perhaps the owner does not want to pursue new revenue streams, perhaps they are operating within their comfort zone and do not want the legions of new clients SEO may deliver.
However, the risk of this attitude is that a business will find itself completely left behind once all its competitors are online. More and more people hunt down services and shops on the internet before they venture out to see them in person – meaning a company which fails to showcase itself through the web could find its revenues falling until it is no longer a viable business.
My budget is already committed
Some organisations, particularly larger ones, have huge marketing budgets but have committed them to other platforms, such as broadcast and print.
These can be powerful and will certainly raise awareness of a company. However, such advertising is rarely focused; it targets a wide number of people with a general marketing message.
One of the benefits of the web is that promotional efforts can be highly targeted and budget used even more effectively, maximising the possible returns.
Ideally, though, a company will use the web to complement its offline marketing, like the recent Compare the Meerkat campaign. That way, its marketing endeavours will be incredibly pervasive, making them considerably more effective.