SEO works. There is no question about it. And yes, it is worth it.
If you found this article from a Google Search, the proof is in your current user discovery pattern.
To question the efficacy of search engine optimization is not truly fair to the algorithmic system that defines SEO results. Questioning the efficacy of SEO speaks more to the strategy and execution of the project and its given stakeholders.
The art of search engine optimization relies around the ability to provide relevant information to the user who is searching in Google. If your company is not providing relevant information that is competitive with existing rankings on page one, SEO will not be effective.
Where companies often fail, and thus draw false conclusions from search engine optimization projects, is usually in one of two areas:
- When a company fails to understand SEO strategy
- A poor execution on providing relevant content
When a company fails to understand SEO strategy
This can manifest in a number of different ways. For example; when a company tries to rank for keywords with a high competition or with “difficult” competitive metrics without understanding the resources needed to produce page 1 relevancy for a consumer.
Or, when a company asserts conversion certainties that they are unaware of.
Example 1: When a small apparel company attempts to rank for the keywords “buy tshirts online” but they do not have the fiscal, human, or product resources to functionally achieve page one rankings for this search.
Example 2: A company is able to execute on it’s strategy and achieve the desired ranking, but no leads are converting. When a strategy is put into play that is not backed by significant conversion data sets, it can also appear to be a failure as traffic is produced, but no actual sales.
While this strategy drove traffic, it would most likely be considered a failure by any business that did not generate sales from the traffic.
A poor execution on providing relevant content
It gets interesting when the appropriate strategy is satisfied.
So let’s say that your company has actually identified keywords with a respectable level of competition. What next? It’s time to execute, and this is where things can get hairy.
Executing a well oiled SEO strategy is much harder than it sounds. As SEO is primarily a text and content based activity companies often fail in allocating the necessary resources to producing the overwhelming amount of content needed to give a website sufficient page authority and domain ranking.
It can also very difficult at times because relevancy is subjective.
Example 1: When a company has settled on a strategy to sell “custom pillowcases” but the content team is not skilled enough nor staffed heavily enough to produce the amount and type of content that Google is expecting to see for a page one result. Or, if the development team of the website is not capable of providing the type of experience that Google is expecting for this search.
Example 2: Your business produced a page that has all of the SEO bells and whistles. The title tag is optimized, you’ve got a tonne of relevant content with a higher word count than your competitors, and excellent back linking strategy. The only problem is that the keyword they settled on is not actually relevant enough to produce sellable traffic. If you’re a company selling women’s tights, the search “women’s tights” would likely yield much different results than “buy women’s tights”. Companies need to question the motivations of users search patterns.
SEO Works. But you need to question your strategy and assumptions in order to see the desired results.
If your business is operating on a smaller budget, succeeding in search engine optimization is going to be a difficult task as you are competing against millions of players, some with much larger amounts of resources allocated to their SEO strategy.
At it’s infancy, SEO was thought of as a “free” channel that was a “set it and forget it” traffic source. This is no longer the reality for search engine optimization.
The practice is based around a combination of strategy, skill, resource, and product page optimizations all which cost time and money for your business to produce and maintain.
Often times, in the circumstance where SEO resources are limited, we find our partners turning to Paid Search so that they can generate paid results on keywords before thinking about how they can leverage organic. SEO tactics can take months and years to produce, where as paid search insights can be drawn in near real time on those same exact keywords.
If you’re interested in learning about how paid search can be more profitable for your business, please feel free to contact us.