In this digital world, there are many ways to reach your audience. From Social Ads on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, to Pay Per Click through Google and Bing Search Ads. However, the one that seems to fall in and out of favor, but never goes away is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. We spend some time sharing some of our insights on why SEO is still a viable option today, and tomorrow… and answer the popular question: “Is SEO a waste of time?”
The Truth About The Effectiveness Of SEO
Many new or smaller businesses, especially with the birth of Ecomercerce platforms like Shopify and Bigcommerce, tend to shy away from SEO as the average person can feel like they don’t understand it and therefore don’t think it’s viable.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Though most business owners that venture into digital marketing tend to favor Facebook ads and Google paid search to reach their target audience, many are missing the evergreen goldmine that is SEO optimized content. As the saying goes, “paid ads convert, but it’s like running on a treadmill” …I’m pretty sure that’s not it, but you get the point. If you “unplug” the treadmill, the traffic stops. With SEO, it’s the exact opposite. You spend your budget and energy upfront and reap those sweet sweet organic clicks indefinitely!
This irrational fear is one of the best examples of throwing the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to the effort you put into marketing your business. Moz did a write up about how users are more likely to click an organic reference to your site overpaid ads in many cases. Those paid listings may actually be the reasons you’re unable to connect with your potential clients and will be losing clicks to your competitors. People simply pay more attention to organic results as they feel they matter more! (Though there were some factors of PPC that actually help boost organic later on, either way, if you’re not ranking, you won’t see those benefits either!)
Traffic By The Numbers
Not all traffic is created equal. When you’re starting an SEO campaign, you should be thinking of it differently to achieve success. We go much deeper into how to approach your SEO strategy over here, but for now, we’ll give you a top-level resource.
When we’re talking about numbers, we’re referring to focusing on the right goals.
With PPC you’re aiming directly at those conversion keywords. And at times you can attack those in SEO as well, but a majority of the time, you’re writing killer content to entice actual customers to figure out if you’re one of the experts on a topic… which could later lead to action like a purchase or email submit.
With the amount of content that is being created every day, you have to invest in getting clicks from long-tail keywords in organic search. Especially if you have a new site or one stuck with low quality links. Going after lower difficulty keywords without keyword stuffing will give you multiple benefits.
- You’ll actually be able to rank
- You can use pages with increasing popularity as targets to expand on, or use as supplemental pages to larger pieces of content (This is one of those SEO tactics most newbs never do correctly.)
So, if you’re 100% conversion based and have a budget, go swing for the fences and dump what you have into paid, but if you’re looking for evergreen clicks, that can build brand authority, while building your list for email marketing, and allow you to convert at times, or retarget at a MUCH cheaper rate, it may be a better idea to benefit from the basics of SEO.
Don’t Make The Common SEO Mistakes
Most folks that starting doing SEO stumble into it… they are playing in the Search Engine Marketing pool without even knowing it. Online marketing in general is a skill, and SEO is one tool great marketers have in their utility belt.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you venture down the SEO rabbit hole.
Stay away from “Black Hat SEO”
Now, technically, a guest post is black hat, but that’s a topic for another time. We’re referring more to techniques like hiding content or overloading a site with blatant spammy links. The “golden era” of SEO has passed and Google gets smarter every day. If you’re studying a book from 2010 about SEO, the fundamentals of technical SEO may still be valid, but after Penguin (Google Algorithm update) and its friends, the main components of SEO have evolved.
Fill in your Meta Data
I see too many newbies skipping this step. This is one of those practices that depend less on Google and more on human nature. Being able to hook your target market by enticing them with relevant keywords right on the search page is not something you should overlook!
You’re basically summarizing your page and telling them what they can expect by giving a click! Normally you pay for that privilege! (PPC)
Don’t wait to start your SEO
Every day we get calls from sites that put SEO in as an afterthought to their marketing plan. You will end up spending more, in the long run, to correct issues and clean up garbage content than you would if you just started creating good content and a solid site structure from scratch. The best thing you can do is lay out what your site will look like on a piece of paper or spreadsheet and make sure the model and the topics make sense!
That doesn’t mean you can’t venture down different trails later on, but have a plan in place from the start and it will make your content marketing and content creation so much easier!
To answer your question, “Is SEO a waste of time?”… heck no. It’s a goldmine if you know how to mine it.
If nothing else, get some help at the beginning of building your empire and have someone help you layout your site structure and the keywords and content you should be creating. This will put you way out ahead once you’re ready to start getting into the weeds and spending those SEO Dollars!
For 15+ years now Adam has helped business brand, plan, and grow.
With a background in media buying and specializing in data-driven marketing he founded the Painted Brick Digital Agency to act as your in-house marketing and advertising department.
“Cookie cutter doesn’t work in a world that is constantly evolving.”