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Why Businesses Do Not Want Or Care About SEO
Over the past couple of years, I've had to sit in many a meeting room pitching clients or stakeholders my strategies on how I would help improve their organic performance and in that time I've been meet with a lot of push back, especially within the local market of South Africa. SEO is seen merely as a nice to have by many brands, and very few in-house marketing teams or marketing agencies have it as part of their strategy.
Instead of wanting to build a long lasting online brand and reputation, companies are hyperfocused on lead generation, and that's where the money is focused, much to platforms like Facebook and Google's delight. The more you trust their paid tools, they more you will remain loyal to their services and the more can charge you for clicks as you become reliant on these tools for leads.
Note: If you've noticed that your traffic has been on a downward trend then check our post - Why your traffic will decline in 2019
SEO is often painted as a cloak and dagger channel, and a risky investment that hardly pays off and I can understand why business owners think that. After hearing so many horror stories and performing audits and pitching for work I've listened to it all. In my talks with marketing managers or startup owners, I found that some of the more popular reasons why brands ignore SEO are as follows.
1. Bad experiences with agencies or freelancers
Nothing will taint your view of SEO faster than having a bad experience. For those who have taken a shot on SEO and paid external service providers for services and not seen results think that the channel does not work for them.
The problem here is the longer you put off SEO, the more time you give competitors to take control over market share, and they will be able to offset ad costs because of it. This will provide your competition with additional funds to be more aggressive with paid ads and start to outbid you regularly for paid traffic.
2. Companies don't have the patience for SEO
SEO is slow and meandering to the benefit of Google. It is in their interest to make it harder for brands to rank and compete for traffic. This encourages brands to opt for Googles various forms of paid traffic.
While SEO does take time, its effects compound over time, and those brands who stick it out regardless of the initial return will be rewarded with a consistent flow of traffic and leads. The amount you paying for SEO will reduce over time, and in a year the retainer you're paying will produce a better ROI.
3. Businesses don't have the money for SEO
Depending on the state of your site SEO can be a costly undertaking to get traffic flowing and a healthy churn rate going.
Businesses should look at working with a strategist, in the beginning, to put together a year plan, pick out the tasks they can handle and the tasks they want an external service provider to look after and manage costs. You can always move over more of your SEO responsibilities to your service provider as your website starts to grow.
4. Brands don't think SEO works for them
Brands who have not invested in SEO and enjoy success on social media or paid search channels often feel that SEO isn't where their customers are coming from. Their results prove they should concentrate on their other channels and the minimal effort they have put into SEO gives them the idea that it's not a channel where sales and traffic will come from.
If you have a pretty unique product or brand, this could be the case, but it doesn't mean you should discount SEO. By creating content and optimising your site, you will be able to capture users who find you through one channel and perhaps want to return via a search or heard about you and tried to search. While it may not be a large amount of traffic, it's free and can add to your leads over time.
5. SEO is seen as a nice to have not a necessity
Digital marketing with all its tactics and metrics often drives brands to concentrate on push channels since the performance is under their control and they have an immediate view of return on investment. While SEO you can only really measure your ROI over a long period, a minimum of 6 months in my opinion and to be safe, I would always say give it a year.
While it may not be your businesses core focus, I always encourage brands to spend what they can afford on a basic content strategy to make sure they make positive additions to their site. Since SEO is a long game adding to it each month even in a small capacity can produce great results over time. The best time to start with SEO was ten years ago and the second best time is now.
6. They don't know the difference between paid and organic listings
For those in the digital space, we know what paid search is but for many business owners getting into the space they do not see the difference and think that all listings are paid for results.
Brands should remember that even though paid search has begun to encroach on organic search particularly on mobile, organic links still get the majority of clicks from search engines. SEO also allows you the unique opportunity to connect with users based on a myriad of search queries that are not really conversion based such as research or compartive searches and help you reach users and convert them even before they had the intention to buy your product or use your service.
7. Startups feel they can do it themselves
When you're a startup, you're always looking to keep costs down and assign your budget to channels that bring in immediate revenue. If you have the skill and the time to keep your SEO in-house it can work.
However, what I often see when startups who try to take control of your SEO is that other channels will take priority and SEO tasks are put on the back burner for weeks and even months. If you don't make positive contributions to your SEO consistently, you're not going to see results as growth hacks, and the odd update or content push will only have a minor impact.
8. It brings in traffic, and we never used an SEO
Scale-ups, franchises and businesses with a strong brand name can often live on the interest on their brand terms and don't have to compete for generic and long tail terms in to generate organic traffic. These sites rely on consumers that already know who they are and are happy with leads and traffic they get from organic search.
The problem is if you're not continually pushing your brand in other digital channels and with above the line efforts brand will begin to plateau, and you're allowing your competitors to dominate search terms around your products and services. You will be losing ground to them every day, and when you eventually want to compete for those terms, it's going to be an uphill battle that takes serious effort and time.
If you're currently saying no to SEO
Trusting performance marketing tools is by no means a wrong way to approach digital and if you're getting leads and conversations that's excellent news. All I'm saying is these leads and conversions may not always be easy and as affordable as they are now. Brands need to look at adding contingencies and putting together task lists where they can knock out technical issues, create content and improve user experience at a rate that is affordable and manageable.
SEO is not a siloed channel and any improvements you make will not only bring you traffic from organic but have a knock-on effect by improving the performance of your other channels.
Tell us your SEO story
Have you been frustrated with an SEO in the past? How did you or the company overcome it? Are there any tips you would like to share on working with an SEO? Share it with us in the comments.
If you want to know more about SEO for your business, then don’t be shy we’re happy to assist. Simply contact us
Are you looking to promote your business?
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If you require a more detailed guide on how to create your profile or your listing, then we highly recommend you check out the following articles.
If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts on SEO.