Why SEO Is Not A Business Strategy

It might be the fact that I’m high on NyQuil fighting this flu, but there, I said it! SEO is not a business strategy!

That’s not to say SEO shouldn’t form a part of your marketing strategy (it absolutely should), it’s just not a standalone strategy. Time to panic?

Well let me ask you a question about your business:

What is your first objective in taking on a marketing strategy?

Is it to brand your business and get as many impressions on search engine results pages (SERPS) as possible? My guess is, unless you’re Nike or Coca Cola, the answer to that question is a resounding: “No”.

It is far more likely that you will take on a marketing strategy to grow your business and gain new clients.

While this may appear to be an extremely obvious statement (and probably has most people rolling their eyes), my follow-up question is then: Why obsessively focus on SEO? If an SEO strategy is not part of a comprehensive integrated marketing strategy, then you’re wasting your time, and money, and you’ll no doubt end up buying into the idea that SEO’s are all “snake oil salesmen”.

SEO is one of the absolute last things you should do as part of your inbound marketing (or Internet Marketing) strategy. If you dominated search engine results pages for every keyword you wanted to rank for, but the web experience you subjected your potential clients to was so awful that very few converted, then you are simply on a branding mission.

On the other hand, if your primary focus is not just on getting potential clients to your website, but rather on what they will experience when they get there, you create something that is of real value to those that visit your site, and you’re on the right track.

As a prime example of this: Go to Google and type “Search Engine” in the search bar. Depending on where you live, Google will only show up in the results on page 2 or 3! That’s because Google’s focus has been on creating tools with the user in mind.

An SEO with the sole focus of SEO would have told Google to include the phrase “Search Engine” all over their Title, Meta Description and page content.

Instead, their title is “Google”. There is no meta description, and the words “search engine” don’t even exist in their page content. That didn’t stop Google from becoming the world’s most dominant search-centric internet company.

So where should you begin?

In my last post: Unraveling The Google Adwords Algorithm (Part 1), we took a brief look at how contribution margin should affect your Adwords research. The fact is: Return on investment should affect all aspects of your Internet marketing strategy.

The single most important thing you can do to affect contribution margin is to improve your conversion rate. This can be as simple as a professional redesign of your website, or as complex as a structured A/B testing campaign. This will be the topic of my next post as we pick up the series of Unraveling The Google Adwords Algorithm. Tweet your thoughts @AinsleyMuller