paying for seo

If I hear this one more time, I think I shall burst into flames. “We’ve hired a firm to do SEO for us,” or “we need to appear in page one of search results.” Well, maybe not actual flames… but gosh, I would say to all of you people out there, let’s think for a minute about what SEO is going to do for you.

Yes, you’re right. SEO will drive traffic to your website. That’s terrific, right?

Well, it’s terrific for about 10% of small business websites, and the other 90% might as well throw that money into the deep blue sea.

Here’s why: if your website is not converting visitors into leads, so you can then convert them into sales, having your site found on page one of search results is not going to improve your results.

That’s right. You might get more visitors, but they’ll bounce (leave your site) just as fast as if you were on page seven.

But wait a second – if you’re getting 1% of your site visitors to fill out your “Contact Us” form, and you have more visitors by doing SEO, your 1% will be a bigger number, right? Well, yes, that is right; you’ve got me there. Your 99% number of unconverted visitors will also be a bigger number.

Too many small business websites are focused on the organization itself – latest news, product specs, services descriptions, etc. – the information that is important to the organization to share – but not to the visitor to read. Think about it for a minute – how many sites have you visited where the “Latest News” starts with something like “Announcing our New Website,” or “Bob Gets Promoted to Manager?” Did you care? Do you think anyone really cares?

Your website visitors care about the things that are important to them, not about the things that are important to you. Site content needs to resonate with the intended audience. Sites need calls-to-action (CTAs) that entice visitors to trade their email address for something of value (again, of value to THEM). Websites need to engage visitors and lead them in the direction that they wish to go – which should generally be the same direction that YOU want them to go.

Here’s the other thing: yes, 1% of a bigger number is a bigger number, but you’re only converting the people who are ready to buy – only after they’ve done all of their research and learned all they can about the problem they are trying to solve. If you’re not positioning content in your site to build trust, intersecting with the buyers throughout their journey, you’re missing out. The point here is that you want to engage people higher up in their buying process so that you can build trust, build authority, and build your leadership position in your industry.

Sending more traffic to a website that does not engage is a huge waste of money. Start with defining your SEO strategy, yes, but then devise a content strategy that leverages your increased traffic to build your relationship with potential customers well before they are ready to buy. Intercept them in their research process, knock their socks off with great content, and, oh, by the way, capture their email address along the way so you can nurture them right into your sales process.

Only then will the money you spend to pay for SEO makes sense.