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AmberS, post: 208578 wrote:
I’ve been keeping up with this discussion for a while and find it frustrating that SEO gets discussed as though SEO equals online or internet marketing, when in fact it is just a small part of good marketing. Even when you take out all the other channels for offline marketing, there are so many online channels and actions which should be used to increase sales, that such a disproportionate focus on search, keywords and rankings baffles me.

As SEO professionals like John say, link building isn’t going to be of any real value for most small-medium businesses. So paying an SEO company a big chunk of a tight marketing budget doesn’t make a lot of sense. But where the discussion here seems to be either pay a lot for SEO or do it yourself, I think the most important thing should be to find a marketing company who can come up with the best strategy for your business growth and then implement that plan. That plan would show you where (and on what parts of your marketing infrastructure) your money would be best spent, and importantly, in what order.

I find all this talk of SEO, rankings and keywords misses the point, you’ve run a marathon and stopped short of the finish line thinking you’ve done enough. You haven’t; businesses don’t make money based on search rankings. They need ~sales~.

A #1 ranking means nothing if your web presence is poor. I’ve been to a number of websites that get promoted on different forum topics here as: I got these guys to rank, this website is super fast to load, you don’t need a fancy responsive website to rank… Sure, but as a consumer looking at these sites, I’m moving on to #2. Why? I can’t read them, the functionality is not user friendly, on a mobile where I do a lot of my searching (along 55% and climbing of searchers) they are completely unusable, they make the business look very small and un-professional. So all that time and effort in building that super quick, top ranking site means nothing because your website fails to do what it should, sell.

So what is the business owner left with? They have paid a lot of money to lose the client at the worst possible time – just before they buy. So you’ve spent a lot, but received little benefit. Even worse, people are left in a position where they are led to focus on exactly the wrong thing, and can’t understand why it isn’t “working” – why they’re not getting any returns.

What’s the right thing, then? We tend to look to ratios, and strategise the best ways to achieve different ends. For example, where does the ~value~ lie? There’s no point driving X type of traffic if it’s low value. If you can look to your stats on your reception desk and correlate where the leads came from. All highly valuable in working out online marketing / content marketing / SEO strategies.

However, what’s happening here is that people are focusing on the wrong (and very limited) set of metrics for the business owner. No amount of money thrown at “SEO” (as opposed to broader, decent quality digital marketing) will have the best results for the business.

If you are a small business owner and have some money to engage a professional, look for someone that has a general marketing background with the up to date, technical skills to create a great website that speaks to your market, teamed with a well rounded strategy that encompasses the best ways for you to market to your audience.

Don’t get caught up in lower level metrics that SEO companies will try to convince you are the most important. Yes they have to be considered, worked on and improved, but they aren’t the finish line.

What Amber said.