Search Engine Optimization has long been touted as the key to owning a successful website. However, in reality, SEO is not as reliable as you might think when considering things to put in place to boost your website growth, and here are some of the reasons:
- SEO is constantly changing
One thing about SEO is that it is always changing. Leading content marketing agencies in India suggest that SEO is a continuous process that never ends. Your target market changes over time, your competition changes as well, and most significantly, the search engines themselves change the rules so frequently. Google uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve the quality of service they can provide as the behavior of search engine users is changing. They adapt their service to provide better-suited results to the queries of users. As a result, they make frequent algorithm updates such that it is almost impossible to keep up with the SEO best practices at every point in time. As a result, total reliance on SEO is unadvisable. Many website owners have woken up to some disastrous effects of an algorithm update on their webpage.
- SEO practices are numerous
Search engines like Google rely on over 200 factors in search engine ranking. It would be very time-consuming and impractical to review each of these factors in hopes of optimizing your website for all of them particularly when a lot of them are subject to change without warning.
- SEO best practices that work for one brand might not necessarily work for your brand
SEO agencies in India say SEO practices that work for a digital marketing brand for example will likely not work for a local shoe store website for various reasons. First of all, the target market is vastly different. If the shoe store owner for instance optimizes their website to come up for keyword searches of ‘shoe sellers’, they will likely become visible on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) but will receive not much conversion because the audience the page is shown to will likely not be within the locality of the shoe store owner and would majorly consist of people who want to order shoes online. When these search engine users come across the local shoe website, they will scroll past and look for a site that satisfies their needs whereas, a digital marketing company will likely get more conversions for their business if they rank high on the SERP because they would be in a better position to satisfy customer needs online. In this instance the best alternative for the shoe store owner would be to optimize for the locale he or she is in and focus on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) that is the rate at which people carry out desired actions on a website such as making purchases, subscribing to a newsletter, sharing to their social media, signing up for an online service or event, etc.
- SEO takes time to work
As stated earlier, search engine optimization is a never-ending process, not a simple procedure. A lot of things need to be in place for SEO to yield obvious positive results. Things like domain age are considered by search engines in ranking websites. For a startup with a new website, considering this, it is unlikely that your website will become visible on SERPs until after a year or two. About 60% of the highest-ranking pages in google search are websites that have existed for three years or more. SEO is a slow and steady approach and while slow and steady wins the race sometimes, you might not want to wait three years before gaining your first customer through your website.
Another reason SEO takes time to work and may never even work for your business is competition. While you are optimizing your search engine for visibility, chances are that your competitors are not resting on their oars. More so, in a highly competitive field with already established names and websites, it will be nearly impossible for a newbie to gain significant visibility for various reasons. First of all, big competitors are likely to spend way more on their Search Engine Optimization than you do. While your budget for SEO might be $1000 per month, you would be unable to compete with a more established business spending over $20,000 per month on SEO. Also, in terms of data and statistics more experienced companies already know what works in the business and what does not work and while you are patiently hoping that your SEO strategies might work someday, you would be losing a lot of customers i.e. money.
- SEO is inessential in a vacuum
While SEO might help increase website traffic, the fact remains that it is just one of the several ways of boosting traffic and not even necessarily the most effective one depending on the target audience and competition. Search engine optimization when not combined with other methods may have little to no impact on your website. Some alternatives that can increase your website traffic are:
- Using paid ads: Sponsored ad pages usually appear at the top of SERPs and so instead of bothering with so many SEO rules and waiting for SEO to increase your website visibility, a much faster way is paying for ads. While this might seem expensive compared to organically gaining traffic, the truth is that SEO is always at a cost whether it is performed by a hired professional or personally. On either occasion, you are either spending money or time and effort, both of which have monetary value. Most times you are spending all three. Even the money spent on internet access to research about SEO and perform it is an expense. It is, therefore, more advisable to invest the money in a much safer place i.e. sponsored ads.
- Social media: Social media can be a very useful tool for business owners if it is used properly especially if your target is the younger generation. Facebook is the most used social media platform with over 2.8 billion active users. YouTube is next with 2 billion active users. YouTube is also the second most used search engine after google. Instagram as well is in the billion category with 1 billion active users, and so on. This is a very large market that can yield great returns if properly exploited. An added advantage of social media over conventional search engines like google is that social media is interactive. In other words, you can get real-time feedback from customers to learn how to better serve them with your product. Creating social media pages for your brand and interacting with your target market to increase their interest in your products can lead to great turnover for your business. Most social media platforms can be linked to websites and as such this makes it easy for a potential customer to easily navigate from your social media platform to your website and perform whatever action is desirable for your brand.
- Email marketing: Click-through rate is simply how many people per impressions made actually click on a website link. E-mails yield the highest click-through rates above social media ads. Emails yield almost three times the click-through rate of Facebook, the largest social media platform. Also, above all other forms of contact, email continues to be people’s most preferred contact method. For an extra boost, personalized emails receive even higher click-through rates so instead of sending an email from ‘TeensHub’ try sending one from ‘Gina, TeensHub’.
- Influencer marketing: Influencer marketing can greatly boost your business by removing the hurdle of developing your customer’s confidence in your brand. Online consumers are usually wary of fraudulent businesses and mostly lookout for businesses with an already established reputation. As a result, it is usually difficult for startups without any standing reputation to attract customers. Brand authority and reputation can easily be boosted by partnering with influencers. These are people who have a large number of followers on social media and are adored and respected by their followers. A simple share or recommendation by them is enough to boost your business patronage because people trust these influencers and are willing to take action based on their approval or disapproval of a product.
- High ranking on Search Engine Result Page does not guarantee visibility and higher visibility does not guarantee higher conversion
SEO practices are primarily aimed at achieving higher visibility on SERPs but this does not always happen for a variety of reasons, most of which have been mentioned above. However, if one gains a higher SERP ranking, it still does not guarantee visibility. Certain search result pages come up with up to six sponsored ad webpages and only one organic result. In such a case, where one has been able to boost their web page ranking on the SERP from say the 7th result to the 3rd one, their webpage would still not be visible on the first page which is as far as 75% of search engine users go. Even if a business’s SEO practices, fortunately, work for them and land them on the first page and in the top results of a SERP, it still does not guarantee conversion! If a web page is being shown to a large group of the wrong audience, then it is no good at all. This highly technical and unsure aspect of SEO is a major reason why you should no longer rely on SEO again for your website if you have been heavily reliant on it before.
- It is a risky investment
SEO is a risky investment just like a lot of investments are. So if you are a risk-taker and have the financial capacity to spend and invest in SEO without getting any immediate returns, then SEO might be for you. This works particularly well for content writing companies and digital marketing agencies in India, given their nature of operating. However, if you do not have the financial capacity, it is not worth it to spend money on hiring professional Search Engine Optimizers unless the expenditure is less than the income brought in by SEO.
A lot of website owners beat themselves up a lot over the lack of improvement in their click-through and conversion rates despite sticking to the best SEO practices. However, it is vital to understand that sometimes, SEO is not the answer and should be less relied upon. Many website owners will begin to see massive change when they begin to use other methods to drive traffic to their website in place of SEO.