Search engine optimization holds the promise of a billion-dollar PowerBall ticket. Getting ranked #1 in Google for whatever it is you do has serious financial benefits. But that ranking alone will not ensure optimal sales, and getting to that prized spot takes more time and energy than just about any other type of digital marketing. A better analogy is that SEO is like vitamins: it’s important, but its effects are limited if you aren’t taking proper care of the brand in other aspects.
An SEO agency might be able to push up your Google or Bing ranking a bit, or by a lot if you spend a lot, but their ability to push sales is limited. One of the most powerful tools for increasing PageRank is old fashioned public relations, via the type of earned media publicity we specialize in (and get for ourselves). When you get published in a reputable publication, and they include a link to your website, that signals to search engines that your site carries some legitimacy as well. Search engine optimization companies can get these backlinks through various channels, but they never carry the same weight as good press links. Plus, the PR is worthwhile in its own right as a way of spreading awareness and lending prestige to your brand.
Then there is the matter of content creation. You need to write articles and web copy that includes your target keywords. At our Austin-based advertising agency, we do things the only way we know how: through digital marketing and content marketing. We research keywords and are sure to include them in the websites we build. But the truth is that, when describing your product or services, you’ll naturally end up using a lot of the key terms anyway. Sometimes the way you describe yourself is different from how your prospects do, which is why the extra research is necessary. But plenty of websites get plenty of traffic without the services of an SEO firm.
Furthermore, if you write lifeless blogs that only serve to pack more keywords into the site, nobody will want to read them. To us, the headline of the blog is the most important snippet of content for social media marketing to drive traffic to your website or landing page. Or else what’s the point of SMM? Nobody’s personal Christmas picture ever added authority to a brand, unless you have a famous guy as a friend… and if that’s the case can we get their number? Writing quality educational or entertaining content (we will push you, and ourselves to be vulnerable when writing) gives your brand an authoritative voice in your industry, and it is cheaper to promote click-worthy content than something that looks more like a traditional ad.
There is one last problem you encounter when search engine optimization obsession happens, (and you go deep into a tunnel). The issue is about how to get users to behave the way you want to once they get to your site. What happens when you get tons of clicks but every visitor leaves before becoming a lead or making a purchase? In that case, you might have an issue with your brand perception, your site’s user experience, your brand messaging or your overall marketing strategy. An SEO agency might not be capable of monitoring user flow and properly reacting to it. The one thing they do know? How to set things up to run. And good luck with that being a long-haul strategy.