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6 Reasons Why SEO Might Not Be Right For Your Business

6 Reasons Why SEO Might Not Be Right For Your Business

A lot of people think that search engine optimization (SEO) is a business staple, like email, desks, and, well … staples. But in reality, SEO is not something every business needs, especially small businesses with modest marketing budgets.

If any of the conditions below apply to your company, you will be better off investing in marketing campaigns other than SEO.

1. Low keyword volume

There’s not much point in achieving first page Google rankings for keywords that are searched for only a handful of times a month. If the most relevant keywords for your business have minimal volume, then you’re unlikely to reach the critical mass of click-throughs necessary to generate ROI for your SEO investment. (Companies fall into the trap of investing in low-volume keywords because it feels good when they see themselves ranking well. The moral to the story is this: Always track sales leads or revenue generated from your SEO campaign and assess results based on that.)

2. You serve a small local market

If your business serves a small or midsize market—a dental practice, restaurant, etc.—then standard SEO will not work because keywords targeting your specific market will lack sufficient volume to generate ROI. In this situation consider a local SEO campaign, which is a specialized type of SEO involving different techniques than what are important for a standard (that is, a national-scope) SEO campaign.

3. The competition is too strong

If your maximum SEO budget is $1,000 per month and you’re up against competitors spending $20,000 per month, your chances of getting high rankings for strategically important keywords will hover somewhere around zero. SEO in certain industries, such as insurance and banking, is dominated by a few big players with very deep pockets. You may be able to compete on keywords that fly under their radar, but you’ll need very sophisticated keyword/competitive research to determine whether even this could be successful.

4. Your budget is too small

SEO takes more than a few hundred dollars a month to succeed. Producing and marketing content, scouring the territory for link-building opportunities, developing new tactics, and a host of other tasks require a great deal of time and expertise. SEO does not lend itself to mechanical, assembly-line, formulaic execution. How much is enough? The answer to that depends largely on the competition and the current state of your organic search visibility, but as a rule of thumb you can figure it will cost at least $1,000 a month to move the dial.

5. Your website is an SEO disaster

For SEO to have any chance of success, Google crawlers must be able to find and accurately evaluate the relevance and authority of your website content. If your website impedes Google’s ability to do this, then Google won’t be able to figure out how to match your content with searches for your target keywords. Old or poorly constructed websites will need to be overhauled before any investment of SEO makes sense. Website problems to look for run the gamut—the usual ones include poorly constructed URLs, missing or badly written title tags, mobile-unfriendly design, no pages to support primary target keywords, and a faulty internal linking structure.

6. You have a radically new product or service

Companies offering something really new have many exciting marketing options to choose from—but SEO is not one of them. If you’ve got something people are not familiar with, then they won’t be searching for it online. Once the market has become familiar with your offering and you have a critical mass of brand recognition, SEO could be a great option. Meantime, save those precious marketing dollars for options with a better payoff.

Start with research

If you have any doubt about whether SEO will work for your organization, then the best course of action is to invest in professional preliminary research to properly evaluate the opportunity and cost.

The worst thing to do—and the thing most companies actually do—is dabble in SEO. Dabbling with a small budget and half-hearted effort not only wastes money, it may lead you to the wrong conclusion, preventing you from seeing the true potential of a professionally managed SEO campaign. SEO campaigns that produce results always start with excellent research.

This article was originally published on AllBusiness.com. Read all of Brad Shorr’s articles.