This is a hard one to write about, but it certainly needs to be addressed. In some cases, search engine optimization, social media, email marketing, you name it, any form of digital marketing, will not save your online business. There are certain things that have to be in place for you to be successful online. Here are 7 signs that search engine optimization won’t save your business.
1. You have a bad business model
Any business owner knows that the numbers matter. Before launching an online business, it is critical to project the traffic, the costs, the conversion rates, the revenue generated, the expenses and the profit margin. If you don’t get a good handle on what you need to be successful, you are really not approaching the business in a responsible way. A sound business model is critical and no matter how good your search engine optimization strategy, if the numbers don’t line up, it is futile.
2. You are in a significantly over-saturated space
Nothing is better than being the only person in a market. Or even one of the few people in a market. But if you are new to the online world and you try to enter a competitive space (think coupons, online dating, engagement rings, etc.) you are really going to have your work cut out for you. What I will say, is that anything is possible. I have actually worked with two clients who we were able to get ranked #1 for coupons, at different times of course, we got a client ranked #1 for engagement rings, as well as many more. It is possible, but these clients had six figure SEO budgets and their budgets outside of SEO were probably five times that. If you are going into a saturated space, make sure you have the ammo to compete.
3. You do nothing outside of SEO to promote yourself
This follows a few of the same points above, but the more competitive the space, the more important that you are doing other things to promote yourself outside of SEO. Public relations, email marketing, TV advertising, radio, social media, inbound marketing all help SEO in one way or another. When you build a brand, you get more links and more branded traffic. So if the space is competitive, don’t rely on a small SEO budget to make you rich.
4. You have a product or service that has a limited demand and the search traffic is not there
Search engine optimization does not create demand, it instead locates a demand and puts you in a position to supply that demand. Now in some cases, the other services SEO companies offer like social media or online advertising can assist with demand creation. But at the end of the day, if there are only 50 searches a month in your entire space and no one wants the product or service, SEO is not going to be the saving grace.
5. You get way too many negative reviews
Negative reviews kill a business. In fact, I would like to tell everyone who is reading this to take a moment and think before you leave the next negative online review. A week or so ago I went back and deleted all of mine on Yelp. Often they are left in the heat of the moment and when you go back and reconsider, you often think that it doesn’t sound like you at all. The point is, when a business, a product or a service has negative reviews all over the Internet, sales and leads drop. That’s just the way it is. Now there are things you can do about this, but generally, SEO traffic does not convert as well when consumers see negative reviews.
6. Your website doesn’t work
Oh could I tell you numerous stories about the broken sites I have seen over the years. There is nothing like realizing a lead form, an ecommerce site checkout process or maybe an entire mobile version of a website has been broken for a week or more. These types of things really hurt an online business. You need to be able to support your marketing with correctly functioning technology.
7. You have bad design, CRO or something people really don’t like
We do a lot of conversion rate optimization here. We really have to. Because if we get you traffic and it doesn’t covert, that’s not good for anyone. Consumers do not like ugly websites or clunky checkout processes. Your website needs to look great on mobile, be easy to understand and use, and funnel the consumer right where you want them to go to complete your goal. Otherwise, you are just driving SEO traffic for nothing.
In almost every case, search engine optimization is a strategy everyone online business must do. But sometimes, these are few other boxes you need to check to make sure your website can benefit from SEO. These are just a few to consider, which if taken care of will bring you more success. If you do everything your SEO companies says, there is a good chance you will win in SEO. But the business needs to have some basic principles in line as well.
- Top 10 Business Plan Mistakes. (2005, November 27). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/81188
- The Top 7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2013/09/17/the-top-7-online-marketing-trends-that-will-dominate-2014/
- Nasty Online Reviews May Not Hurt Your Business as Much as You Think. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/nasty-online-reviews-may-not-hurt-your-business-as-much-as-you-think/