By conventional definitions, this website – the one you are reading now – has mediocre SEO. My meta tag on my home page is too long. I haven’t labeled all my image photos with friendly names. I am not connected to social media. And I have no backlinks. So, on QuickSprout (a free website analyzer by Neil Patel of Kissmetrics) I score a B… which is pretty dismal for someone who supposedly writes SEO content for a living.But here’s the catch: this website converts most of its traffic into solid leads. I don’t have a huge amount of traffic, but the traffic I do have is valuable. My visitors are interested in what I have to sell. And most of them wind up buying it. So, in reality, I have a successful site.
Some people would argue I could make so much more money if I had better SEO and thus more traffic and thus more leads. Maybe so. But I consistently come up in the top results on Google for “freelance writer.” In other words, I am already at the top, mostly due to my domain name, miamiwriter.com. Can better SEO really push me to the tippy-top above the job boards for freelance writers, like job serious.com No, I doubt it. Those sites have thousands of pages. Better SEO on my site is not really going to pay off, and I can’t justify the extra time it takes.
SEO can matter in competitive industries. There are around 170 searches per month in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale for “freelance writer” and related terms. But there are 40,500 searches for “realtor.” Granted, this is probably misleading because there are only 480 searches for “real estate agent” which seems more in line with local results. To make SEO work, you would need great keyword content + great sales content. This is not cheap. And even if people like your site, they know your competition is just a click away. It is very easy to lose them.
So the question becomes whether you should invest in SEO? For a lot of companies, the answer is no. If you are just starting to sell hurricane impact windows in South Florida, for example, you have dozens of older and savvier competitors ahead of you. Does it make sense to run after them, or should you try a different strategy altogether? I would put my money on good sales copy + local direct mail + a customer referral program. It won’t be cheap, but good marketing in competitive industries never is.
I am fine with faulty SEO when:
Good SEO has low returns
Good SEO interferes with the sales message
Good SEO is not essential to the marketing plan