SEO can transform a small business, but can Search Engine Optimisation transform YOUR business? Will SEO work for you? SEO consultant Mark Reynolds from ProfitReach, a Leamington digital marketing agency, offers his advice…
Article by: Mark Reynolds, the founder and owner of ProfitReach. Mark first applied SEO to a small business website in 2002. In every role since, he has used SEO to grow web enquiries for small businesses. He’s a trusted speaker, delivering SEO/Google Analytics workshops for Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and other organisations. Today he’s here to help you. Need Mark’s help? Get in touch.
- Read time: 9 min.
- Who will find the most value? Small business owners, marketing directors and marketing managers looking to build towards SEO success in 2019 and beyond.
You don’t want do invest time and money into SEO if at the end of it there’s nothing to show. So how do you tell if SEO will work for you? How do you tell if SEO is worth it?
SEO success is never guaranteed. It doesn’t work for everyone. Across the world there have been countless failed SEO campaigns. But SEO has also transformed hundreds of thousands of businesses.
Why? Because SEO truly works.
I’ve been applying SEO to websites since 2002. I’ve found that when SEO is carried out the right way, the largest source of quality website leads and enquiries for a small business is almost always Google organic.
Google is a super power when it comes to the amount of traffic and the quality of that traffic. This Google traffic really does convert.
With hard work, the right work, SEO could transform your business. Don’t miss this SEO opportunity.
SEO Won’t Work If…
Ask yourself these SEO questions to get an early idea about your chances of SEO success. This gives you a good grounding before speaking to an SEO specialist, consultant or agency.
- Do you want very quick results? SEO will not work for you if you want to start it today and get a higher number of web enquiries tomorrow. Take a look at Google Ads instead to give you a better chance of that quicker return. You have to be prepared to give SEO time.
- Do enough people search Google for your products and/or services? SEO doesn’t change how people search. It won’t help you drive up searches where interest is already low. Doing your keyword research is critical. It’s going to make your job much harder if you spend time and money optimising your website for search queries that not enough people are using in Google. Remember that only a small percentage of those that search will actually click on your result. Only a small percentage of those will then take action on your website. If you get it right, the reward from SEO can be significant.
When Will I Know If SEO Has Worked?
You will only know if SEO truly works for your business once you’ve rigorously followed a high quality SEO strategy for 12-18 months. There’s no time for being half-hearted. You need to go into SEO with all your soul.
Even if the success of your SEO campaign can’t be judged fully until 12-18 months, you should see some progress in Google during months 3-6. You should rank well for some keywords in months 6-9, and yes, you’ll have to wait until months 12-18 to really shine.
The key during that 12-18 month journey is that you don’t just wait in the hope of success. You don’t simply agree with them when they say “you need to be patient”. If SEO is going to work for you, you need to have the right conversations.
There’s quite a lot of risk if SEO is your only way of attracting more traffic and web enquiries. Spread the risk, by also investing in services like Google Ads where you can get quicker results.
Work Closely With Your SEO Specialist
As the months of your SEO campaign progress, make sure whoever is managing your SEO is completely transparent and that you hold them to account. Check out our post on “How To Get The Best From Your SEO Employee, Consultant or SEO Agency in 2019 (And Avoid Wasting Time & Money)“.
Will SEO Work For Your Business?
What Is Your Primary SEO Goal?
You must know what you want to get from SEO before you ask any more questions.
- You need to look beyond generating traffic.
- Is it brand awareness?
- Are you looking to get more meetings booked? eg. do you want to generate more high quality web enquiries?
Once you have clarity about your primary goal, it will be easier to answer the questions below. SEO is not just about generating more traffic, it’s about achieving much more.
Do Your Target Keywords Have a High Commercial Intent?
A good initial way to see if SEO could work for you is to carry out a few searches for your main products or services in Google.
Your goal is to find out if your keywords has a medium to high level of commercial intent. If they do, then you’ve got a better chance of increasing revenue. Competition may be slightly higher, but at least if you get it right, you’ve got a chance of transforming your business.
- It’s best to search privately using something like Google Chrome Incognito Mode.
- Do a typical search on Google (on desktop rather than mobile) for one of your main target products/services.
- Do adverts appear at the top of that search results page?
If a high number of adverts appear at the top of the results eg. 4 adverts, then the commercial intent of that search is likely to be high. Your competitors are already advertising on Google in high numbers because they have probably proven that people who search for these words are willing to spend money.
If you see one or more adverts, then it’s certainly worth doing more research. Google could be a great place for you to invest in Search Engine Optimisation and to advertise with Google Ads.
But what if you’re not seeing many ads? Try again at a different time of the day. Or better still, try Google’s Ad Preview & Diagnostic Tool (Google Ads account needed). That tool gives you an unaltered view of the search results.
Still not seeing many ads? Do some more thorough keyword research and see what ads are showing for other related searches.
Still no ads? It could be that other companies have tested the water and the commercial intent isn’t high enough. Maybe SEO isn’t the way to go. However it would be foolish to write it off without getting an SEO specialists advice.
11 Reasons Why You Might Fail At SEO
SEO is only worth it if it’s approached in the right way. Get it wrong and you will fail – your closest competitor could reap the rewards.
- You’re not clear on your primary SEO goal. SEO isn’t about getting more traffic, it’s about getting new customers. Make sure you have SMART goals in place and avoid being a rudderless SEO ship.
- Not enough people search Google for your products or services. Doing your keyword research is critical.
- Your SEO specialist has not created a suitable SEO strategy or strategies. It all starts with an SEO strategy/plan, if you get this wrong then you will affect your chances of success.
- Your SEO specialist is failing to execute your SEO strategy/strategies to the required standard. If you have a good plan in place, then it counts for nothing if it’s being executed poorly.
- You take your eye off your SEO strategy. There’s no point in having a plan if you don’t stick to it, evaluate it and amend as you move forward. It has to form the backbone of your SEO efforts. If you go off-piste then your progress could substantially slow.
- There’s too much competition in the search results. Even though you execute your SEO strategies perfectly and you have the right SEO resources, the competition in the results is too high – you struggle to make progress.
- You don’t have the confidence or desire for SEO to succeed. It’s not good enough to just dabble with SEO and have a go for a few months to see what happens. Or do it for 6 months and then stop. You need to do your research up front and be in it for the long term. Get your approach right from the beginning and get your confidence early. Hire and fire quickly, but get it right – put everything behind getting SEO success.
- You don’t invest the required resources. SEO needs time and money. Don’t expect to make progress without investing both. If you try to cut down on costs by doing it yourself, then there’s a good chance your results could suffer.
- You don’t have the time to create and implement your SEO strategy. If you’re a business owner, or marketing director, chances are you’re trying to spin a lot of plates. If you’re tasked with SEO and can’t give it the time it needs , you’re going to be up against it from the word go. A lot of work goes into successful SEO campaigns, if you don’t have the time then invest in other resources.
- You don’t have the knowledge or experience to hire or assign SEO specialists – instead you hire someone who’s more interested in learning SEO, or worse still, isn’t passionate about your business and swallows your money without a desire to get results. You don’t want to be in the same place in 12 months time, so hire well.
- You or your team don’t have the SEO knowledge or experience to execute a SEO strategy. If you spend the next 6 months – 24 months learning SEO instead of implementing proven strategies, progress will be slow and you will waste your opportunity.
If SEO will work for your business in 2019 and beyond then it’s time to start doing it properly.
As my favourite chinese proverb goes,
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
In other words. Don’t despair if your competitors have been doing SEO for the last 3-20 years.
Simply tell yourself that today is “Day 1”.
Today is much better than tomorrow for making SEO work for your business. And it’s certainly better than ‘never’.
Get in touch / send me an email if you have any questions about whether SEO will work for your business, or if you need any other SEO help. Or you want to speak to me on the phone for an informal discussion, call me, Mark Reynolds (ProfitReach founder) on 01926 356300 or 01454 858754.
Over to you. Make SEO work.