Aaron Wall of SEOBook was recently interviewed on Small Business Trends Radio about SEO. During the interview, Aaron was asked which companies should and shouldn’t invest in SEO. His answer, and the question itself, brought up some legitimate questions that I hadn’t yet seen addressed in the SEO space.
Does every company really need SEO? Does every website out there have a legitimate need to link build and optimize on page? Unfortunately for us SEO professionals, the short answer is no – the long answer is this post.
Completely Forget About It
Aaron said that the more abstract your product or business, the less viable SEO is for your company. The reason for this is that the more local or tiny your niche, the less likely it is that there’s any competitive SERPs in your industry, or any real search volume to go after. Local sandwich shops and artists are good examples of companies/sellers trying to shell out products that have no real sales viability in the organic SERPs.
As a niche artist, ranking for “artist” is unlikely to result in any real sales for your product, and even if it does, the likelihood you gain positive ROI from your link building efforts is almost zero. Similarly, people looking for local sandwiches are unlikely to ever make it past the local listings, making on-page optimization and link building largely a wasted effort.
To be more specific, the exact types of business that can almost completely ignore SEO without much loss are “one keyword locals”. If your business is specific to a certain region and only has one descriptive keyword to describe it, such as “Los Angeles restaurant”, “San Francisco Sitar Player”, “Atlanta sandwich shop”, your company will not lose much completely ignoring SEO. When I say “one keyword”, I mean one keyword that can be regionally flipped or drawn out into one or two long-tail variations (such as Los Angeles Chinese restaurant or Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles).
However, these companies should not ignore the social world – there are opportunities in going viral, getting your business locally listed, and setting up Twitter and Facebook accounts to talk to your customers. Supply enough local citations and throw in one decent title tag on your website and you’ll have a great chance of ranking strongly for this singular keyword, whether short-tail or long-tail. Otherwise, get creative and find ways to spread your art and connect more specifically on the internet with your targeted audience – an audience that won’t know how to search for you.
This differs from those companies that might be local, but have enough keywords to make a decently optimized website worthwhile. Dentists are a good example of this, as they have several services such as general dentistry, veneers, and teeth whitening for their clients, all of which are being searched for separately.
Depending on the size of your target market, these types of companies may be able to turn out great rankings with a SEO Site Audit alone. As it comes to link building, though, most of these companies are more than capable of completely ignoring it without missing out on too much ROI. Done incorrectly, link building efforts in these borderline niches will end up in negative returns for said businesses.
Don’t Misinterpret this Message
My intention here is not to say “ignore internet marketing entirely”. Rather, I’m stating that certain websites viability in the link building/on-page optimization world is so marginal that participating would have to be done “for fun” rather than as a viable business opportunity to really be worth your time/offer positive ROI for your website.
Almost all businesses have a need to start participating socially and ensure their local listings are properly set up. However, they don’t have a need to start wasting their time and money in places it shouldn’t be allocated.