03 Nov

Don't Place All Your Bets on SEO

Business owners and marketing executives tend to think of Internet marketing and search engine optimization as going hand-in-hand. There are other ways to bring new visitors to your website. In fact, your company might be better off being less dependent on Google and the other search engines than it is right now.

To understand why, here are three reasons not to depend on SEO as your only source of new customers on the Internet:

#1 Algorithm Changes Can Wreak Havoc with Your Traffic

In the same way that commercial fishermen catch things like tires and soda cans in their nets, Google often punishes good marketers (unintentionally) with successive algorithm updates. That means that, even if you’re careful and always do things ethically, future search engine changes could wreak havoc with your business.

All it takes is one line of code being altered on Google servers and you could suddenly find that no one can find your website in search listings anymore. That’s an unusual event, but it’s scary and significant enough to warrant your concern. The fact of the matter is, Google frequently — and recently has— changes how search results work. This can leave you out of search results or worse, chasing your tail trying to maintain search rank.

#2 New Business Models Are Threatening Traditional Search Engine Business

A lot of marketers take it as a given that Google will always be around, and always be the market leader. That’s not necessarily something to bank on. To understand why, just remember that AOL, Altavista, and Netscape were all once undisputed market leaders at one point or another. And, they virtually disappeared in just a few years when something better came along.

Google has a tight grip on many different markets now, but new business models (like subscription-based paid search engines) are gaining steam. Part of this has to do with the desire of searchers to try something different, and some of it revolves around a frustration with Google’s privacy and advertising policies.

The bottom line is that Google is on top now, but that dominance will not last forever. Remember AOL? Yahoo?

#3 Too much focus on SEO can overshadow other opportunities

Even if you assume that Google won’t run into any major competition for years, and that you aren’t likely to be affected too much by future search algorithm changes, there is still another reason to diversify: some customers simply prefer to use social media, email, or even print advertising.

If you focus is only on search engine optimization, you could miss out on other efficient and profitable opportunities elsewhere. That’s never good business, regardless of how many leads or sales you’re getting from search engines every day. There should be a balanced approach across many media for lead generation and marketing communication.

We’re certainly not telling you to ignore search engine optimization. On-going SEO strategy program is an important part of a web site maintenance. Google currently processes more than 2 billion requests every day on its own, and no good web designer or Internet marketing firm would advise you to miss out on that traffic.

At the same time, remember that Google’s search listings aren’t your only option for bringing visitors to your website. Don’t forget that you can use other tools at your disposal to grow your business… sometimes more profitably and efficiently.

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