If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the fact that SEO is a must for all businesses that want to become successful. While this is true to a certain extent, it’s worth mentioning here that there are also some exceptions to this rule. SEO works great for some businesses, but not for all of them. In order to understand why, let’s see how search engines work.
Whenever you search for something, you get lots of results, ranked according their relevance to your search query. In some cases, you also get eight sponsored results, four of them in the beginning of the page, and the other four at the end, below the organic results. Although this is the general structure of a results page, in some verticals, Google, as well as the other two major search engines for that matter, displays a row of images, and their own products and services such as flights, hotels and restaurant reviews. All these push the organic results below the fold, rendering SEO ineffective. You can invest a lot of money and effort into ranking for the most lucrative terms in your niche, and yet fail to see the expected results, simply because only 50% of all people searching for that keyword scroll down to see your snippet, and an even smaller percentage actually clicks through to visit your landing page.
In such industries, search engine marketing or social media advertising can be way more effective and more profitable than SEO, so this is the approach you should follow instead of targeting all these highly competitive keywords that don’t bring you the expected ROI.
The other reason why SEO is great for some businesses, but not for others is the target market. If your products or services are aimed at elderly people who don’t have the habit or the means of accessing the internet to search for what they need, ranking among the first in the SERPs may not bring you too many new clients. Before deciding to work with an SEO agency, you have to study and understand your target consumers and their behaviour in relationship to the online environment.
The sooner you do this analysis of your target market, the better. As SEO is a long-term process, you should assess its effectiveness from the very beginning, rather than investing in it for months only to realise it doesn’t work as well as you have estimated. This assessment has to start with taking a closer look at the SERPs for your industry, as well as with in-depth research of your core consumer’s behaviour and shopping habits.
Last but not least, even if you decide SEO isn’t the best choice in your specific niche, you should still keep an eye on the SERPs and on your consumers, because the internet is a rapidly evolving and dynamic industry. What doesn’t work so well today might bring you a fortune tomorrow, so be there to grab this opportunity, should you come across it some day.