SEO Overkill in Internet Marketing
By Arthur Browning
How important is SEO? For some businesses it is crucial, but for not as many as you might think. There are two main reasons this is true: 1) Traffic, clicks, links, content and page rank are overrated by SEO contractors 2) The inferences presented by these SEO statistics are often inaccurate and/or immaterial to the goals of the website.
Like most new industries, SEO, a child of the internet revolution, has been over emphasized, it is in a state of constant change, it is too skewed and stilted for real efficacy, and it has been oversold by the industry practitioners, and finally it has been over reported by the media.
SEO has some features reminiscent of the California Gold Rush of 1849. A few guys discovered gold at Sutter's Mill. A few more guys found out about it. A few guys made some money. A lot of more guys wanted into gold prospecting. Many more businesses sprang up to sell prospecting equipment and supplies. Fake reports, maps, deeds, and contracts became a huge spin-off. Criminals and security industries sprang up. Overspending and bankruptcies were a major result.
What businesses profit most from SEO? Businesses with some or all of these characteristics benefit the most: 1) Sales to national or international markets 2) Selling services or products that are easily stored and shipped so that physical location is not a cost factor versus local competitors 3) Companies who are capitalized well enough to meet short term and long term changes in their industries 4) Companies with internet and SEO expertise that is dominant but flexible, and cost-effective.
What businesses profit least from SEO? Businesses with some or all of these characteristics benefit the least: 1) Sales to local markets 2) Selling services or products with major storage and delivery costs, that have poor shelf life or need constant maintenance 3) Companies who do not have enough capital to follow through in their SEO expenditures when short and long term changes and unexpected problems arise 4) Companies without dominant, flexible and cost-effective internet and SEO expertise.
There are two exceptions to these characteristics that come to mind. Notably, the company that holds a monopoly hardly needs SEO expertise. And a company that deals in a niche area that is so exclusive that no one wants to compete with them.
How is it that clicks, traffic, page rank, links, content are overrated by SEO contractors? First and foremost, they are SELLING their services. Secondly, many clicks and traffic are from NONCUSTOMERS. Many clicks and traffic comes from employees, the website owner and webmaster, technicians, SEO experts, the competitors of your business and your technicians and your experts, fraudulent clicks, spammers, bots, AND all the wannabes of all the above categories.
What about content? Content is also oversold. Search Engines are moving to better indicators in their algorithms. The benefits from paying for redundant content generation are nearly over.
What about links and rank? Links are less important everyday and rank is tied to the other oversold SEO factors. The only trustworthy statistics are based on sales and the factors of internet related revenues.
Bottom Line: If your company doesn't meet the criteria for real benefits from SEO then you are wasting time and money on a no-win situation. You would be better off using a multiple media approach to sales - internet presence mixed with traditional forms of advertising and marketing.
About the Author
Arthur Browning began his career teaching technical writing in a small Midwestern university for 15 years. He later edited and published a national professional journal for some ten years. He is now an investor. His interests include art collecting, web marketing, writing.
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