Monthly Archive for August, 2010

Is Search Engine Optimization Always a “Must-Do”?

I’m finally on the road to recovery from my surgery and catching up on a lot of reading.

Econsultancy had an interesting blog post a couple of weeks ago about the levels of search engine optimization for SME (small and medium-sized business) websites in the UK. They found that 60% of SME marketers are not currently investing in SEO.

Among Econsultancy’s statistics on this:

  • 20% of marketers know about SEO, but choose not to allocate any budget for it.

They also comment:
“These businesses should be looking to correct this as, implemented well, SEO has the potential to be a very important and cost-effective sales channel. Also, competitors that have invested time or money in SEO may be gaining an advantage.”

(Note: to keep my posting reasonably brief, I’m quoting a very small segment – for the full viewpoint, please read the complete article).

Strong words – but I’m wondering about the makeup of the businesses in the sample. The author seems to imply that all SME’s would benefit from better search engine placement. I’m not sure that’s true.

In my presentations to Vistage SME CEO groups within the US, I’ve met, for example:

  • businesses who are so niched that they know all of their potential customers, and the market knows of them;
  • businesses who do all or almost all of their work for government agencies, so marketing is a very different ballgame;
  • businesses who don’t want to be found by the general public due to security concerns – either their work is classified, or their operations might invite protests or attacks (one of my recent groups included a company which provides animal testing for drug development).

In my experience, search engine traffic can also produce widely differing qualities of visitors, depending on the products or services being offered. I’ve never found it especially helpful for professional service firms (content marketing is much more powerful for folks selling expertise), but it’s great for selling yo-yo’s!

So if your business is one of those mentioned in the report, or if it would have been if you were UK-based, before you take this rebuke to heart, I’d revisit your marketing strategy, desired markets, and known business constraints. Perhaps you are one of the few for whom search engine optimization is justifiably not a priority.