Google Search still drives 51% of the internet traffic but does that necessarily make SEO the sharpest arrow in your quiver?
Over the past few years both SEO and Content Marketing have become ‘must-have tools’ in the arsenal of every self-respecting company. It is seen as the proverbial gift that keeps on giving. To the brand, to its marketing executive, and of course to the SEO agency once a rank of some value is secured on the desired search strings.
The reason is understandable. SEO still clearly rules as the best ROI strategy
And while decidedly lower in terms of ROI on its own, Content marketing is the best know strategy for SEO making both an inseparable part of every marketer checklist for 2018.
But SEO is not a quick hack… not since 2010. It is a long and never-ending endurance marathon that just flags off with a search friendly website.
Unfortunately, given the increasing investment that it is taking to outrank competitors and secure clicks, the return on SEO is not necessarily an upwards curve. It can, in fact, be a steep downward slope after a point which for many comes sooner than they realize. Just contrast the 2 images below.
Most marketers would have viewed some version of the second image which shows decreasing investments as one maintains ranks, increasing ROI over time. But at what point does the ROI become negative as brands pour in money trying to gain visibility for their product in a seemingly endless ocean of SERP modifications and daily algorithmic fluctuations?
Don’t get me wrong. While an integral part of all business planning, the impact of SEO varies across products and even during an individual product’s lifecycle.
Let’s look at why this is so.
SEO success presumes search traffic on which is predicted the entire exercise of keyword rich content creation. But what if you are in an entirely new business with a proposition and value still unknown to most? What if nobody knows your category and is therefore not searching for you?
Unfortunately you don’t have to be a magic lamp to fall into this category. Despite great innovations in mapping user intent to search results, truth is that most brands simply do not know which keywords they would be best off optimizing their content and websites for. Voice and mobile search will complicate this further with rankings being based on a whole new level of triggers than before.
My point is that SEO provides returns up to a point as long as the success parameters are closely aligned with contextual realities. It can be a great leader strategy in many cases as well. Ensuring a great branded keyword plan is always a MUST so that once people hear of you from other non SEO marketing efforts, they can learn more about you. Success on branded long tail keywords can then pave the way for generic keyword success.
In summary, SEO may still be a valuable component of every marketing strategy but we need to take a closer look at what point we are in ROI curve.