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Is SEO the Silver Bullet for Your Marketing?

Is SEO the Silver Bullet for Your Marketing?

Written by enCOMPASS Agency

During the early days of the Internet, many business owners underestimated the long-term significance of search engine optimization (SEO). Today, it’s possible that the pendulum has swung a bit too far in the opposite direction.

Make no mistake: SEO is vital for any business looking to boost its prominence on the Web, and to more easily connect with local customers. However, many business owners have come to think of SEO as an all-in-one lead and sales generator. That’s not entirely accurate.

In reality, SEO is all about increasing your brand’s visibility on search engine results pages, plain and simple. In doing so, you may also see an increase in leads and ultimately in sales. But all of this is dependent on putting SEO in its right place, regarding it not as a “silver bullet,” but rather as one critical component of your larger marketing strategy.

To put it another way: If your business is looking to increase leads to boost revenues, SEO may be one good place to invest additional resources or greater strategic focus. But you might also need to invest in things like PPC or social media. And most of the time, marketing success is going to come from having all of these elements properly balanced.

SEO and Your Broader Strategy

When we talk about having a marketing strategy, what exactly do we mean? To put it most simply, a marketing strategy involves goals or objectives that you hope to achieve, as well as some concrete steps you’ll take to achieve them. More specifically, a marketing strategy is the plan you use to reach and attract your ideal customer, with the ultimate goal of selling them your product or service.

There are any number of assets you might use to fulfill your marketing strategy, including everything from an email newsletter to your social media channels. Crucially, the assets used by one company may be different from the ones used by another company. For example, TikTok can be essential for fashion brands, or for companies that skew toward a very young demographic, but may make less sense for a company that manufactures industrial parts.

One digital asset that pretty much every company needs is a website. Your website represents what your company is, what it does, and how it makes a difference in the lives of customers. And, it’s the main source where potential customers can find information about your business, its products, and its services.

This is where SEO comes into play. The ultimate goal of SEO is to help your website get discovered by targeted customers. Generally, your targeted customers are going to be people who are looking for an answer or a solution on the Internet; for example, if you own a bike shop, your targeted customers are going to be people who are looking to buy a new bike, to connect with a reliable bike repair shop, or to invest in a good helmet. Of course, geography is also important; if your bike shop is in Charlotte, NC, your target customers are usually going to be local. A shopper in Santa Fe, NM is going to be of less importance to you.

When people want information about something, like the best local bike shop, they typically turn to online search engines like Google and Bing. That’s what SEO is good for: Positioning your website where it is visible and can be easily found by target customers using the search engine.

The Bigger Picture

While SEO is undoubtedly valuable, it’s critical to keep it in its proper context. Remember, SEO is one part of your bigger marketing strategy, which may also include a number of other assets working in tandem.

So, SEO can help you gain an organic placement on the search engine results page. But to gain additional SERP real estate, or to more carefully target users with specific consumer intent, you may need to augment your SEO with search ads or display ads. And to facilitate additional points of contact with customers who find your website but don’t initially make a purchase, retargeting may be worthwhile.

Likewise, there are other marketing methods that may be more useful for maintaining relationships with existing customers, encouraging them to make repeat purchases or to recommend your business to their friends. This is where an email newsletter or a well-curated social media presence can be effective.

Something else that’s important to note is that the rules and expectations for SEO can (and do) change all the time; Google’s algorithms are modified pretty routinely, which means your SEO efforts can be abruptly upended by factors totally outside of your control. Other tactics, like SEM, display advertising, and online video give you much more control over your marketing investment, without the sudden shake-ups that are always lurking in the near future with SEO.

The bottom line? SEO is important for establishing your website as a central information hub, and for connecting with targeted search engine users. And yet, SEO in and of itself is unlikely to help you achieve all your marketing goals. You’ll need something more comprehensive and holistic, a broader marketing strategy that includes SEO as one component among many.

A digital marketing consultant can help you put such a strategy in place. To learn more, feel free to contact our consultants at enCOMPASS Advertising Agency today.