Search Engine Optimization is often touted by Pittsburgh SEO agencies, and agencies globally, as the solution for your online failings.
"Not seeing the sales you'd like or the volume of leads you need? SEO is the answer. We can get your site to Google's first page, send boatloads of traffic your way, and your sales will grow like crazy."
Sometimes the promises are clearly ridiculous, sometimes they're more realistic. Sometimes the promises are even fulfilled.
But let's get real in this post, will search engine optimization solve your business issues? No, not alone.
But GuavaBox Is a Pittsburgh SEO Agency, Right?
We've done SEO for years, we're an agency, and we're located in the Pittsburgh area. No, we're not a Pittsburgh SEO agency.
We are an inbound marketing agency, aimed at closing the loop and finishing the job that search engine optimization started.
So, What's the Dirty Secret of SEO?
The dirty lie told by most SEO agencies is that search engine optimization is the only component you need.
Insert cash into the agency for keyword optimization and PPC and, voila, out comes 10x revenue on the other side. That's not how it works and you know it. Even if you're still paying for it, you know it.
The dirty secret is that keywords don't sell anything.
Keywords help you get found, but getting visitors to your website and greeting them with unhelpful content and information they don't care about is not a recipe for revenue growth. It's a recipe for a bounce rate - visitors who disappear as quickly as they came.
The second dirty secret is that the tactics that some SEO agencies use to achieve search ranking success may not only be unsustainable, they may also damage your website's reputation in the long run. JC Penney got punished heavily by search engines for shady optimization work, as highlighted by the New York Times.
So Skip SEO and Go Back to Trade Shows, Magazines, and PPC?
No! Search engine optimization is great, but it can't stand alone.
Organic traffic growth through SEO can be very successful, but that's only attracting traffic. You still need to convert leads and close customers to see the revenue growth you want.
I'm definitely not saying that SEO doesn't work or isn't a critical component to online business growth. I am saying that you won't succeed if it's the only part of the picture that gets your attention.
So Search Engine Optimization Is a Good Thing?
Yes! It's tremendously valuable, but needs the inbound marketing ecosystem around it to actually convert visitors to sales.
The pitfall is when you spend all your time optimizing meta tags and stuffing keywords, and forget that those are just tools to get found by your target audience. Spend at least as much time worrying about delighting the folks who find you, as attracting those visits in the first place.
Action Step: It's time to start doing SEO plus inbound. It's time to start attracting, converting, closing, and delighting your prospects. Get started by downloading Inbound Marketing 101 (free) and implementing these principles immediately!