I’m not one to claim that my SEO services can help everyone because clearly some businesses will benefit far more from good rankings than others.
I’ve already looked at why SEO is a good marketing channel for small businesses, but in this article, I’m going to cover some of the signs that indicate which businesses should pursue an SEO strategy and which should disregard this marketing channel altogether.
1. Do People Search For Your Industry Online?
Clearly there is little point in ranking for a local keyword if nobody is actually searching for it so before you do anything, try to work out whether your business type is one that might be sought out online.
The owner of a newsagent, greengrocer or charity shop might find that even a number one ranking in Google would result in almost no new customers through the door. This is because, in general, people are unlikely to search for these things on the internet. They either already know where one is in their local town or they would simply ask a friend or family member.
As a business owner, you can consult various online tools to get an approximation of the number of people searching for your type of business in your particular locality. You can sign up for a free Google Adwords account and use their keyword tool which will show you monthly search volumes on Google.co.uk or you can try one of the alternatives such as SEM Rush or Keyword Spy.
These will give different numbers as can be seen by a search for a term that I myself am trying to rank for: SEO Kent
- Google Adwords – 210
- SEM Rush – 320
- Keyword Spy – 720
(numbers reflect the amount of searches taking place on Google UK each month)
2. How Much Is A Customer Worth To You?
With all the will in the world, even if you manage to appear top for a relevant, local search phrase and you get visits to your website and even new customers walking through the door, it may not be worth the effort or money.
Consider an independent pound shop on the high street of a normal town. Chances are they have very small margins and need a constant stream of people through the doors to stay afloat. Even if 25 people a month found this shop via an online search and the average lifetime value of a customer was £5 in profit (which is highly unlikely when each item probably only makes a few pence), that would be only £125 a month in extra lifetime profit for the business. What’s more, not all of this profit would come in one go, but rather stretched out over the course of years even.
Now consider a solicitor in the same town who offers will writing services. He might charge £200 to write up a simple will (and more for a complex one) so those same 25 customers would be worth an extra £5000 a month to him. What’s more, this is revenue that comes in straight away as you pay for a will upfront.
So the moral of the story here is that businesses with high value goods or services such as solicitors, estate agents, funeral directors, sellers of luxury furniture or electronics, and travel agents are those that will receive greater returns for their investment in SEO.
3. Do You Have A Good Reputation?
In the digital age, it is possible for anyone to review the service they received from a business and if you suffer from poor ratings from previous customers, it might be difficult to overcome.
Even the slightest bit of negative feedback can potentially put a searcher off. Food and drink establishments such restaurants, bars and cafes are among those who are most likely to receive reviews (both good and bad) but even a picture framing shop can be reviewed if it has a Google Maps listing.
So before you bother expending the time, energy and money to achieve a top ranking, ask yourself whether the accompanying reviews will actually help or hinder you. No reviews at all is not something to worry about; only be concerned if there are already negative comments associated with your search engine listing. To appear nowhere on Google when you have bad reviews is almost a blessing in disguise.
Of course, it is possible to turn around a negative star rating by improving your service and asking customers to leave feedback to balance out the previous poor reviews.
So Should You Do SEO?
By asking yourself the 3 questions above, you can work out whether or not SEO is a worthwhile pursuit for your business.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to alter the number of people searching for businesses like yours and it’s not easy for some businesses to suddenly increase their average customer lifetime value (although an ongoing effort should be made to do so) so these two points will be the determining factors in your decision.
If you are unsure, why not ask me and I’ll give you my honest opinion.