Search Engine Optimization is a term that small businesses hear all the time. Simply put, SEO is the series of strategies and tactics used to help websites rank well in search engine result listings. By changing elements of a website’s content, design and more, it is possible to improve its placement in search results.
However, far too many companies see SEO as a silver bullet that will save their company, make them a lot of money, or make their website more effective. What many don’t realize is that SEO is just half the battle. It can be very effective at getting visitors to a website, but it doesn’t mean they will stay on the page or take any kind of action, such as making a purchase or submitting an inquiry. In fact, if not approached properly, SEO can actually negatively affect your business. Here are three main reasons it can be unhelpful to invest in SEO services:
- Keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is the process of inserting popular search terms into the content of a website so many times that it sounds unnatural or is difficult to read or understand. Not only does keyword stuffing negatively affect the user experience, but some search engines may penalize websites that overuse keywords. So, there is a limit to what SEO can accomplish in terms of adding keywords to content. Beware of hiring an SEO company that does not understand the intricacies of the process and that will sacrifice readability and the user experience in favor of additional keywords.
- Brand damage. Search Engine Optimization tactics should be used intentionally and strategically. If not, it could seriously harm a brand’s image. Studies have shown that modern consumers favor brands that feel personal and transparent. This usually means clean, informative and friendly websites that have a bit of personality to them. If a website prioritizes SEO above all else, the resulting content can end up sounding dry, robotic and disingenuous. This will immediately turn off some website visitors and make the company appear less than credible.
- Ignoring the User Experience. By focusing too heavily on how to generate website traffic, some companies ignore the most important part of having a website: engaging with their audience and inspiring them to take action. Even if your website ranks at the top of Google Search results, this will do you no good if your website is confusing, cluttered, or irrelevant.
Search Engine Optimization is an important tool in making your company website effective and generating leads and sales. However, it will do no good in isolation. It needs to be paired with intentional content and design strategies that are based around what your audience wants and needs. There are many companies that offer SEO services, and they are not all created equal. As a small business, your best bet is to hire an SEO team that takes a holistic approach to your website and digital brand identity, so that you are not missing crucial elements that will contribute to the success of your site.