Aug
18
2010

Is SEO Enough for Local Business?

I’ve provided Internet Marketing, eBusiness consulting and specifically SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services to small business clients since 1995. So I’m qualified to say that in my 15 years of practice, the number one problem my clients ask me to help them solve more than any other is “more traffic“.

Almost everyone struggles with driving enough traffic to their website. And quite often, my small business clients have already come to the conclusion that they need help with SEO to drive that traffic before we even meet.

So it’s not surprising that companies promoting SEO services to businesses large and small abound everywhere. Driving website traffic is a challenge and an elusive problem to solve. There is clearly a demand for good SEO consultants that actually know what they’re doing.

Unfortunately, I would say that finding a capable and reputable SEO consultant may be as difficult as figuring out how to do SEO yourself. At least that’s what the many clients I’ve worked with over the years tell me. The frustration with SEO is palpable!

All the challenges, struggles and issues with SEO aside, let me share this bit of truth …

 While my local business clients often believe the solution to their problem is simply more traffic, what they really expect to accomplish with more traffic to their website is more leads, more customers, more sales, and more profits.

SEO may help drive more traffic to a website, but without putting attention and focus on website conversion, all the traffic in the world isn’t going to help your local business achieve the results you’re really after.

The preoccupation with only focusing on more traffic is based on the false assumption or misunderstanding that once you jump the number of visitors showing up to your website, the rest will somehow automatically fall into place. We all wish it were this easy, but unfortunately, it just doesn’t work this way.

For many SEO professionals, it may be sufficient to limit the results and solution to “a measurable increase in traffic to the client’s website”, and set expectations accordingly. Then a simple report generated from the website logs showing an increase in traffic is sufficient to validate “solution accomplished“. The SEO consultant has met the deliverables and can expect payment for services rendered.

In my SEO practice, simply driving more traffic has not been sufficient to solve the local business client’s dilemma. To actually drive more leads, customers, sales and profits, invariably I need to step in and help with optimizing the website’s ability to convert traffic.

The truth of the matter, solving the “conversion” problem can actually be more challenging than solving the “traffic” problem. And in the end, a complete solution must integrate traffic and conversions end-to-end.

For this reason, I’ve shifted my SEO practice somewhat over the years. Yes, I still offer pure SEO services to clients that have a need to just focus on SEO and driving traffic. In general, these businesses already have a website that converts traffic to customers reasonably well. In other situations, I’ve already helped the client with conversions, and they simply need me back to help with more traffic.

But for the majority of my local business clients, SEO by itself is simply not enough. The solution needs to be a more comprehensive and complete online marketing strategy that …

  • begins with the critical and “all-important” keyword research
  • includes onpage and offpage SEO for the website
  • combined with cutting edge traffic driving techniques including video and social media marketing
  • integrates the traffic solutions with an effective and measurable conversion system including well-tuned landing pages, prospect database, and email follow-up campaigns

When we put the right end-to-end online marketing solutions together for our local business clients, then the increase in targeted traffic that we can drive to the website will result in better leads, more customers and increased sales and profits.

And that’s what our “Main Street Marketing Power” solutions are all about!

Now, aren’t those the kinds of results you’d like to achieve for your local business?

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3 Responses to “Is SEO Enough for Local Business?”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Caro McCourtie, NewCorridor. NewCorridor said: Is SEO Enough for Local Business? | NewCorridor – http://newcorridor.com/is-seo-enough-for-local-business/ […]

  2. I could not agree with you more regarding the importance of conversion. I have a friend who has a blog and she has 3,000 readers but she has no conversion to clients. I hosted a weekly talk radio show last year and I had 6,000 listeners download my show to itunes and yet the conversion to products was not profitable.

    I also know that intention creates, and my intentions for huge traffic could be blocked by my fear of a problem often referred to as “shooting elephants”.

    If I have a great deal of traffic and they begin ordering online I will be challenged with how to complete those orders in a timely manner since it takes me 2-4 hours to do one report. The reports are only done by me and are very personalized.

    I enjoyed meeting you at the SCORE meeting last night. In speaking with you in person your knowledge and experience is extension. I look forward to more posts and will enjoy your ideas on marketing using social medias.

  3. Pat, thanks for the nice feedback.

    You bring up a valid point that takes the broader end-to-end challenge of traffic+conversions even one step further to include fulfillment. Your process can bottleneck at any point along the series of steps including the fulfillment and delivery of the product. It’s these type of bottlenecks that can prevent your business from being able to scale up.

    Perhaps there may be some ways to leverage a bit of automation to streamline the delivery of your personalized reports. Of course, without losing the personalization which is most likely what interests your customer in the first place. That sounds like an interesting problem to solve ;-)

    Appreciate your comments …

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