I have some friends who, as soon as they see the title to this blog post, are going to give me some serious grief.
But… I firmly believe that SEO sucks.
And, if you want to grow your business fast then it’s the last thing that you should be focusing on.
In order to understand why it sucks, we need to start with why it’s so popular.
There are two primary reasons that it’s so popular:
- It has a perception of being free
- It can send some very good traffic
If you’re an internet marketer then those two things are very powerful. Free high quality targeted traffic, it doesn’t come better than that.
However, all is not as it seems.
I would argue both of these perceptions are false, but are continually pushed as being accurate for commercial reasons.
Let’s begin with number one, the most common perception… SEO is free.
Nothing is further from the truth.
SEO, if done properly, takes a long time and a lot of planning.
It’s worth pointing out that most SEO companies out there do not do proper SEO. They use tactics which were effective a number of years ago but are now not just ineffective, they’re potentially harmful to your site and business.
There is the onsite technical SEO setup. This involves getting your site setup properly with keywords, tags, headers, permalinks, sitemaps etc…
Of course, you should always do this and… it takes a few hours to do. But once it’s done then it’s done.
I’ve seen people charging thousands of dollars for a few hours work purely because others didn’t understand how simple it can be to setup your website.
A number of years ago it was possible to beat the search engines, and I believe this is where the easy traffic SEO perception came from.
Back then you could get backlinks on low quality sites and just the sheer quantity of backlinks with your keyword would raise your site in the ranking.
But that doesn’t work anymore.
In fact, if you do that then you’re liable to get a Google slap and be kicked off the search results altogether.
If you want to seriously generate SEO traffic you need to be focusing your efforts on content marketing. Writing high quality content that people actually want to read both on your own blog and others.
Wait a minute…
Isn’t that what you’re doing anyway.
Surely people are going to be visiting your site for the high quality content!
So… you’re actually doing SEO just by doing what you’re doing anyway.
Which means you’re probably wondering what all these SEO companies and plugins do?
They’re trying to beat the system.
The bottom line is that…
Content marketing takes a lot of time to get any serious volumes of traffic.
There’s no way around it.
By trying to beat the system, vendors are trying to provide an approach that will speed this up. The problem is:
- Nobody, outside of Google, knows how the system works
- Google update their algorithms hundreds of times a year
- Google will do what they want with your site
So at the best you’ll get an increase in rankings for a period of time until Google change their algorithm, realise you’ve been trying to beat the system and then remove you from the search altogether.
Is it worth it?
Not when you can just steadily build up your SEO traffic with high quality content, like you’re going to do anyway.
As for the targeted traffic. Yes you can get targeted traffic from SEO, if you’re good at keyword research and writing high quality content without stuffing the keyword throughout it so it looks un-natural.
But again… it takes time.
You can also get high quality traffic by… paying for it.
The most common complaint against using paid traffic is that, well, you have to pay for it.
Yes, you do.
But then work out how many hours you spend trying to beat Google to speed up your rankings.
Then work out how much you would have spent if you’d been paying yourself $20 per hour.
And that’s for results that aren’t guaranteed, you have no control over and can’t scale up instantly.
Put that money and effort towards learning how to make paid traffic profitable for your business and you’re going to be in control of your business rather than hoping Google doesn’t change their algorithm and suddenly drop your ranking.