OK. So you know that if you have a website, you need SEO, right?
This is something I’ve talked about since before I’ve had this podcast.
If you have a website, there’s no two ways about it, you need SEO.
The push-back I often get to this is from folks that have a website that already performs well, organically, even though they haven’t invested in the SEO channel.
So, if you have a huge website, that’s not optimised but still generates tons of traffic a month, consistently, do you still need SEO?
Let’s delve into this…
When you have your website up and running, you’ll be in position to generate traffic from SEO. This is the great thing about SEO. You benefit from it even when you haven’t invested in it.
This is the case with every website, the default.
Most websites only have SEO onboarded after the site is live and have started to gain traction, organically.
It’s then that SEOs are brought in to scale up. To improve. To optimise.
Now, you may be thinking… if I’m receiving a certain amount of traffic a month from organic, investing in SEO will lead to an increase of the status quo.
Well, potentially, yes. But this may not be the case. And I’ll explain why in a moment.
You see, whilst you may have been receiving organic traffic without an optimised site, it may not have been targeted traffic.
And this is key in SEO – targeted traffic. You’ll want to purposefully acquire the traffic you seek, i.e. the audience you seek, strategically, and not as a side effect from other activities you carry out – and in this case, I’m including the fact that you have a site as a part of the ‘other activities’ I’m talking about.
So, regardless of the amount of traffic you already acquire without having invested in SEO, you’ll still need to invest in the channel to ensure you are driving the acquisition, as opposed to simply receiving it.
This is why there is a difference between the keywords you rank for and the keywords you target.
Ranking for keywords is good.
If you have a website, you will always rank for keywords.
It’s the ranking for the keywords that you target that really matters.
Without actively taking control of the traffic you receive via organic search, you may continue to acquire traffic but I’d suggest your conversion rate will always be stifled.
Something else you’ll want to bear in mind is that, without actively taking charge of your SEO, you’ll be at the mercy of search engines.
This source of traffic could be wiped away with a single algorithm change.
If you were unfortunate to be in this position, you’ll be behind the 8-ball, and it will likely take years before you reach parity, yet alone, go beyond.
If you took charge of your SEO, you’ll be in a much better position to respond quickly to algorithm changes, if you’re hit by them.
Now, something you may be concerned about is the fact that, in trying to fix what’s not broken, you could end up losing the traffic volumes you currently receive when you go-about optimising your site.
This is a risk that absolutely should be considered.
If you’re already doing well with your SEO, inadvertently, and then purposefully aim to improve it, with the awareness that you may worsen the status quo, how do you go-about making improvements without detrimentally affecting your current traffic levels…?
You take it slow.
Rather than completely revolutionising your SEO, you aim to make small incremental changes, thereby, evolving your SEO.
This is a situation where you have to be pragmatic with your approach.
Having and following SEO best practices is great.
It’s the ideal approach to take.
But this isn’t necessarily the reality of most websites.
Ideally, SEO would be engaged with at the inception phase of a website.
In reality, SEO is engaged with after a site is already live and acquiring traffic.
Ideally, a website attracting huge volumes of traffic per month would be doing so from strategic optimisation.
In reality, SEO has to maintain this whilst aiming to acquire more, strategically.
The reality of SEO is that you may not have the luxury of putting best practices in place because you have commercial goals that you have to reach. To hit, right?
The bigger your site and the more traffic you already attain with it, the more you have to concern about the risk assessment of your site.
Why? Because, frankly, any change you implement could, in itself, be a risk to your site.
It may better your SEO but worsen your traffic.
And because SEO isn’t for SEO purposes, only, this wouldn’t be the thing to do.
SEO should always be aligned with the commercial agenda of your business.
If it means making improvements with small, risk-conscious, steps, so be it.
SEO is all about improvements.
No matter how big or small the increment, as long as you’re making improvements, you’ll be doing well with your SEO.
What small adjustments means, in reality, is instead of optimising your entire site in one shot, you break it down.
You identify the different areas of your site that are commercially viable. If you’re in ecommerce, this could be the different products on your site.
Tier them. You can use whichever tiering system you want, just have tiers in place so you can be more strategic with your SEO.
Having risk assessment top of mind, you can plan your SEO without putting the site at risk with too many organic visibility-affecting changes.
And changes that are implemented all at the same time.
What you’ll certainly not want to do is leave it to Google, and/or other search engines, to dictate the traffic you receive.
Your SEO traffic acquisition is something you absolutely should own.