I’ve taught four classes at CreativeLive and each time I’ve gotten questions about SEO which stands for Search Engine Optimization.
It’s basically how you rank when someone searches for you or businesses like you on a search engine such as Google.
Let’s say you’re a modern jewelry designer. If someone pulls up Google and searches for ‘modern sterling silver necklaces,’ your search engine ranking determines if she’ll see your shop listed on the first few pages of results.
People always want to know how to rank higher—how to be found when people search for keywords that relate to their businesses.
When I get questions on SEO, I always say the same thing:
I don’t pay much attention to SEO. I use two plug-ins to do the job for me: Scribe by Copyblogger (which is no longer available for purchase) and the All In One SEO Pack (which is a free plug-in with WordPress).
And, if I’m being honest, half the time, I don’t even plug in the necessary information for these plug-ins to work for me.
I know….bad blogger.
But here’s the thing: SEO doesn’t really impact my business much.
As long as people can find me when they search for my name or the name of my business, I’m good.
You might wonder why I don’t put much effort into SEO. Some might say that I’m losing out on lots of potential business, because I’m not trying to rank higher. I disagree.
My Top Three Reasons for Not Giving an Owl’s Hoot About SEO
1. It’s not how my most loyal customers find me.
If you’re a long-time reader of Blacksburg Belle or have bought from me more than once, you probably didn’t find me by searching for “marketing” or “productivity” or other keyword phrases on Google.
Through the years, I’ve realized that the people who stick with me don’t find me by accidentally landing on my website when they search for something on Google. Those people tend to read the blog post they came for and then leave.
As entrepreneurs, our greatest resource is time. If we waste it on stuff that doesn’t really help our businesses, we’re limiting our own success.
I know that only a tiny percent of my loyal blog readers and customers find me through SEO so why would I waste time on it when I could devote that same time to teaching another course at CreativeLive or answering interview questions for another blogger?
2. I don’t want to sound robotic.
We’ve all read blog posts that were written for SEO purposes and they sound kind of robotic. You see the same phrase being used over and over.
That’s not my style.
People aren’t going to stick around to read my blog posts and sign up for my emails if they don’t connect to my writing. And, I can’t write with personality when I’m focused on SEO.
When people buy from me, it’s usually because they find me through one of the avenues I mentioned previously and then they spend lots of time reading my past blog posts.
I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received from readers who say something like, “I just spent the past eight hours reading all of your blog posts and taking over twenty pages of notes. I needed even more so I just bought your _____________.”
Those people wouldn’t enjoy my blog posts as much if I were so focused on SEO instead of personality and they probably wouldn’t get sucked into my blog for hours upon hours.
Also, hiring a business consultant is very personal. If I want my business to be successful, I need to do a really good job of sharing my strengths and showing potential clients who I am and how I can help them.
The majority of people who come to my site from search engines aren’t going to be the right fit. But, if someone watches my online course for five hours and then checks out my website and signs up for my emails, she’s probably the exact right fit.
3. My keywords and phrases are highly competitive.
The topics that I help people with (marketing, productivity, blogging) have so much competition that I don’t want to play the ‘what can I do to squirrel my way to the top’ game. It’s not worth my time and even if I tried, I’ll probably never beat out the biggest names vying for the top listings.
Who Should Join the ‘I-Don’t-Care-About-SEO’ Bandwagon
If you’re a service-based business like me or a product-based business with a ton of competition, SEO probably won’t do much for your business.
I recently worked with a jewelry designer who used to make a living from people finding her when searching the web, but in the past few years, the competition has grown so much that SEO no longer does much for her business.
Email marketing, social media, interviews and features will be much more effective in getting the right people on your website and getting them to buy.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put in a little effort when it comes to SEO, but a plug-in or two could do the trick for you.
Who Should Focus Marketing Time on SEO
SEO isn’t evil. And, even though it doesn’t do much for my business, it might for yours.
If your business is location-based (like a wedding photographer in the Orlando area) or is a very specific niche product-based business (like handmade ceramic animal planters), you should pay attention to SEO.
If you’re a wedding photographer in Orlando, you want people to see your website pop up when they search for “wedding photographer in Orlando” or else you’re going to lose out on a lot of business.
These types of businesses need to learn how to use SEO to get their businesses in front of potential customers.
Interested In Learning More?
If you’re interested in learning more about SEO, I’m not the person to help you. But, I can research, so I’ve compiled some resources that will get you started.