Sadly, there are a number of shady practitioners out there who will attempt to take your good money by promising virtually impossible-to-achieve results from search engine optimization (SEO). Worse, they would lead you to believe that their magical methods will succeed with virtually no effort on your part, as a B2B client firm.
Folks, I’ve been at this for roughly a decade now, in both B2C and B2B environments and on both client and agency sides …which I think qualifies me to tell you “it ain’t necessarily so”; and in fact, it necessarily ain’t so. The fact is that while SEO can surely bring substantial benefit to your B2B’s online marketing program, its capabilities are not unlimited; and the process will require significant effort on your part (although some of that may be outsource-able).
Top 10 Harsh Realities of SEO
Based on that extensive experience, then, here are my top 10 SEO “harsh realities”:
- Reality #1: B2B marketing is about leads. It’s all about the leads, and you need them right away …and continuously, forever.
- Reality #2: B2B marketers need new buyers (continuously & forever). How better to find new buyers than via the most powerful, pervasive Internet company… Google!
- Reality #3: Far too many B2B marketers believe that SEO is going to be a game-changing tactic in their marketing strategy.
- Reality #4: Truly game-changing SEO is about a massive content and back-link development effort …which far too few marketers are willing to commit to.
- Reality #5: Even game-changing SEO takes months to implement and to produce substantial search engine keyword traffic (new leads & buyers).
- Reality #6: Too many B2B marketers don’t want either to engage in a back-link building effort, or to pay for one (because when outsourced, it’s expensive). And content development requires lots of stamina, and significant hours …potentially from lots of people around the organization.
- Reality #7: See Reality #1.
- Reality #8: Pay Per Click (PPC), or paid search advertising, is one of the most proven, cost effective, and quick to implement vehicles for lead generation available. Done correctly, it can truly be a game changer.
- Reality #9: Too many B2B marketers still believe that their buyers don’t click on “those ads”, or that those ads are for other marketers – even when they can see that those ads are for their competitors’ products/services.
- Reality #10 (Yes, I know it’s harsh …sorry!): Are you really willing to risk your job by having to explain to the CEO why your lead pipeline isn’t full??
- SEO is hard: done right, it takes significant time to bring results; and it demands dogged determination and discipline, which are in short supply in most organizations. Despite their sales pitch, your SEO provider can’t just “sprinkle on some magic pixie dust” to make up for the critical elements that you fail to do.
- PPC is easy: it only takes money; and done right, should return that investment in spades. It’s what to do till the (SEO) doctor comes …and – assuming that it’s more than paying for itself, as it should – even long after.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t bother with SEO; you should, and you should try your hardest to get it right. But what you should never, ever do is depend on a half-hearted SEO effort to deliver on your company’s lead-generation requirements.