Analytics & TestingContent MarketingSearch Marketing

Most of the SEO Industry is Backwards

I’m listening to a webinar right now on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and it’s got me irritated. The first metric discussed in the webinar is a discussion of how many links a strategy produced, and the volumes of the keywords that were deployed in the strategy.


No discussion of conversions. No discussion of relevance. No discussion of audience. No discussion of promotion. The discussion is simply how you can throw crap out there and try to get as many links as you can from any resource to drive up rank on some highly competitive keywords. Why don’t you just tattoo your logo on someone’s butt and throw it on YouTube? You’ll get plenty of irrelevant traffic that way, too… and it will probably cost less.

We’ve gotten so far in digital marketing yet we always fall back to crap tactics. The age-old strategy of more eyeballs continues to plague marketers. The myth is that you should be attracting everyone to your site… and within that group you’ll find someone. Over and over we see the strategy fail, yet marketers almost always go back to it. More eyeballs is synonymous with more business.

It’s not true. And it’s why companies should invest in inbound marketing over SEO.

I’m still amazed at the number of people that sell themselves SEO experts but don’t even care how online visitors are converted into customers. Before they ever speak to the client, they look up the rankings, go find all the high volume keywords, and throw them an expensive quote on how they’re going to attack it. It’s a terrible approach and it’s completely backwards.

If you’re an established brand online, you already have data on where your business is coming from online. Notice I didn’t say where your traffic is coming from. I said where your business is coming from. That means that reviewing your analytics for events, goals and conversions that lead a prospect to your brand and drive them into becoming a customer.

Most of the traffic you get isn’t in that segment… so why would you care that you’re getting more visits from visitors who will never do business with you? Sure, some of those folks will share your information with other people – that’s a great thing. But that only happens when you share relevant content with the right audiences.

If you’re working on search engine optimization, you need to start by identifying the keywords that drive results… then work backwards. Do you have intermediate ranking on relative keywords to the ones that are driving your sales? Start by optimizing those pages for those keywords so that your sales will increase. Typically, these are longer-tail and not that difficult to work on.

Now you’ll be driving business results rather than eyeballs and your SEO efforts will pay off.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is CMO of OpenINSIGHTS and the founder of the Martech Zone. Douglas has helped dozens of successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to assist companies in implementing and automating their sales and marketing strategies. Douglas is an internationally recognized digital transformation and MarTech expert and speaker. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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