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Posted by Kyle on Nov 29, 2011 under ,

You’ve probably heard of SEO.  It's a marketing proposition that's hard to ignore, usually because everyone’s trying to sell it to you in one form or another.  To be clear, SEO can be incredibly powerful, incredibly effective, and give an incredible ROI on your marketing dollars.  But there’s a caveat.

As good as SEO is, it can often be a complete waste of money.

Any SEO company that promises you increased sales and a positive return on your investment as a direct result of their SEO services is not telling the full truth.  This is because increasing sales is not something SEO can do on its own.  SEO is just half of the equation.  The other half is having a website that sells.

It’s no secret that visitors leave web pages very rapidly when they don’t immediately find what they’re looking for.   This is most true in the context of search traffic.  Search users intuitively understand that there are nine other sites waiting on the first page of results, which means they aren’t likely to stick around trying to figure out what you sell or how to purchase it if you don’t immediately capture their full attention.

If your website is ranked in first place on Google for a potent keyword, and you have a strong, compelling title tag, there’s a good chance that everyone who searches that keyword will visit your site.  Most searchers at least click the first result, even if they choose to continue their search further down the page.

But once the searcher has reached your site, what then?  Your site better be compelling enough to make the SEO worth it.

Your website needs to engage and convert visitors.  If your website is unable to do this effectively, don't bother bringing in visitors.  It's a waste of money.

Is your website more interesting than your competitors' websites?  More valuable to the people who visit it?  If not, reconsider your SEO marketing spend, and consider putting that money toward a better website.