Does SEO matter to your business? Maybe.
Is SEO a great ideation tool? Definitely. It is without question an indispensable market research tool; keyword research is a method of understanding your buyer that complements surveys, interviews and other forms of research. What a great ideation tool for a content strategy.
SEO research, however, is not the same thing as investing in optimizing your content for search, which ultimately involves attempting to reverse engineer the world’s most valuable trade secret – the Google search algorithm. Which is now partially created dynamically through AI (Google RankBrain).
But I’m going to save that for another email.
Today I’m going to focus on why maybe SEO makes sense for your firm.
And reemphasize here that I’m addressing smaller, niche firms that creative impact with software and/or creative and technical expertise. Because that hugely impact the answer to the question of whether SEO matters.
When I co-ran my own niche tech consultancy, my clients were large nonprofits, agencies, and universities. SEO mattered immensely. To this day, online learning startups like Coursera and Udemy and are dramatically outperforming universities on the SEO side of course promotion. (Looking for an SEO specialization? Become an expert in course marketing for traditional higher ed – I’ll help you land your first client just for fun.)
And SEO matters to any nonprofit which uses content marketing to attract new supporters.
That’s partly because a structured content marketing is a given.
About that… content marketing. Because this is where it starts to matter whether for niche B2B expertise firms. And this is where the maybe comes in.
Here are the questions to answer that will get you from maybe to a yes or a no.
- Do you have a content creation practice? Not do you sometimes create content, but do you have a practice? Something with structure to it that sees you regularly publish content.
- Do you the owner – or one of your key, permanent staff members – create your content? It is remarkable to me that business owners still try to game Google buy hiring people without expertise and authorty in the business to produce content. It has been lightyears in SEO land since that work, yet go on the freelance platforms like Upwork and Fiverr and you’ll find thousands of business owners of small B2B forms throwing their money into the trash by hiring content producers. That only works if you *really* know what you’re doing – and you have a mass audience.
- Do you create content about as narrow an area of subject matter as possible? Because that’s what your audience values and Google or its AI know this.
- Does your content always have enough value to be shared by some of your readers some of the time?
And one last trick question – do you publish content frequently? Because don’t worry about that. It doesn’t matter whether you publish frequently.
If you answered yes to the non-trick questions, then you should invest in SEO. To call it an accelerant is an understatement.
You could make the case for investing pre-emptively – you think you’re going to launch a content creation practice, so you invest in the SEO research that partially informs set your content strategy.
But that’s cart before the horse. Think of it this way – getting to play with SEO is your reward for doing the work of designing and executing your own content publishing practice.