1. None of your sales come from your website.
I have a friend who is a pediatric cardiologist. A while back he asked me if there was anything I could do for his website. I did some quick Google searches and his practice was ranking number one for most of his target keywords (there aren’t that many pediatric cardiologists in Austin ;). I asked him “do any of your patients ever say they found you on Google or through your website?”. His answer was “no”. His patients find his practice through referrals from other doctors. Let’s face it, most people aren’t going to choose a heart doctor for their child based on a Google search.
This scenario plays out across a large variety of businesses including specialized products and services where direct sales channels drive the majority of customer interest. For example, if you need a device to measure directional drilling for your oil rig, you’re not likely to fire up Google and start searching. You’re going to ask colleges, vendors or other trusted sources to find a solution to your problem.
For businesses offering specialized services and products where the very nature of your product dictates that people are unlikely to use search engines to find you, it’s time to abandon your SEO efforts. Start a small Adwords campaign focusing on exact and phrase match keywords specific to your service or products. Don’t sweat keeping up with algo changes, creating content and building back links. Capture the scant search traffic through PPC and spend the rest of your time focusing on sales channels that actually generate revenue.
2. You have a limited budget.
I guess this is a bit of a PPC / SEO purist issue, but if a client has a limited budget and needs results quickly, I typically advise them to abandon SEO and focus on PPC.
Sites with a lot of structural and code errors can be expensive to optimize for search engines and results can take weeks or months. If you have a working website and a limited budget, dump your SEO campaign and focus your spending on PPC. With ROI managed PPC you can start getting leads today without having to wait around for your site to start ranking well for organic searches.
3. You have limited time.
If you have limited time to dedicate to online marketing efforts, spend your time generating traffic through PPC or affiliate channels.
Set your bidding and offer strategies so that you don’t exceed your target cost per acquisition. If you’re forced to choose between strategies, go with a strategy that can generate traffic right away so you can fine tune your offer and turn your online marketing into a cash machine ASAP.
When you strike it rich and hire an assistant, then dedicate some time to SEO.
4. Your website has been banned.
Starting up that link building bot and buying links from seedypaidlinks.com seemed like a good idea at the time, but now Matt Cutts has found you out and has banned you from Google forever. Sure you can submit a reinclusion request, but let’s face it, that’s a battle you’re not going to win.
If you you’ve been banned by the major search engines it’s time to abandon your SEO efforts. As a matter of fact it’s probably time to abandon your whole site. This is tough news to hear, but accepting your fate now and moving on will help you regain your traffic that much faster.
So I hope I haven’t angered too many SEOs with my heresy, but when you get down to brass tacks many business owners need to adopt different strategies than we may be used to. If you run your own website, make sure to look at every marketing campaign you launch and make sure you ask yourself is it worth my money, is it worth my time, are there any huge obstacles and will I be able to get good ROI.
Note: Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Pilgrim.