When SEO isn't good for your business

When SEO isn't good for your business
This is an absolutely unrelated image of Batman, used for click bait purposes. Since you are here, reading the article can't hurt you, doesn't?

Some people don't understand SEO. This time, I won't blame the industry for being unable to explain itself clearly, but those expecting a silver bullet to solve all their traffic acquisition problems magically.

Yes, SEO is the best traffic source. It can grow limitlessly, expand the business, and become the main asset of many massive companies. But, you know... there is always a but.

Sometimes SEO isn't what your website or business needs. This list is a summary of cases where you should not be investing in Search Engine Optimization.

Note: Even in this cases, I recommend following the "Basic Corporate SEO good practices" since they can not damage you and perhaps bring a small benefit.

1. Is it an entirely new category of product/service?

If you are creating a new kind of product or service, the most likely scenario is that nobody is actively looking for that. It would help if you had time to allow users and potential customers to understand that this solution already exists.

An example could be "Pocket Fusion Reactor." (As far as I know); there is no such technology in the market, so since nobody is looking for it, you will get no organic traffic.

2. Doesn't it solve a real problem?

Considering the previous example, maybe you can get some traffic if you focus your SEO efforts on problem-solution queries.

"Cheap energy devices" or "Emergency battery" can be examples of case-uses that your new Pocket Fusion Reactor would solve. You will get traffic that (likely) isn't ready to buy (the customer is more in a research phase than a buying one), but at least they will get exposed to your brand and maybe make some awareness to move the snowball starting to roll.

However, it is unlikely to have enough search volume to leverage SEO for a completely new category that does not solve a real problem or need.

3. Ever-changing categories

Products come and go, but in most cases, categories will stand for years. However, I've seen a few examples of small e-commerce websites that sell products for a very short time. It happens when someone buys a lot of stuff in an outlet, or a container coming from China with the latest trending toy, or they find an exciting offer in a bankruptcy sale, and they want to sell all their inventory quickly, but they have no intention of selling the same type of products again.

SEO does not work well with this model since you invest too much time to start selling, and after selling everything, you will get traffic that you cannot monetize (unless you really want to).

4. Unable to generate content

This situation happens often in heavily regulated industries or very complicated ones. Sometimes all published content should be approved by the legal team, or it is so complex that only true experts can create content related to it, and they are too busy to do it. In this case, all good intentions are smashed by an impossible-to-fix workflow where nothing gets published ever.

You can try it out and at least cover the fundamentals of SEO, but without content, it isn't easy to get traffic for anything but branded keywords.

5. Testing a new business

​If you are trying a new line of products and services or want to stress another section of the value chain (such as customer support or logistics), I would not recommend rely on organic traffic.

In summary, the most significant benefits of SEO are in evergreen verticals, with pages that can bring traffic for years. If you do not expect to be in the same business for long, it is wise to try something different than SEO, at least a as main acquisition channel.

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