SEO Is Not Enough

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It’s always been clear that SEO is not enough. No matter how highly you rank for your target keywords, if people don’t do what you want them to do (i.e. buy something, join your mailing list, or share a link) then your site has failed.

With Google’s recent Farmer update, it’s become especially clear that SEO is an ever-changing avenue. Search engine results fluctuate, competitors change their tactics, and in the end there are no guarantees.

But why would we expect guarantees from the internet?

Ever since people starting selling things, businesses have had to rely on multiple ways of getting their message out. First it was mainly word-of-mouth. Then we came out with printed catalogs, and later TV and radio ads.

There are postcards, bumper stickers, billboards, giveaways bombarding us with ads from every direction. And we still have all those things, plus a whole host of other tactics brought about by the advent of the internet.

So why would we think just one tactic would guarantee ongoing success?

Even SEO companies refuse to rely on SEO alone. SEOmoz, a major provider of SEO software and resources, reports only about a third of their traffic comes from organic search results.

And don’t forget, your website is not the only place you can engage your customers. Neither is the internet. Old-fashioned techniques like hanging a banner and encouraging word-of-mouth referrals still work well.

Whatever tactics you choose, if you put your target audience’s needs first, you’re likely to succeed in all aspects of business, including SEO. From the same SEOmoz article, author Rand Fiskin writes,

“In order to win at SEO, we’re going to need to win at ALL of inbound marketing, and luckily, the side effects are incredibly beneficial, too.”

About The Author

Elaine ShannonElaine Shannon is a web designer and small business owner from Texas. She started out as a graphic designer, taught herself how to make websites, started Alamo Websites with the help of Cricket’s SEO classes, and now enjoys being a mentor at the V7N forums. She believes anyone can learn to be successful on the web — it just takes time, practice, and some good advice.

You can find her web-related articles on the Planning Websites blog. She loves to connect with new friends via TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn.


  1. ElaineElaine03-22-2011

    Hi Elaine, Excellent post. I must admit that in the past I did rely on SEO alone because Cricket’s classes had helped me improved my website so much and as a result I was so busy with my sales that I thought I’d “made it”. But then I began to realize that optimizing my website was just one method to move my business forward and other avenues had to be explored (facebook, blogging). But despite all my own efforts, I always remain truly grateful to my amazing customers who continue to spread the word about my product and post such lovely and complimentary reviews about their new harness and include links to my site. How fantastic is that???!!! I’m the one whose blessed! Elaine (www.childharness.ca)

    • ElaineElaine03-22-2011

      In my first business, I relied on SEO alone too. I sponsored a few events because people went to the website and asked me to, but the business never reached its potential because I was so busy learning SEO.

      Now that I’ve had time to branch out into other subjects like social media, I’m realizing SEO is just the tip of an ever-changing iceberg. Just wanted to share with others, especially in companies who have several people who can take charge and not just one person who’s doing it all.

  2. Amit VermaAmit Verma03-23-2011

    It is also because the competition is going higher & higher now. There are so many good resources to make SEO friendly website in few dollars. People can also find low-cost SEO services.

    And somehow, SEO is changing its shape now. We have to include SMO and SMM activities to get the best on the world wide web.

  3. KaiKai03-23-2011

    I think that there are a couple of things coming fairly soon – social networking is breifly going to turn into ‘popularity contest’ and then the dust will settle and those of us putting in serious work will be rewarded.
    Both of the areas I work in full time is ‘loudest noise’ marketing – publishing and selling books puts me in the position that I have to do more social media than SEO – there’s a couple of teeny areas where SEO counts, but being an author works, mostly, on reputation, which is more closely tied to social media. Same, really, with copywriting, though I can use SEO more for that.
    I’m really looking forward to the day though when things actually settle down and the signal to noise ratio balances out and we’re looking at spam being self-limiting. Long way off but I can dream ;)

  4. KarenKaren03-23-2011

    Well said everyone! My business grew through traditional marketing before the internet and it remains the mainstay. Lucky me! I fell in with y’all and learned great stuff on internet marketing. I’ve avoided some mistakes for sure. In my opinion? Small biz owners must do both traditional and internet marketing. And, I’ve been able to share your basics with my clients and save them time and money. Great stuff from Elaine, Elaine and Kai. You keep us on our toes!

  5. Yeah I agree with the author, these days there is no guarantee that doing the best SEO would give positive results. It is a competitive world out there, there are still businesses who finds success just by doing advertisement on newspapers or just hanging a big banner., other give flyers or go from house to house providing free samples of their products (talk about PR).

  6. CricketCricket03-25-2011

    SEO is just one piece of the massive puzzle. :)

  7. joe blowjoe blow04-25-2011

    Hi There,

    I went to Alamo Websites, but your portfolio page is blank?

    Joe

  8. JerrickJerrick05-04-2011

    TO be a good marketer , ofcourse you need to think other way to get traffic other than SEO. You may look for affiliate marketing, social network marketing and so on to help you get traffic. Try Google Adwords as well.
    Do not focus too much on SEO.
    A online business able to survive without doing any SEO.

  9. Akash KumarAkash Kumar07-10-2011

    I think SEO is about how you can make your site a better place, to me its not only on-page optimization and link building but it is much beyond that. But quality content is what everyone is looking for even the search engines, as far as one does that no need to worry about the other things. If you provide what people would love to have people would come running to you.

  10. Gary HamiltonGary Hamilton10-14-2011

    Great post! I think the feeling is mutual. Most of us rely on SEO much since we thought that we need our site to be on top and should in turn to have much traffic as well. But only to find-out that you are not alone aiming that as well and realize that doing SEO is really not enough. Should resort to other sources as well like the social media, and mainly consistent quality contents on your site that people would love to keep them coming back.

  11. This is tremendous post and I completely agreed with Elaine Shannon. I would to recommend everyone that SEO in not more for your business along side needs SMO (social media optimization), VMO (Video Media Optimization) SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and Affiliate Marketing.

  12. SEO EstudioSEO Estudio11-08-2012

    Good points. Indeed the SEO alone is not enough. We must be aware and learn techniques necessary to help make our site better ranking organic results.

  13. Troy DegarnhamTroy Degarnham11-15-2012

    That is the issue with businesses these days. They depend greatly on technology and trust it fully without carefully looking into its pros and cons. Focusing on SEO alone poses a great competition as that is the main platform that businesses are turning to as their top marketing strategy choice. It’s not wrong to use it but it’s important to always complement it with other modes of marketing including traditional ones that many thought are outdated.

  14. JoeJoe01-05-2013

    For those of us in Seo 2012 was definitely a reality check. As many of you have mentioned here a successful business is increasingly dependent upon a whole host of different factors.

  15. Bradley JohnsonBradley Johnson06-03-2013

    Relying on SEO alone would be kinda suicidal because it’s not a sure way and a guarantee that you will get the desired results. Relying on SEO only means that you are restricting your online business model from reaching it’s potential and bringing back the desired results. It’s good to try out other methods like social media marketing because here you can get a lot of traffic and referrals from satisfied customers. Also the fact that many people spend a lot of time on social media means that this is a great place to invest in. Also using the traditional and basic methods of marketing will always make the big difference.

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