Yes, I realize the irony of an SEO firm telling you that ranking first in Google and Bing isn’t going to make a difference for your business. Shouldn’t I be shouting the value of rank from the rooftops? Here’s the thing though, while ranking well is important (there are plenty of reports detailing the percentage of clicks the top ten sites get), it isn’t the only thing you should be worrying about. Today’s Internet user is smart; they know that just because a site is ranked first that doesn’t automatically mean it’s the best site for them. 1st ranked sites may get the lion’s share of clicks, but clicks do not automatically equate to conversions.
When it comes to inbound marketing, SEO is only a piece of the puzzle.
In the long run, inbound marketing is really about building trust. Just because you have a website, that doesn’t mean your target audience is going to trust you with their business. Any 15 year old with a computer and a credit card can launch a site on its own domain, write a couple pages of content, incorporate some photos and call themselves a business owner. Does that mean I want to hand my money over to them?
Ranking well in the search engines means you have done a good job with your SEO, but make sure that you aren’t doing anything that could jeopardize your trust factor with your target audience. Black hat SEO tactics will help your site jump in rankings, but those methods don’t usually take the end user into account. A spammy looking website stuffed with keywords might look good to the search engines for a while, but it’ll take any visitor to your site about half a second to realize they don’t want to do business with you.
While your website is a critical component of your online presence, it is only one touch point you have to leverage when building your brand’s trust factor. A business blog, social media profiles, local search profiles, industry association memberships and more are all external touch points that you can use as a way to interact with your target audience. Each of these touch points gives potential customers one more reason to trust you and your brand with their business.
Think of all the times you’ve been a consumer (either in your personal or professional life). How many times did you make a purchase just because someone told you to (and only told you once)? Even if you’re just looking for a new place to eat lunch, you probably heard about it from a coworker or friend, checked out their menu online and read a couple reviews before you decided to give it a try, right? The buying process isn’t influenced by one thing (like rank), but rather all of your collective inbound marketing activities. You need everything working together (SEO, social media and content marketing) at full throttle to help your online business grow.