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At Mostly Serious, we separate ourselves from our competitors by approaching all our client projects with a fierce determination to discover what solutions will solve their problems best—as opposed to fitting their problems into a box of pre-determined solutions. We lean on an intensive research period to reveal what solutions make the most sense, which can sometimes contradict what a client initially thought he or she needed. Sometimes that assumption of needs includes search engine optimization (SEO), which is essentially a strategic effort to move a website’s search results up to the first page—or even number one slot—of search engine results.

Oftentimes, our research and collaboration reveals that folding SEO into a client’s marketing strategy makes total sense; but we’ve also had instances of recommending that a client not pursue an SEO campaign. While there are an awful lot of factors that go into determining whether our marketing plans ought to include SEO, the questions we’ve broken out below can provide the nugget of insight you might need to decide whether SEO really makes sense to you. In a world that tells you to say yes to just about every possible marketing tactic ever, isn’t that thought refreshing?

Question 1: Does it make the most sense for my audience?

Mostly Serious recently produced a marketing campaign for a client with an incredibly niche customer base. In fact, the maximum reach for their audience was less than 100 individuals. For this client, we certainly could have put time and effort into an organic SEO campaign, but it wouldn’t have been very effective because it would rely on those few individuals to make the first move by searching for a key term the product ranked well for. Those are not great odds to bet on, especially with so many more targeted marketing options at our disposal.

If you aren’t really sure what the answer to this question is, that’s okay—and something we’re really good at helping clients figure out. If you’d rather conduct your own audience discovery, though, this article by Yoast provides some great ways to go about it.

Question 2: Can I commit to an editorial calendar—and writer—that builds my SEO campaign?

Like a fine wine, a good SEO campaign gets better with age—so long as you’re pruning it and adding to it regularly. But any marketing coordinator knows that curating content on the regular is tough to do, much less incorporating SEO tactics as well. Before you decide an SEO campaign is what you need, make sure you’ve got the long-term follow-through for that gradually snowballing return on investment. And once you’ve done that, make sure you understand your audience enough to write great content for them.

Question 3: Does the timeline needed for SEO success make sense for my marketing needs?

Even though the fundamental concept of SEO is a relatively simple one, what’s less clear to most people is how long it takes to be effective. Rome wasn’t built in a day; neither is great SEO. And if any marketing pro is willing to tell you it does happen pretty much overnight, consider that a red flag that their tactics aren’t totally organic or include shortcuts that can have bad repercussions down the road.

Understanding that SEO is more of an upfront commitment with a long-term payoff is crucial. If you’re doing everything right—that is, using great key terms, regularly curating content, and taking advantage of every on-page optimization opportunity at your disposal—the minimum turnaround for results (results being notable rankings) is generally estimated somewhere around four months. Typically, though, six months is more realistic.

Question 4: Does an SEO campaign take precedence over the other marketing tactics I could be using?

Sometimes SEO makes perfect sense as a marketing tactic, just not right away. For instance, pouring time and money into an SEO campaign that ultimately sends your visitors to an outdated or otherwise ineffective website won’t do much to contribute to your marketing goals so long as you’re measuring something other than rankings (and yes—we measure more than just rankings).

When we craft marketing campaigns, we craft them with the full customer experience in mind—from initial contact to final conversion—which means we also think critically about the priority of tactics. Ultimately, clicking on your website from a search result is just one customer touch point, so we’ll never recommend kicking off an SEO campaign without being wholly confident in your website’s ability to carry visitors to the ideal point of conversion, whether it’s a contact form, an informational page, a blog, or something else.

At Mostly Serious, we’re proud to offer a genuinely transformative marketing experience for our clients because we think critically up front about the solutions that make sense for them, as well as what the priority of those solutions should be. SEO is no exception.

If this article tipped you in the direction of needing an SEO campaign, that’s great—we’d love to talk to you! If it led you to think you might need another set of tactics to help solve your most Company Newsing marketing issues, our answer is still the same. Reach out to us to get a discovery meeting on the books.

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