Every once in a while, a client or prospect will tell me their organization doesn’t care about search engine optimization (SEO). Why? I get these reasons:
- The organization targets a very specific, very niche set of audiences.
- The organization has a defined universe and they are largely known to the association and vice versa.
- The organization doesn’t have e-commerce on the website so they don’t need to reach out a wide audience to make sales.
Even if all of this is true, I say that EVERY organization should care about SEO because:
- A huge number of people use Google (or another search engine of choice) to access a known website. We know this because when Google used to make search terms available, it was shocking to see that so many people type specific URLs into Google. Evidently, there are people who just always start with search without even realizing it.
- Your target audiences may know your organization very well, but they may not know your URL off the top of their heads. So what they do? They Google for it. Again, looking at search terms tells us a whole lot of traffic comes from Google, from people who know the specific organization they seek.
- Many, many people rely on Google to search a website because the internal site search sucks. During many user interviews, members tell us they use Google to find what they are looking for on a specific site because the site search wasn’t effective.
- If your organization is a trade association, you may “know” all of your member companies, but new member company staff may not who are you and what your organization does.
- No matter how good your marketing and how often you mail or email, the vast majority of your customers do not know everything your organization has to offer. For example, Suzie Smith attends your annual conference ever year but she doesn’t know that you also publish a certain publication on a specific topic, so what does she do? She Googles for it!
If your website isn’t search-engine friendly because you think SEO doesn’t matter, I hope you’ll think again. Even people who know your organization still rely on Google to find your site and search your site. If Google can’t find your site and can’t index the content properly, you may be losing out on traffic from the very people you think are going directly to your site.