I hear from a lot of business owners hoping to increase their traffic for one reason or another. Maybe a new season is starting up, or the competition’s getting uncomfortably big in the rearview mirror. When we can help, both us and our new client benefit. Everybody’s happy. But if it turns out that their business doesn’t really need SEO, it’s an awkward conversation and wasted time and energy on both ends.

We have to turn a lot of people away because we just can’t help them. Perhaps it’s the cost that scares them off. Or the time frame. Sometimes, they really just wouldn’t see a large return on investment from working with us. Whatever the reason, it often only becomes clear after we spend some time chatting on the phone. Invariably both parties come out of the other end of the discussion wiser, but also quite often it was a phone call we didn’t need to have, and their time could have been better spent doing what they already know how to do best.

That’s why I’ve put together a brief FAQ which should help give you a better idea of whether or not we’re a good fit to work together. It’ll save us both time, so give it a read. That said, if you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call and we’ll clarify for you.

Please note that you are required to wear your (un)common sense hat at all times in this area. Just because you fall into a particular category doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t be able to help you. There are always exceptions to the rule. These categories are just meant to be general guidelines to give you an idea of how we work and what we do.

With that said, let’s dive in.

1. Do you have a deadline?

SEO takes time. We typically project an ETA of six to nine months for the final result, depending on the industry you’re in. Realistically, this means that we cannot help businesses who are looking to increase their internet presence ‘instantly’ or within two months or less. Often businesses who are overstaffed and need job sites to send their crew to immediately, or small operations which have a specific seasonal period of operation, are forced to turn down our services.

However, if you’ve got time or are planning for the future, you may be a good fit.

2. Are most of your clients referrals?

A surprisingly large amount of businesses operate off of a referral-based lead acquisition model, where most of their customers come from recommendations. Examples are business-to-business recommendations (e.g. a specific lawyer receiving most of his business from referrals by insurance companies, or vice versa) or customer-to-business recommendations (an established plumbing company relying on word of mouth).

If most or all of your customers are referrals, the chances are you will not stand to gain much from increasing your online presence. However, if you do a lot of new business or already rely on other forms of marketing to acquire customers, you’ll probably benefit greatly from ranking your website in Google.

3. Are you on a shoestring budget, a new startup, or a nonprofit organization?

If you’ve already broken open the piggy bank this quarter, chances are you have other monetization issues you need to resolve before you come to us for SEO. Search engine optimization is most often useful to for-profit businesses which are already at least moderately successful and have a working pipeline for customers to flow through.

If you are a for-profit business and already have a marketing budget in place, SEO is a logical next step for you. It’s an investment just about every business has to make to be successful online.

4. Are you ready to receive new customers?

Similarly, if you don’t have plans and systems in place for scaling your business effectively, SEO may actually do more harm your business than good. Be sure you’re ready to deal with new customers.

Optimizing your website for search engines isn’t as simple and direct as paying for Google Adwords or other marketing options. It’s not a simple switch we can flip on and off. Once you’re ranked, you’re ranked, and you’re not going to be able to stop being on the front page of Google. If you’re not prepared to deal with a flow of new customers you can’t turn off, you don’t want SEO.

Conversely, if you have everything in place for your business to explode except the customers, SEO is a great way to expand up your client base. If you build it, they will come.

5. Are you a franchisee?

Often people who are working with a pre-existing franchise will be faced with strict limits to how far they can modify their website and online presence. This presents a unique challenge to us. Sometimes we are unfortunately unable to help due to those restrictions. However, if you would like us to verify whether or not we can help, we’re glad to take a look at your specific franchise and website/page to determine if this is the case for you.

Still wondering whether we can help?

Thanks for taking the time to read this far! Please don’t hesitate to fill out our discovery form. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have and would love the opportunity to talk with you more about what we do. If nothing else, we’d be happy to point you in the right direction for your next marketing campaign, whether it’s with us or another company/medium entirely.

Speak with you soon!

Elliot