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How important is SEO for referral businesses?

May 13, 2024 | SEO and Content Marketing, Website Design and Redesign

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical part of many content marketing strategies. But how important is SEO for referral businesses that don’t rely on website traffic for leads?

SEO is a long term strategy that is constantly changing. Some businesses need to devote many resources to SEO in order to make a dent in their competitive landscape. For other businesses, pouring resources into SEO can mean that you’re wasting money and time.

Read on to learn about how much SEO strategy you should invest in for your website if most of your leads come from referrals.

The SEO foundation every website needs

Over 60% of consumers use Google to find information about local businesses. For online businesses, Google can be a critical tool for people to find their website.

Having a solid SEO foundation is an absolute must for every business these days, whether you’re a software company or a brick-and-mortar bakery.

These are some basics that comprise a strong SEO foundation. These best practices are not expensive, or time-consuming.

  • Create a clear content hierarchy: It should be very clear what your website is about, and what each page is about. If pages are related to each other, the page hierarchy of your website should reflect that.
  • Improve your website speed: Loading speed is one of the most important factors that Google takes into consideration. A slow loading website gets penalized, meaning it will be more difficult for leads to find your website.
  • Make the most of the content you do have: Use H1 tags and alt tags correctly. Don’t overuse graphic images, fill in keywords, descriptions and other meta data on all pages.
  • Write content with the reader in mind: If you write with your ideal client in mind, it increases the chance your text will be relevant to both readers and search engines.
  • Keep your site current: Build a plan to update, add and maintain content. Use a CMS tool like WordPress to make this easier. Consider adding a blog or article library. This will take time and effort so make sure you’re up to the task.
  • Ask for links from groups and associates you are involved with: This can help boost a website’s authority, which is a critical part of how Google ranks website content.

You should include these SEO fundamentals in your website, regardless of the kind of business you have. But how do you know when it’s time to invest more in SEO?

When you should invest in SEO

As with any part of your business, you need to have goals and priorities in mind when deciding how much to invest in SEO.

If you anticipate that most of your leads will come from your website, then you may want to invest in SEO to make it easier for people to find your website. This can include creating new content that targets keywords that your target audience is likely searching for.

If you use your website to make sales, then increasing traffic to your website is critical. SEO can help you do that.

How important is SEO for referral businesses?

Sinking time and money into advanced SEO strategies may ultimately be a waste for businesses that get most of their leads from referrals.

Businesses that offer personalized services, like attorneys, CPAs, and marketing agencies (like Visible Logic) are reliant on good referrals. Because these services are personalized and often pricy, people are not likely to decide whether or not to engage these businesses based solely on their website.

Referral businesses tend to have a longer sales cycle that relies on personal conversations with people. You should still always have a compelling website with an SEO foundation, but because your leads don’t come from organic traffic you likely don’t need to invest much in SEO.

People need to be able to find you on the web, but what are they searching for? If you are a business built on referrals, it’s more likely they’ll be Googling your actual business name, rather than a more generic keyword. Luckily, it’s relatively easy to rank highly for your own brand name without any additional strategy.

SEO is not critical for referral-based businesses. A solid SEO foundation will ensure that people can follow up with referrals by searching for your brand name and visiting your website.

How important is SEO for your website? It depends on your goals. Whether you’re looking for a simple and solid SEO foundation for your website, or more advanced SEO content creation, let’s talk.


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