SEO — the process of making sure that your websites communicates well enough with search engines that people who are looking for you can find it — is a basic necessity for business and professional websites.
There are sites that don’t need SEO, though. Private websites that you don’t want anyone to look at, for example, should not receive any SEO attention. You can add a message to the code to tell search engines not to look at your website, but you probably won’t have to. Chances are, if you just build a website with no attention to SEO and don’t tell anyone or make any effort to help search engines learn about it, you won’t have many unwanted visitors. Obviously, this is not a website that brings you customers.
We’re talking right now, though, with a company that is confident that no one will find them through search. They have a sales process planned that assumes everyone who buys from them will be sent to the website by a sales rep.
Here are a few questions they should ask themselves:
- Given that 86% of consumers use the internet to search for information before they ever contact a company, are they sure they don’t want any search traffic?
- Given that SEO results take time and improve over time, are they sure they will never want search traffic in the future?
- Given the speed with which the internet has changed business already, are they sure they want to take that chance?
Let’s assume that this company is correct that search traffic will never be important for their company. How much will this affect how they build their website?
- Design Design does make some difference to findability, but the difference it makes is generally a case of better, more user-friendly design being better for SEO. Design is mostly for humans, and there’s no reason to compromise on design quality if search doesn’t matter.
- Content Sure, if you’re certain that you never want search traffic, you can do things like put all your text into images or choose rare synonyms for your major keywords. You can write about duds for nippers if you sell clothes for kids, for example. You’ll still need good quality content for conversion, though.
- Code Good code is good for SEO, but bad code is never good. Your site will work less well, and your human visitors won’t like that any more than the robots would.
In other words, a good website is still a website. Building a website that doesn’t need SEO may allow you a little more flexibility, but the process wouldn’t — or shouldn’t — be entirely different.