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SEO Planning: Why SEO Shouldn’t Be an Afterthought

There is a ridiculously simple hack to generating massive organic growth: 

Focus on SEO from the very beginning. 

Doing this one thing results in having a website that follows the best practices, acquires authority faster, and eventually, rises to the top. 

Unfortunately, more often than not, it’s the opposite that happens. 

For many new companies, SEO becomes an afterthought, in fact. It gets added to the marketing mix only after they’ve exhausted all the other channels for growth, burn through the budget, and find themselves scraping for leads. 

If you’ve just launched a new business, this post is for you. I will show you what happens when you neglect SEO right now. You’ll also see what challenges your company will face when trying to rank the website in the future. 

Before that, though, let’s discuss why you might be thinking that leaving SEO for later is actually a good idea.

(Hint, it’s not!)

Why New Companies Tend to Neglect SEO?

I admit it; launching a business feels so exciting. You are building something new, and feel on fire all the time. 

But it’s also quite a terrifying time, isn’t it? For one, you know that you will need to generate leads and customers. 

And it’s going to happen soon. 

That’s exactly the moment when SEO gets pushed aside. 

SEO is a long-term strategy. Building search visibility takes time, effort, and resources. Unfortunately, these are often the things that new companies don’t have. 

In need of quick growth, however, many new businesses sideline organic search presence in lieu of meeting short-term sales objectives. These companies focus their attention on PPC and other advertising strategies instead to generate initial growth. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, online advertising is a great way to generate growth. At Envoca, we help clients generate leads with local PPC ads, local service ads, and more.

But online advertising has its pitfalls too. One of them is that it requires you to spend money continuously to generate results.  

SEO, on the other hand, requires an investment to set up and manage. But you don’t have to pay for every click and lead that the channel generates. 

Lack of understanding of SEO often contributes to ignoring the channel. I often hear from new business owners how they fear handing over SEO to a third-party, purely because they lack the knowledge to monitor and evaluate the agency’s work properly. 

Finally, many founders exhibit the “I’ll look into it later” mentality. This often happens when a company has experienced some growth through referrals or the founder’s connections. Oftentimes, those founders start to believe that they will be able to rely on those referrals or reputation forever, and will not need to implement other marketing strategies. 

Unfortunately, the reality often proves them so wrong…

Referrals and reputation might continue bringing the business, however, their growth potential is always limited anyway. And it’s hardly likely that a founder finds the time to learn how to do SEO on their own. 

That’s why, if you want to achieve sustainable growth, one that does not require you to continuously increase the marketing spend year over year, then, you must work on the organic search visibility. 

In other words, you must rank well in Google’s organic search results.

Unfortunately, unless you’ve embedded SEO in your company’s marketing right away, whoever’s going to be implementing the strategy, will face some serious challenges in doing so. 

What Happens When You’ve Neglected to Engage in SEO Right Away

We’ve talked about the reasons why SEO gets sidelined. But I must be clear about this – Making SEO an afterthought results in more damage than just delaying rankings. 

Let’s review what happens when you’ve neglected to engage in SEO right away:

  • Your site doesn’t acquire strong domain authority. Without it, ranking for certain keywords might prove challenging or even impossible (until you’ve built that authority up eventually.)
  • The site might also suffer from a large number of technical issues. Issues like slow loading time, poor site architecture and on-page optimization, lack of relevance between content and keywords, and more will prevent it from achieving the full SEO potential. 
  • The site, most likely, does not follow the best practices of search engine optimization. All of those factors above will make the site too weak to rank well for its target keywords. 
  • You also have a low number of online reviews and you might find it hard to outrank the competition without them. 
  • You have to supplement growth with paid strategies like Google Ads or Microsoft Ads that eat the budget too quickly
  • You’ll have no data to identify and double down on what works. I encounter many such sites in my work. Most do not even have the basic analytics package installed, resulting in a lack of any insights into where to invest the marketing effort. 
  • Finally, you’ll experience a lack of diversity in your company’s marketing. This will result in over-reliance on a single marketing channel.

The Challenges You’ll Face When Launching SEO Too Late

I won’t beat around the bush here – More often than not, fixing the issues above is an uphill battle. 

As an agency, we often have to do much preparatory work before focusing on building a company’s search visibility. 

In fact, we often experience three major challenges in such situations:

#1. Having to Clean Up or Rebuild the Site Completely

Sometimes, there is nothing else we can do to optimize a site built without having SEO in mind other than to rebuild it from scratch. 

Other times, we have to fix the many technical issues, rebuild the site’s architecture, optimize the code, and more to make it ready for further SEO work. 

#2. Working with No Data to Identify Opportunities

Typically, with no interest in SEO, companies would also neglect to install an analytics package on their sites. As a result, they have no traffic data, conversion tracking setup, and generally, have no idea where they get their leads from. 

Because of that, an agency taking over the site has no data to identify what works, and scale the strategy. 

#3. Playing Catch Up with the Competition

This is a frustrating situation. 

Most of the issues we’ve discussed – lack of site authority or reviews, poor site optimization, no analytics data, and more – result in an enormous challenge:

Your competition is, most likely, already far ahead of you. 

Their sites might be properly built and optimized. Google perceives their domains as authorities in the field. Thanks to many customer reviews, the search engine is also eager to position the business high in the search results. 

Having done no SEO work to date, you’ll have to catch up to them first, before attempting to beat them at SEO and outrank their pages. 

Needless to say, doing so will accrue additional costs and require quite a lot of time and effort. 

When to Start Optimizing a Site, Ideally, Then?

Well, I recommend you do it right away. 

If you have only started building a website, then, ensure that the design and code follow the best practices of SEO. Engage with an SEO agency early on, and get them involved in the web development process. 

If you have the site already, get a professional SEO agency to review and optimize it now. Don’t put off the strategy any longer. You’ll avoid many of the issues and challenges I’ve discussed above. 

Need Help with Launching SEO for Your Company?

At Envoca, we’ve been helping professional service firms and local businesses generate organic presence, rank well, and drive traffic and leads month after month after month. Talk to us about your needs, and let’s see how we could help you.