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SEO: Do you really need it?

by maiya
published on 01.07.2016

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, has become a buzz term in the last few years. The topic undoubtedly comes up while planning a new website, however we find that there is often a lack of understanding about what SEO really is, what it does, whether it’s necessary, and how to approach it.


Let’s put it in plain English: Search Engine Optimization aims to get your website as high as possible in the list of search results when users type in relevant keywords (e.g., when they search for terms in Google). Implementing an SEO plan can encompass a range of research and implementation tactics to enhance the performance of websites for maximum results in browser searches.  SEO allows users to find your website as easily as possible.


Maybe, but not necessarily.  It depends on your business and goals.  First, ask, “Who is our audience and how do we attract our ideal clients or community?”  In some cases, searches via web browsers are essential to a business gaining traction in the local or online community.  In other cases, it’s simply not as relevant, or the return on investment is not as high, and that’s okay!

For example, we at Mangrove tend to get our most valuable clients via referrals and personal connections, from current clients, partners, or colleagues.  We believe it’s important for interested parties to be able to contact us if they hear about Mangrove Web, but it’s not as important for us to turn up first in an organic search for “San Francisco Web Development.”  The clients who find us through organic searches are often shopping around and are more difficult to engage than someone who comes to us with a prior connection or existing level of trust.  We have set up some SEO basics on our site, but we have not invested deeply in making sure we are the first ones to come up when someone searches for a web development firm out of the blue.  For us, and for many clients, it’s just not a major need.

In contrast, we have small business clients who organically attract valuable customers through web searches of local services.  These businesses depend on having a wider range of exposure to attract and retain clients, and may have a niche market to target.  SEO is successful when the business requires only minimal engagement—such that a potential user’s brief exposure to the website may result in them acting on a small commitment (e.g., signing up for a fitness class, purchasing a meal, or visiting a brick-and-mortar shop).  Many small engagements like these may deeply benefit business growth and lead to more recognition, referrals, and loyal clients.  Ensuring that the masses are exposed to the business, and making it easy for potential clients to find it while searching online for a particular service, is of great value.


One thing to note is that WordPress is inherently set up to be “SEO-friendly,” and as part of our WordPress services, we can set up all new sites with a basic SEO plugin that prompts you to enter basic info to improve your SEO results.  For some, this is enough.  If you’ve determined that you don’t need comprehensive SEO support, then you can hereby relieve yourself from worrying about it and use that brain space to focus on areas of your business that drive growth reliably.

If you want to take your SEO approach further, we can help.  We work with a few fantastic SEO experts who are trustworthy and thorough.  Together, we can help determine just how deep the need is, and what kind of approach is appropriate.  Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to chat further!

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