Why SEO isn’t for everyone and why I’ve moved my company blog to medium.com

Standard SEO practice dictates that keeping your blog on your company website is for winners. So why am I ignoring that advice?

When creating any new content, in the name of marketing your company, it is important to decide where to ‘plant’ that content. Whether you are creating blog posts, videos or other media the choices that lay before you are numerous enough and bewildering.

Knowing where to place your content can be as much of a challenge as actually creating the content. So the digital marketing world keeps the advice simple.

Put your content on your main website.

Only problem is, I think that’s terrible advice. It’s far too general.

While it’s certainly true that to get maximum SEO value from your blog posts you should host them on your website. But that’s only true if SEO is a big part of your marketing strategy.

As this is an article about why I’ve made the decision to move the Andrew Laws Associates Ltd company blog to Medium.com I’ll use myself as an example to illustrate my point.

SEO is not the core marketing strategy for my company. But before you gasp (and your monocle pops out) I’ll explain why. I think I owe you at least that. After all, an SEO company not using SEO to market themselves might seem a bit wild. But it really isn’t.

SEO is NOT the right tool for every job.
Over the years I’ve seen many comments on blog posts, forums and in Facebook groups from business owners scoffing when SEO agencies are recommended. The general gist of the scoffing is usually along the lines of:

“‘Why would you hire an SEO company that doesn’t rank number one on Google when you search for ‘SEO?!?’”

This sort of comment proves to me that our industry has some way to go with regards to educating the masses on what SEO actually is, and what it can be used to achieve.

SEO is not a big magic switch that just needs to be activated to neatly move a website from ranking purgatory straight to the number one position.

Sure SEO can work wonders, but not for everyone, and certainly not in every industry. In fact, as discussed in a recent podcast episode, SEO is sometimes the worst way to market.

The size of SEO gains almost always correlates with how much resource any organisation can chuck at SEO. Putting it another way; the amount of grunt work it takes to shove a website up the Googles is directly proportional to the amount of grunt work your competitors are putting into shoving their websites up the Googles.

In the United Kingdom there are an estimated 250,000 SEO agencies. Some are large, some are small, and as they say in infomercial disclaimers ‘results may vary’.

My point is that if I try and rank my site I’m up against a lot of agencies who are real heavyweights when it comes to the amount of SEO clout they can levy against their own websites. If there are tens of thousands of SEO agencies in this country who have hundreds of staff, and those agencies can dedicate hundreds of hours a week each to ranking, then despite my best efforts I’m just not going to beat them.

So am I an SEO quitter? Absolutely not. SEO is flippin’ great, but it is just one tool in my digital marketing arsenal. I shan’t trouble you with the exact details of how I keep me and my team busy, and my family fed, but suffice to say it isn’t based on making sure my website ranks number 1 for ‘SEO’.

I’m yet to figure out if this sort of buyer attitude persists in other industries.

For example, my wife is a qualified horticulturist who earned her apprenticeship in the 175 hectare garden of a stately home. If she had to have her very own stately home with excessive acreage and a massive historical house in order to get clients then we’d be in trouble.

I recently had a water softener fitted by a plumber in whom I have a great deal of trust. I am yet to invite myself into his home to prod at his pipework. I hired him initially because his reputation is great, and I continue to ask him to prod my own pipes because of the excellent service he’s given me over the years.

I once did a ton of work for someone who restored priceless sports cars. His list of clients included BMW, who would entrust him to restore (what in some cases) was their last remaining example of a historic vehicle. If I remember correctly he drove an old Ford Mondeo.

When I have mechanical issues with my bicycle I call on the services of a friend who calls himself ‘The Bike Doctor’. When I first met him it never occurred to me to challenge him to a 200km road race with a sprint finish before I let him get his spanners out.

I could continue with these sorts of examples, and I’m tempted to because it’s fun, but the time has come to draw this article to a conclusion.

One of the best bits of advice I can give anyone is to place your content where your audience will see it. If you are in an industry where you can use SEO to bring people to your website, then placing your blog posts on your website is a great idea.

I am in an industry where I am unlikely to dominate the Google rankings so I place my content where my audience is.

A high proportion of the readers Medium.com attracts are exactly the type of people I would like to work with.

This practice goes beyond blogging — I place my podcasts on the Libsyn podcast platform, and I publish some of my articles on Linked In. Some of the videos I make go to Linked In, YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook.

My decision on where to place content based who that content is intended for and where those folk are hanging out.

The final, and probably the most pertinent reason I have moved my blog to Medium.com is that marketing is 90% testing. This is a test. If you have read this far into this blog post then perhaps the test is working.

Using SEO to make the web a better place since 1998!