SEO is Worthless to One Keyword Locals – Are you Sure About That?

Fri, Apr 30, 2010

Keyword Research

In a recent interview on Small Business Radio Trends, Aaron Wall of SEOBook gave some insights on the necessity of companies to pay money for SEO services, or to be more precise, the lack of necessity for some companies. While he had some valid points, and he is certainly an expert in the field, I find his statements a bit misleading.

When asked whether every company needs to pay for SEO, optimize their website, and build links, Aaron said no, and about that I completely agree. He went on to explain that a business with a really  small niche or abstract concept are very unlikely to get decent results. The competition is just not fierce enough in the search engines, and the reason is that no one is searching.

It’s a good point, and I constantly tell my own clients that not everyone stands to profit from Google. Not only are some niches just completely absent of search engine volume, but other niches with tons of volume just aren’t going to see many paying customers regardless. It depends on the niche.

What bothered me, however, was his example that companies that were “one keyword locals” should ignore search engine optimization altogether. This means a local company that would use a keyword along with the name of their city or location. This would count out companies that use words like “Miami Beach restaurant” or “Vallejo dentist.”

Are you kidding me? Show me a dentist or restaurant who wouldn’t want to rank #1 for those keywords and I’ll show you an idiot.

Sure, there are plenty of niches out there where keywords like this don’t work, but there are also plenty of niches where they do. This argument simply ignores the whole idea of basic SEO research.

How many people are searching for these terms is a huge factor. What are companies paying for PPC? If someone is browsing the web for a dentist in Vallejo, there’s a pretty good chance they’d like to find a dentist in Vallejo, and that’s the whole idea of SEO for offline companies.

Wall would have made a lot more sense if he would have talked about the need for SEO providers to be more ethical and not sell their services to anyone who will believe what they say. After all, most of even these small local companies and the vaguest niche companies could stand to do very well with social media marketing, so an SEO with a versatile arsenal of tricks can still make a client out of a company that won’t do well with Google ranking.

I would go as far as to say his statements are as irresponsible as saying every customer can benefit from SEO. He’s right that these “one keyword locals” need to scrutinize their particular market a lot closer to analyze potential, but for some the potential certainly does exist.

This is why the offline SEO market has gotten so hot lately, not because consultants have gotten better at selling their services but because the people who are doing it right are making a lot of money. It’s called results, and they speak loads.

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This post was written by:

Felipe Miyata - who has written 10 posts on SEO Blog | SEO Marketing World.


One Response to “SEO is Worthless to One Keyword Locals – Are you Sure About That?”

  1. aaron wall Says:

    I did not give “cityname dentist” as an example of something not worth targeting.

    For high end professional services like dental and legal … those are some of the best geo-local keywords to go after because the traffic value is so high per click. Even a few dozen visitors a week to a website (when combined with a conversion focused website) can generate a few leads worth $100+ each and every week.

    And I would say “Miami restaurant” is a pretty crappy keyword to target with general SEO services. When I look at Google’s search results I see the map with 7 listings, then links to search results for 5 categories of restaurants, then 5 more links for “restaurants near x” … so that means that there are 17 links *before* any organic search results. Further the keyword is a general discovery and comparison keyword…not one with highly targeted intent, so even if you do rank well then odds are your user experience won’t likely be seen anywhere near as relevant to end users as Yelp, Fodors, TripAdvisor, CitySearch, etc.

    And this experience is not only played out / proven by the current set of organic search results, but also if you look at the paid ads on that keyword you see more general aggregators … Bing, Groupon, and Pronto. There are only 2 ads for restaurants out of 8 (and even one of the ads is for appartments).


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