Search engine optimization (SEO) is a strategy that’s accessible to almost any business. In the modern era, almost every type of business needs a website—even if it’s a basic, informative one—and you can increase traffic to that website by increasing its rankings in search engines. That said, some businesses are doing just fine without investing in SEO, and others are almost entirely dependent on their SEO strategy for continued success.
Are some industries naturally more suited to SEO? Can some industries benefit more than others?
What Makes an Industry Ideal for SEO?
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that might make an industry better suited for SEO, when compared to others:
- Reliance on customer search. First, how often are people using search in your industry? Let’s take the real estate industry as an example; the vast majority of people searching for a home begin their journey with an online search, making real estate an ideal area for SEO development. Compare that to, say, manufacturing, where many sales are closed based on preexisting relationships; manufacturing wouldn’t benefit from increased search visibility as much.
- Direct benefits from traffic. You also need some way to capitalize on the benefits of increased traffic, since SEO is primarily a traffic generation strategy. Thankfully, most industries fall into this category. You can benefit from traffic if your visitors occasionally buy products, sign up for services, or contact you for more information. You can even capitalize on increased traffic if you’re displaying ads or providing affiliate links.
- Limited competition. SEO is a valuable strategy, but its value can be compromised if the competition is too heavy or too fierce. Therefore, businesses with less competition tend to find it easier to break into this strategy. Of course, if you have lots of competitors, you could always find a unique angle by trying to differentiate your brand in a unique way.
- An avenue for content generation. SEO relies on content marketing as a foundation; without well-written content, no SEO strategy can flourish. Therefore, industries that find it easy to create new, high-quality, in-demand content on a regular basis tend to have an easier time improving their search rankings. If there isn’t much news in your industry, or if it’s not the kind of thing your customers want to read about, you may struggle to come up with ample content to support your rankings.
- Social visibility potential. While social media and SEO are typically independent strategies, they do work together in interesting ways; industries that can attract a large social media following have an outlet for their content, and an easy way to cultivate an interested audience.
- Difficulty with other marketing strategies. Most industries struggle with at least some types of marketing and advertising; for example, traditional advertising might be too expensive, and guerilla marketing might not have worked in your favor. If conventional marketing strategies aren’t working for you, SEO could be the best alternative.
- Limited budgets. Speaking of budgets, SEO is incredibly budget-friendly. For industries that can’t afford or don’t want to spend money on an intensive advertising strategy, SEO is especially appealing.
- A long-term focus. SEO is a marketing strategy with an enormous ROI—and one that has the power to keep growing indefinitely. However, it takes many weeks, and sometimes months, for the strategy to start building momentum. Accordingly, it’s better suited for industries that have a long-term focus on growth, rather than a high demand for a short-term increase in traffic.
Industries That Thrive With SEO
Thanks to many of the factors above, these are some of the industries that benefit most from the help of SEO:
- Local physical businesses. Local businesses have far less competition than national businesses, and almost everyone searches to find things like bars and restaurants in the area.
- Niche online retail businesses. Niche online retailers have little to no competition, and rely on traffic to make money.
- Professional services. Professional service industries, like home maintenance or legal work, can benefit strongly from SEO for a variety of reasons.
- Real estate. Real estate is local, with low competition, and almost all homeowners begin their quest for a new home with a search.
- SaaS. SaaS companies are all about long-term growth and audience cultivation, making SEO a perfect fit.
- Startups. Most tech startups can benefit from SEO, due to their unique strategic positioning and need for traffic.
SEO is a strategy that can be used by almost any business in almost any industry. However, there are some industries that benefit more than others, thanks to their unique strategic positioning, access to resources, and other factors. Think about your situation carefully before investing in SEO, and evaluate your current budget, marketing strategy, and competition.