Search engine optimisation (SEO) is often touted as a must-have for businesses looking to increase their online visibility and drive organic traffic. Nevertheless, search engine optimisation might not be suitable for every enterprise, particularly for small businesses operating within constrained marketing budgets. To determine whether SEO is a suitable investment for your company, it’s important to consider several factors. In this article, we’ll explore the key conditions that may indicate SEO is not the best marketing strategy for your business.

Low keyword volume

One of the first factors to consider when evaluating the viability of SEO for your business is the keyword volume. While achieving top rankings on Google may seem like a worthwhile goal, it becomes less meaningful if the relevant keywords have minimal search volume. In other words, if only a handful of people search for those keywords each month, the click-throughs generated may not be enough to justify the return on investment (ROI) for your optimisation efforts.

It’s crucial to track the revenue generated from your SEO campaign and assess the results based on that, rather than solely focusing on rankings. Investing in low-volume keywords may give you a false sense of success, but it’s important to align your efforts with keywords that have a higher potential for driving meaningful traffic and conversions.

Serving a smaller local market

For businesses that serve small or midsize markets, standard SEO strategies may not be effective due to the limited search volume within their specific market. If you operate a dental practice, a restaurant, or any other business that primarily caters to a local audience, local SEO might be a more suitable approach. Local SEO involves employing specialised techniques that target specific geographic locations, allowing you to reach potential customers in your immediate vicinity.

By focusing on local SEO, you can optimise your online presence to appear in local search results, such as Google Maps and local directories. This enables you to capture the attention of potential customers who are actively searching for local businesses like yours. Investing in local SEO can often yield better results and a higher ROI compared to generic SEO strategies that target a national audience.

Strong competition

In highly competitive industries, SEO can be a challenging endeavor, especially if your budget is significantly smaller than that of your competitors. If you’re up against competitors who are spending a substantial amount on SEO each month, it’s important to assess whether you have a realistic chance of obtaining high search rankings for important keywords.

While you may be able to compete on keywords that fly under your competitors’ radar, it requires sophisticated keyword and competitive research to identify those opportunities. SEO in industries such as banking or insurance  is often dominated by a few big players with deep pockets. It’s crucial to evaluate whether your SEO budget is sufficient to make a meaningful impact in such competitive landscapes.

Limited budget

Executing a successful SEO campaign necessitates more than a mere few hundred pounds per month to achieve substantial outcomes. It encompasses the creation and promotion of top-notch content, identification of link-building prospects, implementation of innovative strategies, and the execution of various other tasks that demand both time and expertise. SEO is not a mechanical or formulaic procedure that can be carried out on a limited budget.

Determining the required investment for your SEO campaign requires consideration of factors like the level of competition and your existing organic search visibility. As a general guideline, a minimum expenditure of £1,000 per month is typically necessary to observe noticeable improvements in your rankings and overall online presence. Engaging professional SEO services can aid in navigating the intricacies of SEO and maximising the returns on your investment.

Website issues

Prior to embarking on an SEO campaign, it is crucial to assess the state of your website. The effectiveness of SEO relies on Google’s capability to crawl and assess the relevance and authority of your website’s content. If your website hampers Google’s ability to perform this task, it is unlikely that your content will align with user queries pertaining to your targeted keywords.

Several common website issues can impede SEO progress, including poorly constructed URLs, missing or inadequately written title tags, a non-responsive design for mobile devices, the absence of pages targeting primary keywords, and a flawed internal linking structure. Resolving these problems and ensuring that your website is optimised for search engines constitute vital initial steps prior to investing in SEO.

Introducing a radically new product or service

If you’re offering a completely new product or service that the market is not yet familiar with, SEO may not be the most effective marketing strategy at the initial stages. When customers are unaware of your offering, they are unlikely to search for it online. In such cases, it’s more beneficial to allocate your marketing budget towards strategies that create brand awareness and introduce your product or service to the market.

Once your offering gains traction and achieves critical mass in brand recognition, search engine optimisation can play a significant role in driving organic traffic and expanding your customer base. It’s important to assess the market’s familiarity with your product or service before deciding to invest in SEO.

The importance of research

If you’re uncertain whether SEO is the right fit for your business, conducting preliminary research can provide valuable insights to help you make an informed decision. Rather than dabbling in SEO with a small budget and half-hearted effort, investing in comprehensive research can save you time and money in the long run.

Researching the feasibility and cost of implementing SEO for your business involves evaluating factors such as keyword volume, competition, budget requirements, website optimisation, and market familiarity with your product or service. Gathering this information will enable you to determine whether SEO aligns with your business goals and if it’s worth pursuing as a marketing strategy.


While SEO is a powerful tool for increasing online visibility and driving organic traffic, it may not be suitable for every business. Factors such as low keyword volume, serving a small local market, strong competition, limited budget, website issues, and introducing a radically new product or service can indicate that SEO may not be the best marketing strategy for your business.

Before embarking on an SEO campaign, it’s crucial to evaluate these factors and conduct thorough research to determine the feasibility and potential ROI of SEO for your specific business needs. By making informed decisions and aligning your marketing efforts with the right strategies, you can maximise your chances of success and achieve your business goals.

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