Business & Technology Nexus

Dave Stephens on technology and business trends

Why SEO Can Hurt Your Web Presence

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We (Coupa Software, my on demand e-Procurement company) just recovered from a really interesting journey down the rabbit hole. We got some pretty great advice from an SEO specialist on how to improve our search engine rankings so we’d be more “findable” for keywords we cared about.

So we built up a keyword list and proceeded to stack our web pages with keyword-matching content. And we really did improve in the rankings. But there’s a side effect you expose yourself to when you do this: you can lose the “soul” of your company. Said another way, if you are operating in competitive markets you can lose what is special about your company and its solutions.

Recently, we formally unveiled something Coupa had been working on for a long time – our on demand offering. And we re-did the website again – this time valuing visitors time more than SEO. The results are interesting. Web visitors are down marginally, and leads are down too. But the quality of leads is soaring & closed business is up.

What’s the lesson? Imho, brand identity can’t be sacrificed for site traffic.This isn’t an indictment against SEO – and truth be told we are now working to improve our rankings on the new site. But this time it’s with our eyes wide open – knowing that uniqueness in our market – and making information gathering incredibly convenient for our prospects and customers – trumps moving up a spot or two in the rankings.

No doubt there are folks that will read this and disagree viscerally to what I’m saying – but I sure believe this was a lesson worth sharing. Don’t sacrifice your brand for SEO – or you may find all your key marketing indicators are headed up while sales are diving down.

-d

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Written by Dave Stephens

11/11/07 9:25 PM at 9:25 pm

Posted in Opinion

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