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6 objections to SEO and how to deal with them

Strategy, Search Engine Optimization
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10 minutes for reading

Objections to SEO

If you are an analyst, consultant or work at an agency, you may have experienced some objection to investing in SEO. Who never?

First of all, explaining SEO is not as easy as it sounds. Make one "pitch elevator ”on search engine optimization it may work, but you will often forget to present something important.

Then there is a false understanding that because search engines are free, so is SEO. Or at least it requires low investment. Wrong and wrong!

In this article I bring 6 objections that I have already noted in my SEO consultancies. Of course, there are many others, but I will show you the ones I find most frequent and that afflict SEO professionals.

“Other channels perform better!”

This is classic. Many companies use it especially in the negotiation phase, either to bargain or to make the SEO professional feel less confident about their area of expertise.

There are a few ways to respond to this objection:

Success follows investment

It is much easier to find professional companies and teams dedicated to sponsored links and social networks than SEO.

In addition to investing in human resources, they invest significant amounts in sponsored link campaigns, material production, video editing and much more. Of course, if you invest zero in SEO the return will be lower than other channels with more investment.

For an SEO strategy to be successful it needs investments.

Each channel has a purpose

Each channel will play a different role, depending on the company's operating segment. Generally, social networks don't generate so many conversions but are good for generating engagement. PPC (sponsored links) drive more conversions (especially when we look at the attribution model with a focus on the last click).

Organic search it’s usually a top and middle funnel channel. It can convert, but its main function is to attract and educate your target audience.

Conversions and assisted conversions

Even though it is not a channel with high conversion rates, organic search tends to play a fundamental role in assisting other conversions.

Conversions assisted by organic search.
Organic search helps in conversions from other channels.

"Search results only show ads."

This objection is made by skeptics who rarely find what they're looking for on Google.

What search results are you looking at?

If you're looking for a funnel bottom, of course there will be a higher incidence of ads, but that won't be the case for most searches.

Two studies are interesting to answer this objection.

a Varn study, conducted in the United Kingdom, shows that 35% of respondents recognize an ad in searches and do not click on them. 58% of respondents stated that they do not recognize an advertisement on the SERPs.

Another study showed that only 3,58% of searches resulted in ad clicks:

Clicks after Google search. Source.

How can these two things exist at the same time? Easy! Most searches do not trigger ads. Searches that are more informative and navigational tend to trigger less advertising.

Search intent

Take into account the user's search intent.

Often your target audience is looking for more information about a product or service. Comparisons are being made. If you focus only on the bottom of the funnel, you may be disappointed when it comes to search optimization.

know more about search intent.

All channels are complementary

Always keep in mind that the different acquisition channels tend to work better together. I wrote an article some time ago about how SEO and PPC can work better together.

There are studies that point to an increase in the average CTR when organic results and ads appear together in SERP.

"SEO generates traffic but not the right traffic."

In general, people who use this objection cannot understand how an SEO campaign works, or want to say something else.

Branded vs. non-branded

Many are saying that SEO only generates traffic for brand-related terms (branded). This may be true but only if you are doing it the wrong way.

If your SEO strategy is well formulated, you will improve your exposure (impressions and clicks) in searches for terms related to your brand and also for non-brand terms (non-branded).

Assisted conversions are important

As I mentioned before, although organic searches are not (in general) a channel with a high conversion rate, they tend to play a fundamental role in assisting other channels in their conversions.

The traffic generated can be highly qualified

This statement will only be true if you are paying attention to your target audience. If you know what they’re looking for, how they’re looking, what terms they use and what’s important to your brand, then you’ll get qualified traffic through search.

See that to achieve all this you need to invest (personal, content, analytics, UX). It is not possible to reach the state of the art of SEO without the proper investment.

“SEO takes too long to work.”

Perhaps the most common objection is that we, SEO professionals, we listen more often (more than we would like).

SEO is not growth hack

SEO is not a growth or inbound marketing technique.

Many companies are anxious to hire an SEO consultancy thinking they will have immediate results. I'm sorry to inform you but SEO is not for that.

Search engine optimization it's a culture!

Methodology + time = growth

As I said before, SEO is culture. It is more methodology than tactics. It must be rooted in everything the company does. Over time, this culture will bring results.

"It is not possible to measure SEO results."

Yes, it is possible!

It is common to see companies and even marketers saying that it is not possible to measure the SEO ROI. They use this argument to avoid directing or reducing the resources available for generating organic traffic.

Predicting ROI

It is possible, using data from the website itself, to build a click-through rate curve by position in searches. Merging this information with the search volume for certain keywords, for which we want to rank, it is possible to estimate traffic if we gain positions in the searches.

Generally, when upgrading your site to a primary term, traffic will increase above estimated. This is because you may also have improved your positioning for other similar, long-tailed terms.

Measuring SEO ROI

The secret here is to demonstrate that it is possible to link SEO to the result (revenue). If you have an online store, chances are your analytics tool is already tracking conversion values. In this case, visualizing the results of an SEO campaign can be easier.

However, if your site is not an e-commerce site, we will need some more information to calculate the ROI of an SEO campaign. One way to do this is to get the LTV (lifetime value) of the customer and multiply by the conversion rate.

If you have this information, record the conversion values as goals in your Google Analytics. This will allow you to more accurately analyze the importance of each page, group of pages or user segments.

Similarly, expand this analysis for assisted conversions. Remember that analytics tools usually bring in conversions based on the last click attribution model. Analyze other attribution models (eg linear, first and last click, increasing, etc.) to see the real value of SEO campaigns for the website.

Read too: "SEO ROI: how to calculate the value of organic traffic

“SEO takes a lot of work!”

SEO is a lot of work, yes!

I'll tell you what takes more work:

  • Be on the second page of Google.
  • Permanently invest in PPC campaigns because you are unable to rank for important business terms.
  • Make a sale when the prospect does not see authority in your brand, since you have not produced any content on a topic of interest.
  • Having to produce content after content, every day, when there is no SEO strategy for content production evergreen.
  • Run after traffic from social networks or activation (push, newsletter, WhatsApp, etc.) every month for not being well positioned in searches.

I could go on and on and on but you got the message.

SEO takes work, but it also works.


For all objections there is at least one good argument to convince that SEO is a good investment, especially in the long run.

When it comes to search engine optimization, always keep in mind:

  • Success depends on investment;
  • Each acquisition channel has a purpose;
  • Look at conversions as well as assisted conversions;
  • SEO, in general, is aimed at the top and middle of the funnel;
  • Understand what the user's search intent is;
  • All channels are complementary;
  • SEO strengthens branded and non-branded terms;
  • Assisted conversions are important (again);
  • Organically generated traffic can be qualified;
  • SEO is not a growth hack;
  • Methodology + time = growth;
  • It is possible to predict SEO ROI;
  • It is possible to measure the ROI of SEO.

Last but not least: SEO takes a lot of work! But it takes more work not to do SEO.

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