Why SEO isn’t always the right digital marketing strategy for your tech company

by Ryan James

Being in position 1 of the Google rankings for your top keywords is the holy grail for most businesses, particularly tech companies. This will drive a huge amount of traffic to your website, with leads and sales to follow. But at what cost, and is it even realistically achievable for you? Before you dive into an expensive (or not expensive enough) SEO campaign, you should undertake thorough research and consider your other digital marketing options.

It’s a long game

The first thing to understand about organic SEO is that it’s a long game. If there is a set of keywords which are quick and easy to get to the top of Google for, then there is almost definitely no money to be made from it, as someone else would be doing it by now.

In my experience, the average SEO campaign will not begin to bear fruit until the 8 – 12 month period. Typically, this would equate to a few of your low and medium-range keywords appearing somewhere on page 1 of Google, which would bring an increase in traffic, but unlikely anything to write home about. Most SEO campaigns will run into the 1 year+ period before a significant uplift in traffic, leads/sales are seen.

Depending on the competitiveness of your keywords, typical annual SEO costs can range from somewhere between £25,000 – £60,000. So you can expect to be spending somewhere within this figure before the ROI even begins to materialise.

The benefits from organic SEO can be huge, but be aware that it will take time and a considerable budget.

Low hanging fruit doesn’t always taste that good

SEO agencies may tell you that your top keywords will take a long time to get to page 1 of Google. They might try to soften the blow by telling you that they can get you to page 1 for some of your “low hanging fruit”, meaning some of your less competitive keywords. That sounds great, but how many people are actually searching “Top FinTech app for men wearing polka dot underwear”?

Thankfully, you can easily find out how potentially fruitful your “low hanging fruit” really is.

Don’t always trust the word of an SEO agency, do your own research into costs and timings
Google Keyword Planner is a great place to start. You can discover new keywords which you hadn’t originally thought of, but the really interesting data is found under the ‘Get search volumes and forecasts’ section. Once you have entered your keywords and set the location you can find out how many people are actually searching for these terms each month, in your target area. Many of the promised “low hanging fruit” keywords will have search volumes of below 100. These are almost always not worth pursuing. You want to be targeting keywords that are well into the hundreds of average searches per month.

keyword planner tool

The Neil Patel website also offers highly insightful (and free) information about your keywords and competitor’s SEO performance.

Other digital marketing strategies to consider

First, fix up your house before you invite lots of people over

Let’s say you have a lead conversion rate of 10%. So 10% of your website visitors turn into leads. Let’s now say you spend £1000 on marketing, which gets you 500 visitors per day, that should equate to 50 leads per day…awesome! But what if you first spent some of that marketing budget on improving your website sales funnel? Perhaps consider creating dedicated landing pages which speak directly to your target audience groups. Or maybe increase the calls to action on the site by adding an impossible to miss “Request a Quote” form at the top of your homepage. These kinds of actions could double your lead conversion rate, meaning you would spend half your previous marketing budget to get the same number of leads.

Position yourself as a thought leader

This is another long game, but almost definitely a lot cheaper than hiring an external SEO agency. Blogs can drive traffic to a website. Take this blog article for example. We first published this in November 2019. five months later (at the time of editing), this website has received three leads from visitors who first came to our website via finding this article on Google or LinkedIn (Google Analytics tells us this).

Write some genuinely insightful content which your audience will be interested to read. Don’t always focus on selling your product or service. Offer a short promotion at the end of the article. If they don’t bite, they will at least be familiar with your brand, so the next time you pop up on their feed, they will think “oh, I know them”, which can put you ahead of your competition. You’ll notice I’m doing that with this article. I’m not directly selling anything, I’m offering free and (hopefully!) insightful information. If this article was along the lines of “buy our services, we’re amazing!”, visitors would click off pretty quickly.

This is a double win because creating content is naturally great for SEO.

Scorecards and quizzes

Scorecards and quizzes are a great way to engage with your audience, gather valuable data and promote your product or services. Whereas many people are put off by the constant barrage of direct product/service advertisements, they can be allured by the gamification of a scorecard or quiz. Successful scorecard campaigns we have run for our clients include “Are you earning the right salary for your experience and location? Take our scorecard and find out today” and “Are you overpaying on your Gas/Elec bill? Take our 2 min scorecard to find out”. By asking users to enter their email address at the start or end of the scorecard/quiz can lead to incredibly valuable data and sales opportunities.

A relevant scorecard/quiz, coupled with a social media campaign to promote it to your target audience can result in huge wins.

Video content

Think of this as a subsection of becoming a thought leader. Attention spans of website visitors is short and getting shorter. Many people don’t bother to read more than a heading on a website. But audiences are engaging more with video content. Here are a few examples of video content which you could create:

  • Stories
  • Product reviews
  • Rants
  • How to guides
  • Top 5…
  • Client testimonials
  • Animated infographics
  • Fun/comedy videos
  • Useful content
  • Interviews
  • Podcasts

“73% of B2B marketers report positive ROI results from video content.”


PPC goes hand in hand with organic SEO. You can generate quick wins by immediately getting to the first page of Google, but the cost per click (CPC) can eat you alive.

PPC can be an excellent trial for an organic SEO campaign. Before embarking on an SEO campaign for our clients, we will often run a one or two month PPC campaign to test the water. For example, we will pick a small selection of keywords in a small area of London with a budget of £500 for the month. After the campaign, we assess the number of visitors, leads and sales. If the results are promising, that’s an excellent sign than an organic SEO campaign is a smart move.

Google Retargeting

You’re casually looking at a pair of shoes online. You decide not to buy. The next day you’re reading an unrelated blog article… and there they are, winking at you from the right column of the blog, those exact shoes! But how? A coincidence? Surely not… No, it’s not. It’s Google Retargeting.

You can use Google Display Network to promote your advert to people who have, for example, taken the following actions on your website:

  • Visited your homepage
  • Visited two pages or more
  • Landed on your website using a particular keyword

This is generally recommended for B2C product-related businesses.

Social media adverts

Facebook and Instagram have rich advert targeting features, such as job titles, location, gender, hobbies, interests, and more. So you know your advert is going to the right people.

Compared to Google Adwords, Facebook/Instagram adverts are relatively inexpensive and can provide great value. They, of course, also allow you to use images which can really make your advert stand out from the competition (which is quite tricky on Google).

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a relatively new phenomenon in the digital marketing world. It seems like every man, woman and dog are at it. If you find the right influencer, someone who is recognised and respected by your target audience, then this should be considered as a viable marketing opportunity.

Don’t be deceived by the number of followers as this can easily be faked. Instead, look for high engagement and interactions. Request data from other campaigns. You should be seeking long term brand engagements, rather than one-off promotions.

There’s more to digital marketing than SEO

I’m not advising anyone to avoid organic SEO campaigns. If researched, budgeted and strategised correctly, they can be incredibly effective. In the world of tech startups, sometimes we need quicker and lower budget solutions as investors aren’t always that patient. I hope that some of these alternative digital marketing strategies have got your juices flowing.

If you would like to discuss your digital marketing strategies and options, please feel free to book a 30-minute strategy call with me.


SaaS marketing support for fast-growing, ambitious tech companies.


Tel: 0203 283 8613

Email: info@rocket-saas.io