What Industries Shouldn’t Invest in SEO Content?

Content-centric SEO requires an investment like all other digital marketing efforts. So, who shouldn't invest in the marketing strategy?

Marketer analyzing content-centric SEO for their business

One of the most effective ways to build a brand is by focusing on the intersection of SEO and content creation.

We refer to this as “SEO content” or “SEO-centric content marketing”.

It works like clockwork:

  1. Find topics your most likely customers research before buying
  2. Create content about those topics
  3. Rank in search engines for those topics
  4. Potential customers come to your website in droves
  5. You build a relationship with those visitors and sell to them.

Our team specializes in this intersection of SEO and content.

We see it work wonders for growth-minded brands every day.

But content-centric SEO isn’t right for everyone.

Three types of businesses should question this marketing channel.


What Industries Should Second-Guess Search-Centric Content?

  1. Enterprise industries with informed buyers
  2. Businesses that rely on ad revenue for “quick answer” content
  3. Industries that are driven by impulse buys, habitual purchases, or influence from those in your network.

Enterprise Industries with Informed Buyers

Second-guess search-centric content if you work in enterprise sales and the buyer is extremely informed on the subject matter

The foundation for a great SEO-centric content strategy is identifying educational topics your customers regularly search for online.

These topics will include introductory concepts like “different types of disability insurance” or “popular wedding color themes.”

Now, picture you’re selling enterprise compliance software to Fortune 500 brands. Assume the average client spends $2 million/year for software like yours.

Chances are, the Chief Compliance Officer won’t be going to Google to search for themes like: “What are the benefits of compliance software?”

Writing and ranking for this theme won’t get you in front of the decision maker.

Where could SEO content provide value to this business?

One strategy this enterprise compliance software company could pursue is trying to sell up the chain.

Picture this: you’re the head of compliance for a massive company.

You’re second-guessing the current compliance software. But you don’t have time to research every compliance option.

Instead, you put your executive assistant in charge of researching ten alternatives, getting a demo of each, and picking the top three options for you to review.

So now, an executive assistant is trying to learn the basics of business compliance. They’re searching Google for the basics to help their boss determine which software company to give $2 million/year to.

All of a sudden, those “What are the benefits of compliance software” queries become much more valuable.

These businesses should look at the Total Addressable Market for Search (SEO TAM) to decide if putting some money into search is worthwhile.

However, most of these enterprise businesses shouldn’t invest in SEO-centric content.

Most of these businesses will see better results investing in attending trade shows, speaking at conferences, and targeted paid ads on platforms like Capterra and G2 (as well as the larger PPC channels: Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and Google Ads). Focus on those channels first.

Businesses that Rely on Ad Revenue for “Quick Answer” Content

Picture the typical article that shows up in search results when you Google “Will True Detective release a new season?” or “How old is Tom Hanks?”

Most of these articles give you a long-winded answer. Most of these could be shortened to a paragraph.

These sites have lost significant visibility with the rollout of Google’s Featured Snippets. I suspect this loss will become even more significant as Google continues to roll out its Search Generative Experience.

Where could SEO content provide value to this business?

Quick answer content sites can still be a viable strategy if you can to spin up these types of sites quickly and are searching for short-term revenue from search.

As the market opportunity shrinks, many of these businesses will go under in the coming years. If you can build a website and create better content than your competitors at a lower price, you could outlast the competition and take a larger percentage of the shrinking market.

Industries Driven by Habitual/Impulse Buys

If you were to build a cola competitor, SEO likely wouldn’t be the right approach to take market share from Coke.

For Coca-Cola, purchases are primarily driven by:

  1. Habit — most people have a strong preference for Coke or Pepsi
  2. Impulse — buying an ice-cold Coke when walking past a vending machine on a hot day
  3. And ease of access — if you’re craving a cold, sweet beverage, Coca-Cola can be found in every store.

Very few people purchase a Coca-Cola because they read a blog article about how much better it is than Pepsi.

If you were to launch that cola, identify a specific audience you want to target, identify 5-10 influencers that the target audience follows, and do a paid sponsorship with them.

AG1 (formerly Athletic Greens) has sponsored the Joe Rogan Experience, Huberman Lab, and many other podcasts, not to mention all of their Instagram and TikTok sponsorships. They’re my favorite example of a brand that crushed it with the sponsorship approach.

AG1 changed its domain in the summer of 2023. Here’s a snapshot of their estimated monthly organic traffic before that domain migration:

athletic greens organic traffic over time

They generated massive traffic from SEO (seeing an estimated 400k organic sessions/month in the U.S. in May 2023).

But how much of that was driven from content?

Search traffic started to take off for them in January 2022. Here’s a snapshot of their top rankings during that month:

athletic greens jan 2022 rankings

Every keyword in the list includes a variant of their brand name. Put another way, 90+% of their organic traffic was already coming from people who already knew about their brand.

“Athletic greens rogan” was their second-best keyword.

Put another way, people weren’t learning about Athletic Greens from a search engine. They learned about Athletic Greens from another source and went to Google to find the AG1 website.

Where could SEO content provide value to this type of business?

AG1 could have taken a portion of its podcast budget and invested it into health-centric content. AG1 invested $2.7 million in March 2022 alone on podcast sponsorships.

Imagine if they spent $10k/month in content-centric SEO. That’s a rounding error for their business.

They could have written about the benefits of each ingredient in their formula.

“Spirulina” alone sees 107,000 searches/month in the U.S.

spirulina SEO value

Ranking 1st for “spirulina” would bring them 25k monthly visitors from search engines.

That’s no Joe Rogan podcast sponsorship, but it’s pretty damn good for being a rounding error in a marketing budget.


So, Which Industries Should Avoid SEO Content?

None.

However, some industries should prioritize it less than others.

  1. If you sell an enterprise product/software, focus on conferences and PPC before SEO.
  2. If you rely on ad revenue from search engines via short-form content, determine whether you’re comfortable entering the race to the bottom. If not, diversify revenue or shift your business model to more in-depth content.
  3. If you sell a product focused on habitual/impulsive purchases, focus on influencer marketing first and then funnel a small portion of your marketing budget to test out content marketing.

Curious to learn more about how SEO-centric content marketing could help your business? Contact us today to schedule a complimentary strategy session.

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What Industries Shouldn’t Invest in SEO Content?