SEO and AdWords – Why they are not enough for high-growth businesses

SEO and AdWords – Why they are not enough for high-growth businesses

SEO and AdWords: If you want to use the Internet to generate business, chances are, these are the first things that come to mind or the first things proposed to you by an agency / online marketer. For many, SEO and AdWords will generate great returns on an ongoing basis and all will be well in the world for a long, long time. If this sounds like you, then are you getting the most out of the Internet to grow your business?

The answer is no. A big FAT no and you could be resting on your laurels.

The good news is, you can accelerate the growth of your business but to do this, you must start thinking like your customers.

Currently, you likely see your customer acquisition funnel like this:

Searches Google > Clicks Ad/Organic Listing > Purchases

In actual fact, in many cases, it’s more often something like this:

Searches Google > Searches Google > Clicks Organic Listing > Searches Google > Clicks Ad > Social Media > Directly types in your web address > Purchases


Sees you on Social media > Searches Google > Social Media > Direct > Direct > Searches Google > Clicks Adwords Ad > Abandons Shopping Cart > Retargeting Ad > Email marketing > Purchases

This is what we call an ‘Attribution funnel’ and it’s the most misunderstood/overlooked aspect of digital marketing – in my experience. These examples are ACTUAL examples from clients I work with so let’s look at what this actually means:

Customers don’t always just find you and then immediately buy, instead, there are multiple ‘touch points’ (stages) throughout the purchase decision as a customer shops around or considers their purchase – your job is to make sure you are visible throughout this process in order to win the business and if you’re only using 2 channels (SEO and AdWords) then you’re going to be missing out SIGNIFICANTLY.

The awareness stage

Social media and ads in addition to any offline marketing work well to create awareness of your product/service and brand. This stage is the very beginning: At some point, a customer will develop a need for your product and service and if you’ve made them aware previous to this, you’ve really placed yourself in pole position.

For example: If you’re an accountant, creating ads targeting small businesses owners on Facebook with details of your services helps develop awareness of you to your potential clients before they know they actually need your services.

The consideration stage – Information and evaluation of alternatives.

SEO and AdWords help your visibility – they help ensure that you’re there when someone wants to find your product or service at the consideration stage and at this stage, many searches tend to be informational meaning. This means your potential customer is assessing a product/service in order to decide if it meets their needs before looking around at alternatives. Once this is achieved, they move onto to considering alternative products and suppliers and at this stage, you have the opportunity to help influence their purchase decision.

Influencing the purchase decision

Your potential buyer has found your product/service and is now looking at alternative options. During this process, there are a number of ways for you to influence them, including:

  • Retargeting: Showing ads relevant to the product/service as they visit other websites on the Internet (including Social Media)
  • Social Media: 74% of purchase decisions are influenced by social media so being active and visible is crucial: Social media ads and a strong social presence will help a potential buyer make a purchase decision
  • Email Marketing: A buyer may have started your checkout process and then ‘abandoned’ your cart to give further consideration. A well-timed email to tempt them back could be enough to make them convert
  • Reviews: Customers will often look for reviews on your product/service and whilst you may be attracting great reviews, are you promoting them?
  • Authority: Are you an authority or an ‘also ran’? Regularly creating blog content offering insight and opinion helps establish you as knowledgeable and trustworthy – amplifying this content using social media helps potential customers discover it and then use it as part of their purchase decision.

By reinforcing a consistent message which is targeted to the specific buyer relating to the product/service you are increasing the chances of winning their business.


After the above stages, your customer is ready to purchase. It’s likely, they’ll purchase from the supplier who does the best possible job of the above and if you’re only concentrating on SEO and AdWords and thinking: Searches Google > Clicks Ad/Organic Listing > Purchases then that’s not going to be you as often as someone else.


AdWords and SEO are two slices of a very big cake. The most successful businesses leverage SEO, AdWords, Social, Email Marketing and Offline and understand how each of these channels works together to increase your conversion rate and thus the rate of which your business grows.

If you’re not doing everything, you’re losing out to the competition who have already read a blog just like this one.