SEO is a vital part of a modern digital marketing strategy, but for some industries, it requires a special approach. Knowing what types of businesses may struggle using a more traditional method is imperative to offering the right products and services for your clients. We’ve found client types that may seem tricky to tackle, as well as ways to help them shine.


What kinds of business may struggle with traditional SEO?

First and foremost, let’s define what we mean when we talk about “traditional SEO.” Optimization has a lot of specialized options, but generalized practices are focused on ranking for specific keywords. Generalized SEO may not include services in a focused location or for a target audience.

There are three main business models that may be the worst industries for SEO, mostly because they have a tendency to struggle with traditional SEO methods. These industries either require incredibly focused keywords, or are attempting to tap into markets that are hard to crack.

Fast Food Chains

Creating an SEO campaign for a fast food chain can be difficult for lots of reasons. Branches experience heavy competition, usually from their own brand. As part of a larger corporation, an establishment may also lack a defining identity, and therefore struggle to set themselves apart from other locations.

Multi-level Marketing Retailers

Multi-level marketing businesses (commonly known as MLMs), are notoriously difficult to market with SEO. Due to the high likelihood of duplicate content from other independent distributors and the general market oversaturation, even sophisticated SEO techniques can fail. MLMs are also a precarious business model, so even if SEO does succeed for a few resellers, there’s no guarantee the business will be here to stay.

Unique-Use Products

While Shark Tank may have popularized the need for makeup foundation spatulas and porcupine dog vests, if you’re trying to market a product with a unique or highly specialized use, traditional SEO can be tricky. While you may have less competition for a product that’s original, low search volume for particular keywords could pose a problem for traffic and sales.


I support customers in one of the industries you mentioned. What am I supposed to do?

When we say that SEO may be difficult for a particular industry, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. With the right strategy, you can still find success for certain keywords and products as you service your clients. Here’s how.

Pair SEO with other marketing tactics.

SEO works best when it’s done in tandem with other marketing efforts. Here are a few that may help.

Events and community outreach. If you’re supporting franchises, hosting events specific to your location can prove beneficial. By setting a client apart from other similar locations (including those that are part of their parent company), you provide a new service to customers, making yourself the obvious option when they could choose between several.

PPC campaigns. Lots of marketers are curious to know how a PPC campaign can influence SEO efforts, and vice versa. Turns out, you should use them together for the best results. (We wrote about why that’s the case here.) If you can, offer SEO and PPC as a package deal.

SEO on social media search engines. While Google makes up the bulk of the search engine queries, social media is quickly emerging as search engines in their own right. In fact, Amazon is actually surpassing Google when it comes to product searches. Targeting customers on specific apps like Amazon Prime or Facebook can bring in revenue a general Google search-focused campaign may not.

Focus on local SEO.

If SEO is still your primary offering, there are ways to conduct successful campaigns. It starts with knowing the difference between general and local SEO.

Searches containing “near me” have risen 500% in the past few years, making it the secret weapon for many an SEO campaign. Instead of attempting to help your client target general keywords for their industry, start focusing on how they meet that need in their own neighborhood. Turn your client into the Spider-Man of their industry—friendly and based in the neighborhood.


How do I know what to offer a client?

At the end of the day, a quick and easy way to know if your client will need a more specialized approach is to calculate the ROI. ROI is notoriously difficult to determine for SEO campaigns if you’re going off of profit alone. Instead, identify how your clients would benefit from the other important selling points of SEO, including

  • getting spotlighted as a featured snippet on Google for targeted keywords
  • increased brand awareness

If you can demonstrate why SEO is valuable even though it cannot promise instant results, your clients will be more willing to take the longer—and eventually more profitable—path.


How can Boostability help?

As the world-wide leader in white label SEO, we know the inherent power of small businesses. By partnering with us, we help you discover the best web solutions to your clients’ marketing troubles, even for industries that seem like a challenge. With services that include everything from keyword research to content creation, we’re positive we can find an option for your business. Contact us to learn more about how we can tackle even the worst industries for SEO and make them profitable.


Koa is the Director of Business Development at Boostability. With a Bachelor Degree in Business Management, Koa has been directly involved in business development and sales for over 16 years. Koa specializes in identifying partnership opportunities and connecting partners to help elevate their SEO strategies, scale their business and SEO initiatives, and deliver effective initiatives that drive growth to their clients. In his spare time, Koa's favorite thing to do is play tennis (usually 4-5 times a week). He regularly competes in USTA tournaments and is a 4.0 rated USTA tennis player.