Including products or services you don't actually offer...

25 replies
Let's say you run a hardware store selling

wheelbarrows
hammers
screwdrivers
adhesives
drills

But then you do you research and you discover, that

lawnmowers
garden lighting
saws

are coming up an awful lot in keyword research tools.

But if your store does not actually sell lawnmowers, garden lighting or saws. Should you include them anyway for the sake of SEO?
#including #offer #products #services
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Originally Posted by sierracharlie View Post

    Let's say you run a hardware store selling
    wheelbarrows
    hammers
    screwdrivers
    adhesives
    drills
    But then you do you research and you discover, that
    lawnmowers
    garden lighting
    saws
    are coming up an awful lot in keyword research tools.
    But if your store does not actually sell lawnmowers, garden lighting or saws. Should you include them anyway for the sake of SEO?
    You've got it backwards. If you're running a store, you should actually be stocking what people are searching for - not listing phantom keywords.
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    • Profile picture of the author sierracharlie
      ok, lets say you don't make any profit on lawnmowers, garden lighting or saws. Let's say there is demand but little profit.
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      • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
        Originally Posted by sierracharlie View Post

        ok, lets say you don't make any profit on lawnmowers, garden lighting or saws. Let's say there is demand but little profit.
        I know what you're trying to get at, but if it were my business, I'd want to stock what my customers expected to find. If I couldn't make it pay, I'd first look for another source of supply. Then I'd consider my overall margins. If those in-demand items were dragging them down, maybe I could make up the shortfall on other lines. Ultimately, I'd have to decide whether I was in the hardware business or not.

        What I wouldn't do, is start playing around with keywords for products I had no intention of providing.
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  • Profile picture of the author AuthorityRush
    Then why not just become an affiliate for those products. I'd say try it, test it and see if it brings in more income or hurts in any way. But just TRY yourself and see what happens. You can always revert back.
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Wedding dresses comes up more times in searches than lawnmaers. You gonna sell 'em too?

    I'd pay attention to what Frank said.



    Originally Posted by sierracharlie View Post

    Let's say you run a hardware store selling

    wheelbarrows
    hammers
    screwdrivers
    adhesives
    drills

    But then you do you research and you discover, that

    lawnmowers
    garden lighting
    saws

    are coming up an awful lot in keyword research tools.

    But if your store does not actually sell lawnmowers, garden lighting or saws. Should you include them anyway for the sake of SEO?
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  • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
    I agree 100% with Frank's response.

    I would only add that perhaps you shouldn't limit your product research to "keyword research tools".

    The implication in your example (or at least my interpretation) is that you are selling physical products with limited profit margins, inventory carrying costs, shipping costs, etc. You might want to validate the results obtained from a keyword research tool by testing the suggested terms in an actual search engine (i.e. Google, Bing, etc.)
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    Sid Hale
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    It's why you always want to define and understand what your target market wants. Marketers that choose their products first have it backward . . . and as a result, they often list and market things for sale that don't sell well - or even at all.

    Find and understand what your target market wants, find solutions or products that they're already looking for, and offer those solutions in a helpful way that gives value to the buyer. Regardless of the niche, if you do that you'll be ahead of most all the over sellers in your marketplace.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author sierracharlie
    ok, I'm actually in the service business.

    Here is my problem, we offer 7 out of 10 services. The other 3 we can supply but it is too time consuming and really interrupt our workflows.

    If I mention only 7 services on my homepage well that is going to put me at a distinct disadvantage right?
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Without knowing the services, hard to tell.

      If you are a mortgage broker and you only do jumbos, you're at a disadvantage in terms of what you offer. However, you can do wonders with positioning if you only do jumbos (or reverse mortgages or 203k's).

      Don't know about mortgages? How about car insurance... do you have to sell business insurance? Dental insurance? Home insurance and car insurance together makes sense....

      Do you have to appraise 1-4 residential properties if you're an appraiser or can you only appraise industrial properties? You're at a disadvantage in terms of the number of people who need your services if you only do industrial, but you can make a lot more money if you only do industrial and position yourself accordingly.

      So, it do depend, but (usually) specializing helps.

      The thing is, what do people expect and can you position yourself better if you eliminate some?

      Originally Posted by sierracharlie View Post

      ok, I'm actually in the service business.

      Here is my problem, we offer 7 out of 10 services. The other 3 we can supply but it is too time consuming and really interrupt our workflows.

      If I mention only 7 services on my homepage well that is going to put me at a distinct disadvantage right?
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    • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
      Originally Posted by sierracharlie View Post

      ok, I'm actually in the service business.

      Here is my problem, we offer 7 out of 10 services. The other 3 we can supply but it is too time consuming and really interrupt our workflows.

      If I mention only 7 services on my homepage well that is going to put me at a distinct disadvantage right?
      That depends...

      Are you also going to mention "wedding dresses"?

      ________________________________________

      There are literally THOUSANDS of "services". Are you also going to worry about being at a disadvantage because you don't mention those other 9,990? You're not listening, and making this all a lot harder than necessary.
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      • Profile picture of the author sierracharlie
        Guys, I'm referring here to general search terms. To use Dabk's example.

        If there are two insurance brokers in Manhattan.

        On the website of Battery Park Insurance Inc they mention:

        house
        car
        hospitality business insurance
        retail insurance

        But on the website of Central Park Insurance Inc they mention :
        House
        Care
        Aviation
        Maritime
        Cyber
        Travel
        Flood insurance

        All things being equal, (content etc) which broker is going to rank higher for the search term "insurance broker manhattan"?

        ps: we'll deal with the wedding dresses some other time...
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        • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
          Originally Posted by sierracharlie View Post

          Guys, I'm referring here to general search terms. To use Dabk's example.

          If there are two insurance brokers in Manhattan.

          On the website of Battery Park Insurance Inc they mention:

          house
          car
          hospitality business insurance
          retail insurance

          But on the website of Central Park Insurance Inc they mention :
          House
          Care
          Aviation
          Maritime
          Cyber
          Travel
          Flood insurance

          All things being equal, (content etc) which broker is going to rank higher for the search term "insurance broker manhattan"?

          ps: we'll deal with the wedding dresses some other time...
          Depends...

          Have you actually done a search for "insurance broker manhattan"?

          That search phrase returns 1,170,000 results in Google.
          The #1 position is occupied by a page on indeed.com that provides job listings in the insurance industry.

          Insurance Broker Jobs, Employment in Manhattan, NY | Indeed.com

          That page is NOT ranked #1 because it lists any of the terms in your example.

          You made the assumption of "all things being equal"... but they are NOT - and the "mention" of one or all of the products/services is of little/no consequence.

          You should have (at least) one page for each service that you offer. That page should focus on that particular service, and doesn't have to "mention" any of the other services. Each of those pages will rank, for the most part, independently, and you should optimize each one accordingly.
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        • Profile picture of the author DABK
          That's not a useful way of looking at it.

          If you create a page for each term and if you link from each of the pages with insurance broker Manhattan as anchor text to the page for insurance broker Manhattan, you get an advantage if you have more pages (especially if you set up a silo structure).

          Just mentioning more services in the industry is not that useful.

          If I were you, I'd raise the prices on the ones the services that drag me down, create pages for them for my silo structure, and, should someone like my too high prices, I'd sell.

          Like John said, if you advertise them and you don't sell them, it looks odd.

          To gain an advantage, look into silo structure for SEO (Yukon on this forum has some good posts about it... from a while back) and get more backlinks. Also, don't forget to be active on social media, don't forget your google my business page, don't forget to collect reviews, and so on.

          Originally Posted by sierracharlie View Post

          Guys, I'm referring here to general search terms. To use Dabk's example.

          If there are two insurance brokers in Manhattan.

          On the website of Battery Park Insurance Inc they mention:

          house
          car
          hospitality business insurance
          retail insurance

          But on the website of Central Park Insurance Inc they mention :
          House
          Care
          Aviation
          Maritime
          Cyber
          Travel
          Flood insurance

          All things being equal, (content etc) which broker is going to rank higher for the search term "insurance broker manhattan"?

          ps: we'll deal with the wedding dresses some other time...
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by sierracharlie View Post

    ok, I'm actually in the service business.

    Here is my problem, we offer 7 out of 10 services. The other 3 we can supply but it is too time consuming and really interrupt our workflows.

    If I mention only 7 services on my homepage well that is going to put me at a distinct disadvantage right?
    It's only going to put you to a disadvantage with the people looking for those three services. People not looking for them aren't going to care, and aren't going to search for them.

    So you aren't going to lose anything with your ideal customers/prospects.

    Contrast that with the hit your reputation would take if you do a bait and switch on services you don't want to provide.

    Back in the olden days, when keyword stuffing and such worked, it was common for some pages to use either invisible text or text the same color as the background, and at the bottom of the page add terms like "celebrity nudes, Celeb X topless, etc." People would see these come up in the serps and click through, hoping to find out if their favorite fantasy girl's carpet matched the drapes. When they found out that the page was actually about lawnmowers, they hit the back button. Yes, the keyword spammer got a click, but it did them no good.
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  • Profile picture of the author sierracharlie
    well it's either

    a) loose ranking in the SERPs

    OR

    b) when I customer phones asking do we supply X service. I have no problem saying "not anymore, sir ". This is what my competitors are up to.

    I run my business honestly, but I hate loosing business because of a technicality with Google - that is annoying.

    If I don't mention those 10 services which Google deems as the "customer intent", they do drop you down in the rankings right?
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    • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
      Originally Posted by sierracharlie View Post

      If I don't mention those 10 services which Google deems as the "customer intent", they do drop you down in the rankings right?
      NO.

      You won't rank at all for the three services that you don't offer (nor for wedding dresses, for that matter), but it won't affect your rankings for the seven other services at all.

      Each of those services is a separate search term. (No one is going to search using all 10 of the services in their search phrase), and your site/page will be ranked separately (and differently) for each phrase (service).


      credits: DABK's use of the "wedding dresses" example was very appropriate to your situation.
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  • Profile picture of the author sierracharlie
    I am really thinking about people who type in a search term like "hardware store manhattan"

    I could be wrong but my understanding is this: When somebody types in a generic search term like that. The Google Algo has, let's say, a checklist of 10 items that are sold in a hardware store". All else being equal (content, metatags, etc) Those vendors who appear to supply these 10 items will rank the best. Is this a wrong assumption?
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  • sierracharlie,

    Find out how you can offer those products that people want.

    Chris
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    • Profile picture of the author sierracharlie
      Chris, we can offer them but they are not profitable! The clog our workflows.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by sierracharlie View Post

        Chris, we can offer them but they are not profitable! The clog our workflows.
        Another option, then, is to bump the prices for those services until they are profitable. Then you can truthfully say that, although they are not in your core offering, you can accomodate them at a premium. The reason for the premium is that, because they are not your core services, you have to add on for the inefficiency involved.

        Yes, I can hear you already, "But we have to match prices with our competitors or we lose business."

        Maybe.

        Or you could lose business by playing bait and switch to impress Google.

        I also think you are giving Google too much credit, as Sid's post alludes to. For very generic searches, like "insurance broker manhattan", you are assuming that G discerns an intent to buy insurance, and whoever lists the most services, wins. As the results quoted show, that's not necessarily true.

        If I found you on a search for a service you don't offer, and you told me "we don't offer that anymore", I'd wonder why you're still advertising it. None of what I came up with would be in your favor. Either you're sloppy in your advertising (leaving service pages on your site even though you no longer provide the service), or you're trying to trick me with a bogus listing. Neither inspires confidence.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ivan2b
    Try not to have this situation... Your website value will go down if you actually promote or place something what you do not have. It is important that your SEO is synchronized with the things which you already have on your website.
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  • Profile picture of the author Maxxx333
    I don't know why you will like to include them only on your list, as for me i think you should try to stock them, cause as they are asked, then you can then make some money on them, more than wasting your time posting them and trying to solving issues regarding them, instead of working on the real goods you can offer.
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    • Profile picture of the author sierracharlie
      Max, its a service. As with any service-based business, services take time to deliver. Time is a commodity in business.

      BTW, I don't consider researching SEO a waste of time at all. It is crucial for any business owner to know about SEO - whether they take the DIY route or outsourcing route.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by sierracharlie View Post

        BTW, I don't consider researching SEO a waste of time at all. It is crucial for any business owner to know about SEO - whether they take the DIY route or outsourcing route.
        The trouble comes when you start losing track of WHY you're doing SEO.

        It's not to get a high ranking - that's just a means to an end.

        It's not to get the most clicks - that's just a means to an end.

        It's to get leads, convert those leads to prospects and then convert those prospects to profitable customers.

        Generic terms like "insurance broker Manhattan" are less likely to accomplish what you want to accomplish. Here's a clue why - what if you were an insurance broker in Manhattan, Kansas? Do you still want clicks for leads in a New York borough?
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    Originally Posted by sierracharlie View Post

    I am really thinking about people who type in a search term like "hardware store manhattan"

    I could be wrong but my understanding is this: When somebody types in a generic search term like that. The Google Algo has, let's say, a checklist of 10 items that are sold in a hardware store". All else being equal (content, metatags, etc) Those vendors who appear to supply these 10 items will rank the best. Is this a wrong assumption?
    Yes. This is a wrong assumption. Google is not determining that a hardware store has to sell X,Y, and Z, and if they are missing Z than they are not as reliable as Store B which does offer all three. That is just totally wrong.

    Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

    Another option, then, is to bump the prices for those services until they are profitable. Then you can truthfully say that, although they are not in your core offering, you can accomodate them at a premium. The reason for the premium is that, because they are not your core services, you have to add on for the inefficiency involved.

    Yes, I can hear you already, "But we have to match prices with our competitors or we lose business."

    Maybe.

    Or you could lose business by playing bait and switch to impress Google.

    And this. If you really believe you must mention those other services, then price them at a point where they are profitable and worth your time.
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