Why Do You Need SEO?
- SEO Is Not A Cost But An Investment
An investment with a high return. By tying in SEO to Web analytics data, you may observe certain keywords having great conversion rates for which you rank only on page #2 on Google and know that you’re leaving money on the table.
Lifting your rank to the top 3 spots on the first page, where most clicks go, can provide a massive return on your modest investment into SEO. It’s why SEO has been likened to investing in real estate – the returns can be truly stupendous when you get it right.
- SEO Turns The Spotlight On Your Sales Rockstar
And who would that be? Your website!
Think about it. It’s open 7 days a week, all year long, and never calls in sick or reports late to work. It does whatever it’s told to do, and pulls in sales, leads and opt-ins like clockwork. Your website is your ‘perfect employee’, multitasking effectively, tackling thousands of prospects at once, and only limited by what you ask of it.
Search engine optimization lavishes attention on your sales rock-star, generating the highest performance by giving it the right emphasis and focus in your marketing arsenal.
- SEO Is A Crucial Part Of Your Marketing Mix
If you’ve read my other posts here on Search Engine Land, you’ll already know that I’m clear about the importance of SEO for marketing any business. SEO is the master when it comes to pulling in prospects, and can help boost conversions too.
But I also believe that SEO is not the only game in town! SEO alone cannot help you reach your highest marketing potential. Social media, branding and other marketing strategies segue into and complement SEO, the combination strengthening and reinforcing each element to grow your business exponentially… faster.
As a manager or CEO then, your challenge isn’t about picking one over another, but how best to intelligently integrate SEO into your marketing mix to reap rich rewards.
And that’s why this isn’t a ‘battle between marketers’, with specialists in each branch trying to out-sell the other to their clients, but rather an opportunity for collaboration and partnership in leading a business manager or CEO towards the right mix of marketing services – including SEO – that will bring the highest cumulative benefit.
Instead of always “giving customers what they want”, it’s time to face the fact that, often, clients do not know how to select from the diverse options at their disposal.
As professionals, marketers and SEO consultants must not be dismissive or misleading about other specialties than their own, but instead help clients build the right foundation, mix and plan, and then guide them to effectively implement and manage the most cost effective, high-return strategies and tactics that are aligned with their overall business goals.
A part of the responsibility professional marketers share is to steer clients away from danger, or stop them from embracing populist tactics that will actually turn out to be a quagmire in which their business gets stuck, or quicksand into which it gradually sinks without a trace. In my opinion, ‘not telling the full truth’ is just the same as ‘lying’. This approach may not work for every company. Some might even frown at your desire to step outside your scope and field of expertise.
But for small and medium businesses and start ups, by adopting such an advisory/consultative role and offering professional advice, reaching out a helping hand to offer “business development” advice, and showing rock-solid proof to back up your offerings, prices and advice, you can go a long way in building trust. At that point, clients will be willing to follow you, even when you suggest an approach that points in another direction than what they believed would be the right choice.
It bears to always keep in mind that clients are buying a consultant’s expertise only because they don’t have it themselves, and therefore they are (logically) unable to ask for the “perfect offer”. Selling them whatever they ask for is often not in their best interests. And this is just as true for big brands with internal staff as it is for smaller businesses.
- SEO Impacts The Research/Buying Cycle
SEO will increase your sales without proportionately increasing your marketing costs, thereby growing profits exponentially and over time. SEO can further all your business goals at a better ROI than most other comparable forms of online marketing because of this fundamental effect of better conversions and more sales at little incremental cost.
Assuming that everybody has heard about your brand or thinks that you’re the best place to buy can be a very costly mistake. People are constantly researching good deals, and are using the social-driven Web for comparison shopping. And price conscious shopping behavior is more common in tough financial times, when consumers spend their money more cautiously.
SEO plays an important role in this research and buying cycle. It’s like a prospect magnet, attracting potential buyers to your website through critical and relevant keywords and phrases ranked high in search engines where searchers are already looking for information about them. It’s about being where your customers are, and directing them towards solutions you offer them.
- SEO Pricing Is Variable
There are no universal standards by which you can fix a ‘rate card’ for SEO services. Keyword analysis, link building and other SEO activities are unique, customized and tailored differently for specific situations. And even among SEO providers, there is a wide range in quality. There are seasoned professionals and there are scammers, amateurs and ignorant practitioners.
But as the person in charge of your company’s SEO, you are the most ‘dangerous’ person involved… because the responsibility for your choices rests on your shoulders! Before you pick the cheapest or most expensive proposal, the limited or more comprehensive one, the one from experienced pros versus an SEO-savvy cousin or friend.
As a specialized service, SEO involves teams of people working behind the scenes. Giving them a small budget practically ties their hands, and you cannot expect stellar results from their restrained effort.
If you are not yet convinced about the synergies involved and how these facets interact together, then don’t be afraid to ask for an SEO pre-analysis, even if it means paying a modest fee for it. That’s a safe investment and worth more if it convinces you about the real value in adopting an SEO strategy.
- SEO Is Never Too Costly!
Nowhere else in marketing is it likely to pay off by being a contrarian as with choosing the right SEO company. In comparing several companies, you’re often tempted to pick the least expensive pitch, while it may actually be a smart choice to pick the most expensive one!How? SEO is not a cost. It’s an investment. And even if the highest priced SEO company charges you twice as much as the rest, as a marketing manager or decision maker, you should look deeper into why they are so expensive. What makes them so confident as to pitch you with an offer others would toss into the dust-bin without a second thought?If the more expensive SEO company helps you reach your financial goals and growth targets in half the time at twice the price, is it really ‘expensive’? Let’s say I offer to pay you $4 for every dollar you give me, how much money would you give me today, assuming you’re convinced I won’t take your cash and run away?
That’s where SEO pre-analysis can help. If the study proves that your market is big enough to drive enough volume, the competition is weak enough for you to fight and win, and your experience with SEO consultants and SEO firms over time shows that you are getting a larger amount of targeted traffic from their efforts. If this traffic converts at a high rate into sales and profit, then the impact on your business from this SEO campaign will be responsible for well more than “4 dollars for one” over time.
Is it time, then, to step back and take a harder look at the allocation of your marketing budget? Should you be looking to reap the potential of SEO, and grab the low hanging fruit within your easy reach?
This isn’t an emotional decision. It’s based on logic and hard data. ‘Costly’ SEO is like buying an automobile. Why does a Ferrari cost more than a VW Beetle? There are many good reasons and similar ones apply to SEO.
- SEO Isn’t Icing On The Cake – It’s An Important Ingredient
Ok, now that you’ve spent a fortune on your new website (and it looks great!), the last thing you want is to listen to a consultant who asks you to invest even more money to be visible on search engines.But Google needs help in understanding your business. SEO that’s effectively woven into your site’s DNA can help showcase your business on search engines in the best possible light.As an SEO consultant, I get called in by companies that have built a “state of art” website and want SEO slapped on it. But that isn’t how it works. You don’t bake your cake first, and then pour beaten eggs over it, or sprinkle sugar on top. No. You mix those ingredients in with the batter itself.
Taking SEO into consideration even while planning your website structure, content management system (CMS), URL syntax, and Web design gives the best results for your business. It can help you map old URLs to new ones, tailor your landing pages to user intent, lead prospects along a ‘buying slope’ and preserve old rankings that took years of work to achieve.
While an SEO consultant can help you (a lot) even if you started in the wrong order, it will take more time, more effort, more money, and some major restructuring work to get it done later on.
- SEO Is More Than Just SEO-Friendly CMS
So your CMS vendor told you it was SEO friendly and optimized? Don’t be fooled. That isn’t all the SEO you need. Not by a long country mile! They should know (by now) that SEO is not only about code. Google doesn’t look for ‘code’, it looks for ‘content’.There are over 200 ranking factors, and algorithms change many times every year. CMS code is just a fraction of the whole. By providing the right framework for your site, an SEO friendly CMS can help. But it takes a lot more to dominate search engines.Chief among those ‘other things’ is content. Content is king. The devil is in the detail – keywords, neighborhood, and your overall marketing mix. Your CMS has little to do with these. You wouldn’t buy a great frying pan and food processor, then hope they’ll magically turn you into a Michelin star chef!
SEO isn’t new. Yet many CEOs and managers haven’t formally been taught the importance of good SEO for online business. Yes, CMS vendors may misguide and mislead. After all, this is a highly technical and sophisticated marketing technology, and if you can’t wrap your head around it, you are not alone.
But if you ask the right questions, you’ll win through in the end.
- SEO Can Multiply Your Impact
How much did it cost to print your visiting cards? Or your marketing brochures? I’ll bet it wasn’t much compared to how much you invested in your website.Did you carefully proof-read those cards, brochures or flyers before sending them off to the printing agency (or get someone else to review it for you)? I’ll bet you did.But you didn’t have a search specialist “proof read” your expensive, infinitely more powerful marketing tool – your website – before you launched it!
Would you design and order all those visiting cards and brochures at considerable expense, and then just lock them up in a shelf? Of course not.
By ignoring SEO, that’s exactly what you’re doing with your fancy new website. A website that could have been viewed by thousands of your best prospects and ideal clients. A website that you’re now leaving to the whim and fancy of Google to rank at its will.
Just because you own top of the line printing equipment, would you print your business cards yourself? No, I’m sure you don’t. You probably order them from a professional company with long experience with printing.
SEO is your digital calling card. It can multiply your impact massively by getting your website in front of targeted eyeballs. There’s good reason to have it handled by professionals who know their job.
They will ensure that your website appeals to the right audience, and gets viewed by a wide segment of it, so that your digital visiting card best performs the critical task your business assigned to it – getting qualified leads and converting them into cash-spending customers.
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