First, what is SEO? We have several posts in a category titled SEO and Marketing, but what exactly is SEO? Search Engine Optimization, and in short it means, knowing what search engines like Google and Yahoo look for and adapting a website to meet that standard. There is a lot of debate in our industry about whether SEO is even worth investing marketing dollars in. The main question then, is “what do I get for my money?”
Many SEO companies will promise you number one placement for your chosen keywords. What you need to know is that you may not stay there for very long. If you want to stay there, that requires an ongoing investment. One of the biggest problems with SEO as a marketing effort is that search engines are constantly changing how they index sites. They have sophisticated algorithms that determine how sites will be listed, and those algorithms change all the time. In order to stay ahead of the game it is necessary to constantly keep up with as much information as you can about how sites are currently being listed. That can get expensive if you have hired someone else to do it for you.
SEO is a good principle to follow, but it’s not an area you will want to focus your efforts on when developing an online marketing strategy. Our favorite strategy, pay-per-click advertising. From Google to Facebook and a plethora of other providers, pay-per-click marketing campaigns are a simple and cost-effective way to get the word out about your product or service.
Among the benefits of pay-per-click programs, especially with a site like Facebook where they gather very specific demographics about their users, is target marketing. You decide exactly who will see your ads. For example, if you are selling an anti-aging cream you don’t want to post your ad on the page of a teen looking for the newest movie release. You would target your ads to women, 35 or older. This allows you to reach only those who would be most likely to have interest in your product.
Another benefit is that pay-per-click campaigns can generate traffic almost immediately. Once you create your ad, it’s posted quickly and potential clients begin to see it right away. If you decide to make changes to the ad, you can make them and repost right away. This offers the kind of flexibility that traditional advertising obviously cannot. Once an ad goes to print for a magazine, there can be a substantial waiting time before that ad actually gets seen by consumers. Changes to the ad cannot be made after printing, what you print is what you get.
The final and most important benefit is cost-effective marketing. Pay-per-click ads are usually very inexpensive to run, and charges are only generated if a site user actually shows interest in what you’re selling. In traditional advertising, you pay a flat fee and hope that consumers show an interest, but it’s hard to track and you end up paying for many impressions that never become sales.
With small and mid size companies trying to scale down their marketing budgets, while maintaining their return on investment ratios, it is increasingly important to look for effective strategies for getting the word out. Make sure you’re getting the most for your money.