SEO Should Still be at the Top of the List
Businesses seem to spend a lot of time, resources, money and effort on designing and developing a website and fail to spend as much time on their online marketing initiatives. Driving traffic to a website is challenging enough, let alone retaining and converting visitors into buyers or subscribers. That's why deciding on a marketing channel is an important decision as any.
Deciding on where to spend the marketing dollars is not an easy choice. There's affiliate, blogging, display, email, mobile, pay per click, social media and search engine optimization (SEO), to name a few.
The type of business, industry, business model and, of course, budget have a lot say in this decision. However, one could argue that SEO would be a good channel to start with. Let's examine a few supporting points.
1. SEO is both art and science. Meaning, it allows us (the business owner) to examine our marketing message, keywords and competition. Other channels don't off an in depth look at these areas.
2. Search Engines is the starting point to the worlds information. Yes, social media is picking up steam in knowledge sharing but search engines provide a comfortable user experience coupled with high quality search results. Surveys show that ~ 65-70% of searchers are more likely to favor natural search listings when seeking information or purchasing a product or service.
3. There are a bevy of tools that support SEO efforts. For example, after launching a website, Google's Webmaster Tools is the logical next step and perfect complement to improving your site's visibility, identifying site errors and understanding keywords. There are also a number of page ranking, keyword density and competitor related reports available at no or little cost.
4. ROI for SEO can be in the thousands of percents. No joke. SEO can help you build traffic levels in a cost-effective way versus, say, pay per click or banner advertising where keyword bids or impressions may be costly over time. Besides, very few websites are in the business of driving traffic short term so if you take the long-term approach then your return on investment will eventually start to grow.
5. There's a lot of cross over into other channels. Working on SEO allows you to venture into the world of content writing, social bookmarking, directory submissions, article writing, blogging, press releases, forum posting and more. The end result of this overlap will drive incremental traffic and build up relevancy via external linking.
6. Numbers speak for themselves. According to IAB/PWC Internet Advertising Report, search represented 45% of the overall advertising revenue in 2008.