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Search Engine Optimization

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Search Engine Optimization = New Advertising Avenue
By Andrew Gerhart - September 17, 2001

The advertising agency has been one of the many victims affected by the faltering economy and growth in Internet usage. The advertising agency is currently seeing the second decline in the industry in 40 years. Print advertising has been hit the worst, with the decline floating somewhere around the 2.9% mark, which equals to about $8 billion.

Ouch! But, I have no sympathy for the majority of the advertising companies.

The reason I can't sympathize with the advertising companies that are losing money is because they are not being creative enough and exploring all of their options. Search engine optimization (SEO) could be the new way for the advertising agencies to keep their clients happy, and money coming in, while the print advertising continues its decline.

It has been seen in numerous studies and research that the most effective form of online marketing is search engine optimization, and yet, the advertising agencies that offer online services usually participate in banner exchanges and things of this sort.

Doesn't make much sense to me.

There are currently over 160 million Internet users, and it has been researched that 90% of all users, (experts and rookies), will find the website they are looking for through a search engine. With these statistics holding true in the current market, it is possible to triple or quadruple the traffic to your website through an effective search engine optimization plan.

Definitions of advertising:

v. tr. - To make public announcement of, especially to proclaim the qualities or advantages of (a product or business) so as to increase sales.

v. intr. - To call the attention of the public to a product or business.

n 1: a public promotion of some product or service

Hmmmmm…. it seems as though that the following is true: search engine optimization = advertising!

SEO is the process of building, changing, and tweaking a website so that it will receive good rankings within the search engines, and in turn become more visible to the millions of Internet users. If the purpose of advertising is "a public promotion of some product or service", then SEO should be the newest thing that the advertising companies should be offering their clients.

If you have a website and it is not optimized for the search engines, then it may have been just as effective to take your money and flush it down the toilet. A website that is not visible to the huge amounts of Internet users is the equivalent of having a star wide receiver but no quarterback: there is no delivery.

I can only speak from my point of view, but if I were in the advertising industry, I would be looking for new avenues to explore that the competition doesn't…. something to keep the clients excited about the ad firm. SEO is the key. SEO can unlock the door to the millions of Internet users.

There are other advertising advantages that optimization has, and one of them is the ability to reach your target audience. Nike advertises in Sports Illustrated, and with good reason. The main reason for this is so that they can capture their target audience and promote their product to someone who might be interested. SEO has the same effect. A client that hires an optimization company can specify their "keywords" which can then be the main goal of the optimization campaign. The result of a properly executed SEO campaign should be the website showing up in the top 10 for the specific keyword search in the search engines results that the website was optimized for.

Another advantage to search engine optimization as an outlet of advertising or another form of advertising is that you can achieve branding.

Definitions of Branding:

(tr.v): To impress firmly; fix ineradicably:

If a search engine optimization campaign is launched for a website to gain visibility and rankings, and the proper maintenance is done, the website will stay at the top of the rankings for as long as the maintenance is done. If there are 1,000 searches a day for that particular keyword and your website is seen as #1 everyday for 8 months, the users will begin familiarizing your company name with the market or industry.

Let's compare the financial investment that is taken for each. An investment for a ¼ page color advertisement in a well-circulated magazine with good ad placement within the magazine for 3 months, will cost you anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000. This does not include the costs of advertisement production, photo shoots, or the fee that is paid to the advertisement company. This cost also does not insure the placement of the magazine on the newsstand. What if 8 other magazines have covered the magazine?

This is why search engine optimization is such an appealing alternative to print advertising, or an extra avenue of advertising. The price of an effective SEO campaign, while dependent on many factors, will be a fraction of the prices mentioned above. You can be sure that the target audience will still be reached, and the problem of placement within the newsstand is eliminated as well.

Even if the price was the same for a 3 month long advertisement and having your website optimized for the search engines, the longevity of each is not even in the same range of comparison. The advertising campaign will last for 3 months, and then it is done…period. On the other hand, SEO, when implemented properly and without using spam techniques, can last for periods of time that will long outlast this period of time.