Question: Is SEO a long-term process or can there be a quick fix solution?
Before all you SEOs raise your hand with the answer, lets take a minute to analyze the basis of the question for all the small business owners out there.
A lot of businesses are looking for ways to grow their companies without increasing long-term costs. They want profits, and in order to be (and remain) profitable, they have to keep expenses down to a minimum as much as possible. After all, the more you spend, the less profits you have in your pocket, right?
This is an unfortunate mindset when it comes to SEO and SEM. Instead of looking at them as an investment that will grow their businesses, owners hope that both SEO and SEM can provide quick-fix solutions that will bring an influx of new customers and soaring profits. And somehow, magically, that influx is expected to stay strong, even without any ongoing marketing efforts.
I got two words for you: Coca-Cola.
Or Pepsi Cola.
Or Target Stores.
When did these guys stop advertising? All are well-known brand names and very few people are in danger of forgetting that Coke continues to make cola. Should Coke (or Pepsi, or Walmart or Target) stop their marketing efforts, nobody would forget to go to those stores or buy those products.
Or would they?
These companies continue to advertise for one reason only: it increases their profits. They just don't advertize once or twice, or for a year or two. They continue to advertize year after year after year to make sure people keep them in mind when they do their shopping. They know that when the advertising stops, sales decline. That's the bottom line.
I often talk to business owners that want to invest temporarily in their SEO or PPC efforts. They want to start strong then scale back or eliminate the "expense" down the road.
That's just crazy talk!
The question to ask is, if you're profiting with PPC on each and every click, why cut it? Sure, you can get "free" clicks in the natural results via SEO, but why cut out one profitable stream just because you opened another? The problem with PPC as a temporary strategy is that you're looking at the expense, rather than the ROI that it brings.
If all you see is the $5000 per month credit card charges in ad spend, that can be daunting. You can be tempted to think, "I can't afford this $5000!" But if that $5000 in ad spend is bringing you $10,000 in profits, you really can't afford to stop. Sure, you'll "save" $5000 per month in expenses, but you'll be losing $5000 each month in profits.
Killing profitable PPC can really hurt your business. If your PPC campaign isn't, or is barely, profitable, perhaps you need someone else to manage it for you. How you manage your PPC campaign can make a HUGE difference in your profits.
But SEO is really a perpetual process of researching keywords, finding problems and making your site more search engine friendly and keyword focused.
Here are some pros of a deliberate short-term SEO campaign:
Here are some cons of a long-term SEO campaign:
When looking at your SEO and SEM efforts as an ongoing investment, you can get out of the mindset of "cost" and look at the return on investment each will bring. If the return is profitable, then any cut into the "cost" of your online marketing will only result in a cut in your profits.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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