When beginning an SEO strategy, it is important to have realistic expectations. Unlike some Internet marketing initiatives where results are more or less instant, such as pay per click, SEO is very much a long term strategy, but don’t let that detract from its overall value. SEO is a long term investment, but for a small business, SEO is the one of the smartest investments you can make.
The difficulty of attaining high search engine rankings are exactly what makes them so valuable. As I discussed previously, SEO rankings cannot be purchased or negotiated, they must be fought for and earned, which takes time and skill. However, once high rankings have been achieved, you can rest easy knowing that they cannot be simply bought out from under you. Those coveted rankings are yours until somebody else manages to put more skill and effort into SEO than you have, but you won’t let that happen, right?
Most forms of Internet marketing follow a roughly 1 to 1 relationship between money expended and results. With pay per click advertising, there is a set price you must pay to show your listing. Granted there are fluctuations in the prices of keywords over time, but a declining price is nearly always indicative of declining value of a keyword, and vice versa. What you pay is what you get, and once you stop paying, you stop receiving.
In sharp contrast, returns from a successful SEO strategy increase over time, but usually money expended stays constant. This is because SEO rankings build on themselves overtime, and the difference in value between a few ranking positions is exponential. And unlike pay per click positions, SEO rankings don’t go away as soon as you stop paying for them.
Recently, one of the higher ups at a client’s company was doing the perennial pruning of costs, and my client asked for help in justifying the expense of the SEO program I was managing for them. The main concern was that the pay per click program they were simultaneously using was bringing in a bit more traffic. I immediately set to work proving my worth.
With the help of Google Analytics and few custom reports, I supplied my client with some numbers to help make her case to her boss. And it was a very strong case. While PPC was bringing them more traffic, each visitor was costing them $12, whereas each visitor who arrived through SEO cost them a mere 50¢. Also, 60% of the visitors brought by PPC left immediately (bounced), which was much higher than the 35% bounce rate for SEO visitors. In addition, SEO visitors viewed on average 3 more pages then PPC visitors, and they spent longer on each page. So to sum it up, SEO was bringing them higher quality traffic for a fraction of the cost. After presenting these figures to her boss, the company decided to stop their costly pay per click program and focus the extra resources on SEO. Smart choice.
A successful SEO program will take time to start showing results, but the return on your investment is exceptional. Every day you put off setting up your SEO plan is another day your business misses being exposed to millions of potential customers. So what are you waiting for?