Open Source 7 Sep , 2013
People reached out with new questions, and shared challenges they faced along the SEO sales process, as they struggled to convince internal managers and CEOs about the value of optimizing for search engines, and getting them to expand their marketing budgets for SEO.
Those questions and issues are addressed in this article – beginning with the most compelling reason why buying SEO is such a good idea.
An investment with a high return. By tying in SEO to Web analytics data, you may observe certain keywords having great conversion rates for which you rank only on page #2 on Google and know that you’re leaving money on the table.
Lifting your rank to the top 3 spots on the first page, where most clicks go, can provide a massive return on your modest investment into SEO. It’s why SEO has been likened to investing in real estate – the returns can be truly stupendous when you get it right.
If you’re not quite sure if SEO can deliver on the promise, you can have your SEO consultant simulate or forecast both expenses and projected income before you invest big money into it. Your simulation report will cover competition analysis, market size studies, trends and future predictions, and more data that will help you make an informed decision.
3. SEO Provides Endless Opportunity
SEO is a continuous process. It’s like the machinery you use to drill for oil, or mine for gold. You’ll need more powerful equipment if you are to go through granite or hard rock, your engines will require frequent maintenance, and the drill-bit may get worn out and need replacing from time to time.
4. SEO Impacts The Research/Buying Cycle
SEO will increase your sales without proportionately increasing your marketing costs, thereby growing profits exponentially and over time. SEO can further all your business goals at a better ROI than most other comparable forms of online marketing because of this fundamental effect of better conversions and more sales at little incremental cost.
Assuming that everybody has heard about your brand or thinks that you’re the best place to buy can be a very costly mistake. People are constantly researching good deals, and are using the social-driven Web for comparison shopping. And price conscious shopping behavior is more common in tough financial times, when consumers spend their money more cautiously.
SEO plays an important role in this research and buying cycle. It’s like a prospect magnet, attracting potential buyers to your website through critical and relevant keywords and phrases ranked high in search engines where searchers are already looking for information about them. It’s about being where your customers are, and directing them towards solutions you offer them.
Misconceptions about SEO abound, and this excellent book called “The Art of SEO” has really great examples. Some popular myths include:
Nowhere else in marketing is it likely to pay off by being a contrarian as with choosing the right SEO company. In comparing several companies, you’re often tempted to pick the least expensive pitch, while it may actually be a smart choice to pick the most expensive one!
How? SEO is not a cost. It’s an investment. And even if the highest priced SEO company charges you twice as much as the rest, as a marketing manager or decision maker, you should look deeper into why they are so expensive. What makes them so confident as to pitch you with an offer others would toss into the dust-bin without a second thought?
If the more expensive SEO company helps you reach your financial goals and growth targets in half the time at twice the price, is it really ‘expensive’? Let’s say I offer to pay you $4 for every dollar you give me, how much money would you give me today, assuming you’re convinced I won’t take your cash and run away?
This isn’t an emotional decision. It’s based on logic and hard data. ‘Costly’ SEO is like buying an automobile. Why does a Ferrari cost more than a VW Beetle? There are many good reasons and similar ones apply to SEO.
Ok, now that you’ve spent a fortune on your new website (and it looks great!), the last thing you want is to listen to a consultant who asks you to invest even more money to be visible on search engines.
While an SEO consultant can help you (a lot) even if you started in the wrong order, it will take more time, more effort, more money, and some major restructuring work to get it done later on.
So your CMS vendor told you it was SEO friendly and optimized? Don’t be fooled. That isn’t all the SEO you need. Not by a long country mile! They should know (by now) that SEO is not only about code. Google doesn’t look for ‘code’, it looks for ‘content’.
There are over 200 ranking factors, and algorithms change many times every year. CMS code is just a fraction of the whole. By providing the right framework for your site, an SEO friendly CMS can help. But it takes a lot more to dominate search engines.
Chief among those ‘other things’ is content. Content is king. The devil is in the detail – keywords, neighborhood, and your overall marketing mix. Your CMS has little to do with these. You wouldn’t buy a great frying pan and food processor, then hope they’ll magically turn you into a Michelin star chef!
SEO isn’t new. Yet many CEOs and managers haven’t formally been taught the importance of good SEO for online business. Yes, CMS vendors may misguide and mislead. After all, this is a highly technical and sophisticated marketing technology, and if you can’t wrap your head around it, you are not alone.
But if you ask the right questions, you’ll win through in the end.
How much did it cost to print your visiting cards? Or your marketing brochures? I’ll bet it wasn’t much compared to how much you invested in your website.
They will ensure that your website appeals to the right audience, and gets viewed by a wide segment of it, so that your digital visiting card best performs the critical task your business assigned to it – getting qualified leads and converting them into cash-spending customers.
Would you trust another agency to write your door sign, or decide what goes on your visiting card? Will you allow your competitor to design your display ads, or decide who sees your storefront?
The good news is that once you’re aware of this, it’s easy to fix. SEO hands you back the controls, so you can steer your business along the right path.
Are you engaged in social media like Facebook? SEO plays an important role here. Content shared by users on social networks are directly related to SEO specific parameters like title tags and meta descriptions. This is what you see when people share posts and stories on their Wall, Google+ profile, or in a tweet or share.
Your website is the first point of contact with your audience online. It can generate leads, qualify prospects and attract potential new customers, partners or investors.
But unless people can find it, your website is good for nothing. SEO plays an invaluable role here.
SEO gets your business found, noticed, and loved.
Great SEO demands more than just coding skills and a search-friendly CMS. It’s no longer something a tech-savvy cousin or well-meaning friend can fix up for you over a weekend, for a couple of beers. Professional SEO is serious business.
SEO is like a heart surgery. If organic search is responsible for more than half of your website’s traffic, SEO lies at the heart of your business. Without a good heart surgeon you could die.
SEO can make your brand stronger, better and well recognized. The eventual goal should be that, when people search for business critical and relevant keywords and phrases, they should find you at the top of search results. Then, psychology takes over and prospects will believe that you’re the best.
But being there is only part of the puzzle. You need more. You must get inside the heads of your prospects. Speak their language. Feel their pain. Present them with a solution. Once you do, your credibility with your audience skyrockets.
We intuitively sense that a #1 ranking indicates top class. An athlete who wins the gold medal is a champion. Silver and bronze winners are runners-up. All the rest are ‘also rans’… and no one cares about them!
On the off-chance that you’re running a healthy business even without good search engine visibility for your high search volume keywords, then imagine how much more money you could make when you rank for them and reach those extra customers and make more sales. Remember… if you’re not there, your competitors are, ready to take your money!
Branding is often complex, costly and chaotic. You throw many things at consumers, hoping enough will stick in their minds and be recalled when it’s time for a purchase. SEO can help accelerate your branding campaign and make you memorable.
SEO can deliver quick results. It can be effective in the short term and help businesses who need results now. And that’s the primary appeal of SEO to certain types of business owners. But SEO has one serious advantage over other marketing with a ‘short term’ focus… it delivers an ongoing ROI over the long term also.
Again, this isn’t an expense, but an investment. A quick and simple calculation will show you how quickly you’ll earn back your investment into effective SEO by way of increased earnings.
Good SEO starts with smart purchasing decisions. Today, more sales offline are driven by research initiated on the Web. A WebVisible/Nielsen study in 2008 found that 86% of consumers use the Internet to find local businesses from which to buy offline. Yes, in the store!
SEO is highly targeted, down to minor details. Using keyword analysis, you can find just how big a “market” is, how many people are searching for that exact keyword, how competitive the arena is (in SERPs), and with some keen deductive reasoning, even identify the intent behind keyword searches.
Every element of your SEO can be measured, evaluated and corrected. By doing this continuously, you can find out your return on every SEO dollar invested.
Remember what Al Ries and Jack Trout highlight in their timeless book, “Marketing Warfare” – Marketing is a war! And just as you won’t think about going to war without conventional weapons, you can’t enter a competitive market armed only with a tommy gun!
At the same time, using old fashioned weaponry will only prolong the suffering and lead to an inevitable defeat. You need powerful, state of art, effective weapons to win. And in the digital battleground, cutting-edge SEO will give you an edge.
Over years, SEO has been proven to be one of the most cost effective forms of online marketing, delivering a higher return for every dollar invested into it over time.
Your Web hosting, design and content creation expenses are similar, whether your site is visited by one hundred people, one thousand, or one million.
An SEO company will work 24/7 with SEO, all year long. That’s what gives them an edge over hobbyists. They are up to date with the newest algorithm changes, negative and positive ranking factors, and know what’s needed right now while being proficient at predicting what will be needed in the future.
And who would that be? Your website!
Think about it. It’s open 7 days a week, all year long, and never calls in sick or reports late to work. It does whatever it’s told to do, and pulls in sales, leads and opt-ins like clockwork. Your website is your ‘perfect employee’, multitasking effectively, tackling thousands of prospects at once, and only limited by what you ask of it.
Search engine optimization lavishes attention on your sales rock-star, generating the highest performance by giving it the right emphasis and focus in your marketing arsenal.
Maybe you already use Google Adwords (or other PPC advertising) very successfully. Even so, it’s paradoxical that SEO, which drives 75% of search traffic, garners less than 15% of an average SEM marketing budget, while PPC that provides barely 25% earns 80% of it.
An exclusive focus on PPC ignores the large hidden component of the iceberg that’s search traffic. Just think about it. If dominating the source of one-quarter of overall traffic gives you such excellent rewards, how much better will they get when you also control the rest?
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