Is SEO Worth the Expense?
Sticker shock. That is the experience of many small business owners when they see the proposed cost of an SEO campaign. Let’s unpack this. Some small businesses advertise by way of local business listings or diner placemats or local mailings. These are relatively low-cost options. They also have an exceptionally low conversion rate. That is, the number of people who respond and call or email from these low-cost options is small. Think about how many people will be spilling their soup on your diner placemat ad before one responds to the ad by calling or emailing. These types of outbound marketing techniques are still appropriate for some businesses but for many more businesses, leveraging the power of the internet will yield many more leads; and the leads will be better.
When someone uses a search engine such as Google or Bing to find the products and services your business offers, by definition, they are already interested in what your business can do for them. By contrast, most of the potential customers spilling their soup on your diner placemat ad were not looking for your company and probably did not notice the ad, and didn’t care that ketchup obscured the ad.
When potential customers search for and find your company without knowing the company name but only searching for your goods and services, they are already a much warmer contact than the diner patron who is ignoring your placemat ad. They are looking for what your business can offer. Why not make it easy for them to find you? “Inbound marketing” is a way to describe this monumental shift in promoting your business.
Instead of scattering your message far and wide in hopes of reaching some potential new customers, why not capitalize on the people who already want your goods and services? When people are searching, make it as easy as possible to be found! The key is to land on the first few pages of Google’s search results; ideally on page 1. Page 1 is prime real estate in the internet search neighborhood. When people search for goods and services, there is a much greater chance that they will click on the listings on the first page. If your website does not appear in the first few pages, then your website is not likely to bring in many, if any, new customers.
Consider this question: Which is better, 1,000 mostly uninterested people a day seeing your company’s ad on a diner placemat or 5 people a week already using Google to find what your business offers? While many more people will see your diner placemat ad, most of them are not looking for your company offerings (and they still need to remember to contact you because you cannot click on a placemat). But when a few people who already want what you offer take the initiative to find your business, even if only 5 per week, those website visitors are much more likely to contact you and do business with you than 1,000 patrons at the diner. In the world of sales and marketing, sometimes less is more, quality over quantity.
Having a few new potential internet search clients show an interest in your business each week is probably going to bring you more customers and sales than the scattershot approach of the diner placemat ads.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of convincing the search engines like Google and Bing that your website is relevant to keywords related to your offerings. It is a complicated and labor-intensive process and it can take months to get on or close to page 1. Most business do not have these skills in-house. To develop them in-house would require either diverting some current staff away from their existing tasks to learn and then manage your SEO activities or hiring new personnel. It can be a full-time job.
It is better to engage the services of an SEO consulting company that specializes in search engine optimization. Let the experts who do this all day every day help you. They will apply their professional and experienced eye to your website to make sure it is compelling to humans and friendly to search engines. It makes no sense for your website to be found in Google if the website is messy, unclear, and uncompelling to humans.
Your online marketing partner will work with you to determine the keywords that would be best for SEO activities. They will consider factors including but not limited to the breadth of your campaign (national or local), the services you want to promote the most, and the competitive landscape. Are your competitors down the street or across the country?
They will look at your website’s history and look for “toxic” links which will bring your search ranking down and keep you off page1. They will generate great content for your website and also for other carefully chosen websites as guest posts. They will create backlinks from relevant sites to your website. They will monitor your online marketing campaign and adjust as needed. They will report regularly and transparently so that you know where your SEO dollars are going.
Is SEO worth the expense? Is gaining high-quality leads for your business all day every day worth it? Sometimes one new client can cover a year of SEO services. It mostly depends on the products and services you are selling. Some businesses make money through many small transactions while others make money from a few larger deals. Some businesses using SEO report that the first sale of the month covers their SEO fees and everything after that goes toward profit. Is SEO worth the expense? If it is managed by a competent, professional, and effective SEO consulting company then yes, it is worth every dollar. Contact the NJ SEO consulting company Landau Consulting (www.landauconsulting.com) to learn if SEO can help your business grow. It doesn’t hurt to ask but not asking could let your competitors advance, leaving you behind.