Why Organic SEO Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be
You're sometimes told that you'll get more visitors to your website if you just do good SEO. This SEO is supposed to land you a top position in the search engines. That, in turn, turns on the fire hose of traffic to your website.
Good in theory. How does it play out in practice? Well, for some, it doesn't play out well at all. For others, organic SEO has become essential for the survival of their website. In both cases, it's dangerous to put all of your eggs in the Google (or Bing, or Yahoo or...) basket.
For starters, organic SEO is only as good as the algorithm that underlies the search engine you happen to be listed in. Once the algorithm changes, your search engine rank may change. Moving just one position could cut your traffic in half. Ouch. That's not a recipe for a stable business model.
Secondly, SEO takes a long time to work. You can't throw up an ad and gets customers next week with organic SEO. You can with paid ads.
Thirdly, it's time consuming. Even though you might think that paid advertising is time consuming, organic SEO is more so. You have to have a good understanding of how search engines work, or be able to hire an honest SEO company to help you optimize your website and get noticed on the web.
Before the Internet, companies didn't just rely on foot traffic. They put ads in papers, magazines, and went door to door. Why? Because passivity does not lead to success. It really works the same way on the Internet. Even though organic SEO seems to involve a lot of work, it really involves a lot of "tweaking" to stay on top of the search engine's changes. It's unpredictable at best since you're always making changes after the fact in response to updates in the algo.
With marketing and ad-buying, you're boosting traffic to your website using proven direct marketing tactics. Incidentally, in the old days before Google, this was how it was done. Banner ads were commonplace. So were text-links and other forms of advertising. It was only after Yahoo came on the scene did people start getting lazy. By the time Google arrived, webmasters got it in their heads that buying traffic wasn't necessary.
Wrong. Buying traffic is always necessary. You either pay for SEO or you pay for ads. Either way, you pay. Now, it's not like you shouldn't do organic SEO or that organic search is useless. It's not. It's just one piece of the puzzle though. A well-rounded campaign will include elements of social media, organic SEO, and paid search.
A lot of small businesses fear pay-per-click marketing or any kind of paid advertising on the Internet. They fear that it takes up too much time, is too expensive, and that it's just too complicated. This is according to a 2007 Microsoft adCenter study. The study was done in the UK, but it highlights some concerns that many small business do have.
In the study, 44 percent thought paid advertising was too time consuming, 56 thought it was too expensive, and 33 percent thought it was too complicated.
A full third of the participants thought online advertising was too complex to undertake. Wow. That's incredible. While some companies do make it very difficult to advertise, not everyone has a complex scheme. Some companies allow geotargeting so that you can specify users from a specific area of the world. You might even be able to specify certain cities, depending on the ad broker.
When starting out, choose a company that makes buying traffic simple. Test the waters with a small campaign. If it's successful, increase your ad budget. If things become too complicated, hire a marketing manager. After all, if you find yourself spending a lot of time putting together advertisements and setting up profitable campaigns, you can probably afford to hire someone to do it for you and that's not a bad thing.