Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a hot topic. How do you get found amid a sea of other websites out there? There are three main ways that you can get found online. The easiest way (please be clear, I did not say best!) is to buy Pay-per-click advertising. The second easiest way (again, not best!) is to hire a firm that specializes in SEO and hope they can get you listed where you want, without getting you blacklisted. The third way is go do good old fashioned content publishing. Let's take a quick look at all three methods.
First, look at our chart of how advertising and branding works for lead generation over time. When the advertising or SEO campaign stops, the leads fall off.
#1 - Pay-per-click Advertising & Advertising
Pay-per-click (PPC) and advertising are certainly methods that can be used.
- Pro - it is a quick fix for getting seen on the first or second page of search results
- Con - it is expensive and doesn't last long for the money spent. Doesn't last long is enough of an understatement as to be misleading. Once that click occurs, your chance is gone. Even TV and Radio spots have a chance for "brand recognition" to occur. The minute you stop spending money, the traffic will drop dramatically.
#2 - SEO Firm Help
You can hire a firm to help optimize your website to try to win the search terms that you are looking for
- Pro - it is a quick fix compared to generating content of value
- Con - it is expensive and doesn't last long for the money spent.
You need to keep spending the money because without generating content consistently, you are just "tricking" the search engines and looking for loopholes. The issue is that the search engines get smarter and close those loopholes so that you need to keep spending money to stay on to. Most SEO firms use sufficiently dated techniques so that their methods are totally irrelevant, and sometimes harmful. Google and Bing both continuously optimize to minimize the effectiveness of most of the common SEO techniques. The new models require different work, different and more staffing, and most SEO firms simply can't/won't adapt.
#3 - Publish Great Content
The best way to rank high is to publish tailored content. Most people are going after highly sought after words that are hard (and expensive) to get. However, if you go after less sought after words and succeed in getting traffic, then you get a better search engine ranking. As you increase your ranking, the more difficult words become easier to get because you will have more authority. Read our blog post on Content Based Search Engine Optimization and get more information on how small successful steps leads to getting great rankings for SEO.
If you look at our chart for content, notice that content keep generating leads long after it is published.
- Pro - Contents lasts for longer than advertising or SEO games. Content can continue to generate traffic realistically for 12-24 months (assuming it is not time sensitive)
SEO stays relevant and done, and only erodes when:
- Another entity competes better than you for a key phrase or localized area
- Google/Bing changes the factors.
- NOTHING is done for a long period of time- wherein a long period depends on the industry. Hourly if you are competing with ESPN, Monthly if you arer a VAR partner
- Con - it takes time energy and resources to produce good content (everything of value costs time and/or money)
The summary is that it probably costs the same amount of money to do advertising or hire an SEO firm as it does to produce great content. If you don't have an unlimited marketing budget, content is a better spend day in and day out.
The one caveat is that content should always be skewed to your WOW (a.k.a differentiation). If you don't have a WOW, please, please, please get/find/create one. Marketing and sales are 200% easier if you have WOW.
(note: Thanks to our friend Dawn Westerberg for sharing her views on the time/value of marketing tactics - she provided us with the seeds on which this idea grew)