Which is smarter — investing your ad budget where someone “might” look or investing it where they “do” look?
Which is easier? Trying to divert someone’s attention to your business when they’re focused elsewhere or grabbing their attention when they’re looking for what you do?
Which is cheaper? Spending $1,000 to get 1,000 visitors to your site right now or spending $1,000 to get 500 visitors per month to your site for the next six months?
All else being equal, the smarter, easier, cheaper solution to getting prospects to your website is search engine optimisation, or SEO. Why? Because the best time to be found is when someone is looking, and the place they look is on the first page of Google.
So why haven’t you hired an SEO expert? Here are some of the objections I encounter when discussing SEO with prospects, and my answers.
“I don’t understand SEO.”
I don’t understand taxes. Or why my washing machine makes funny noises. That’s why I go to an expert I trust.
“My Web designer said they did that ‘search engine stuff.’ ”
If your Web design company understands how search engines work, then yes, your “onsite” optimisation is probably just fine.
But that’s usually not enough; external factors such as how many other sites link to yours play an even bigger role. Most Web design companies don’t do that type of SEO work.
“My Web designer didn’t say anything about it.”
They probably hoped you wouldn’t ask.
“I just assumed my site would pop right up; that’s why I had it built!”
Most Web designers are just that — designers — not search engine experts. They do what they’re good at, which is building you an attractive, organized site that provides information about your company.
Getting that site to rank in Google is not part of the job description. Much SEO work is done after a site is finished, by a separate company or expert.
“I’d rather stick with what I’m doing now.”
If it’s working well for you, congratulations! But you’re not interested in more business? Just last month, there were 720 searches in Google for some variation of “chiropractor” in Columbia, 320 searches for roofing, 18,100 for apartments, 4,400 for real estate and 390 for plumber. You don’t want to reach those prospects?
“My site is ugly/outdated. No sense doing it now.”
Start your SEO while your site is being redesigned. By the time it ranks well, the new version will be live.
“It’s too expensive.”
Only if the profit is less than the cost, right? If you could spend $1,000 to get a client worth $4,000, would you do it?
Also — let’s compare SEO costs to costs such as Adwords, Google’s pay-per-click program. SEO costs vary, but let’s say you’re a chiropractor, and you’ve budgeted $500 per month for six months to get your site ranking higher. That’s $3,000 total.
Google’s estimated average cost-per-click for “chiropractor Columbia MO” is $4.38. That means every time someone clicks on your ad, you’re charged that much money. If 720 people click on your ad, that’s $3,153.60 for one month — or $18,921.60 total for six.
And although SEO should be seen as a continuing expense, results usually last a long time. The initial push to get the site to rank is usually the longest, most expensive part; it’s easier to keep a site ranking high than get it there.
“SEO takes too long. I need customers now.”
Yes, getting your site to the top might take some time. But there are ways to speed up the SEO process, and I might be able to get your Google Places listing on Page 1 within a week. And if you don’t get started, you’ll never get there.
“I don’t know who to trust.”
You might have heard stories of “black-hat” tactics that get your site banned from Google. Look for proof of expertise, ask for references, and if you don’t know SEO, make sure you have a friend on the Web who does.
“I tried SEO. It didn’t work.”
Maybe you hired an SEO company before and were unimpressed by the results. It’s hard to say why; perhaps the company didn’t know what they were doing.
Maybe you didn’t run your campaign long enough; the sites you need to beat might be pretty firmly entrenched.
If your site is new, it takes time, work and a smart strategy to outrank an older site with lots of pages and backlinks (Get massive backlinks).
Your SEO person has no way of predicting, either, what Google will do, your competitors will do or even what you will do. I’ve had clients make website changes that mess up what I’m tracking. One even deleted a page I was building links to.
Your website cannot generate a profit for your business if your prospects aren’t finding it. Assuming you have a good offer, getting a prospect to your site is one of the best investments you can make in the growth of your business.
Shift your marketing budget around a bit if you need to, but make SEO a priority. What are you waiting for?
Diana Ratliff has been involved in Internet marketing since 1999 and operates YourFriendOnTheWeb.com, a local Web design and marketing business. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Diana Ratliff at email@example.com.
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