There is a worrying misconception that SEO costs nothing. Now this shows a misunderstanding on what SEO truly means. I can tell you that it’s not about tagging. In fact, your keyword tags don’t matter at all.
In order to do SEO correctly, you need high quality content like articles, ebooks, videos and a great blog. Over time, more and more people will see these, and if they believe that the content is good enough they will link back to it.
That’s the holy grail – link backs. Now, I’m not talking about link exchanges. I believe these are bad for your site. I am talking about people linking just because your site is that good. Human activity on your site is another thing that’s becoming more and more important in SEO. How many people like a page of your site on Facebook? How many comments is there on a post? Is there much buzz on Twitter about you? etc.
In order to generate the content needed you must spend roughly 3-4 months on average in “content mode.” When in “content mode” you are not in sell mode. You are developing the interesting content that will be the cornerstone of your SEO strategy. How much does 3-4 months cost. Well say the equilivant of 2 people working at a reasonable rate of €4,000 euro a month. That’s €8,000 euro a month and over 4 months that’s €32,000.
That doesn’t guarantee you anything, and you have to keep updating. Now, imagine spending that €32,000 on Google and Facebook ads. You can see the benefits of doing this, for an Irish SME. The most important factor is that you are immediately in “sales mode” so you are taking in cash and making a profit.
Another positive of Google and Facebook ads that really suits SMEs is that you spend what you can when you can. However, there is specialised work in landing page optimisation and bidding for keywords. This has to be factored into the costs of an ad campaign. How much would it cost you for one skilled employee for at least one months work? If they are not skilled in Internet marketing add €2,000 – €3,000 in training costs.
All in all, it’s a blend of both methods that works best. I always advise company’s to start with online advertising but to constantly develop SEO material so that, over time, they have a considerable portfolio of useful content that is getting likes and links all over the place.
By focusing on the fundamentals, you will not get caught out by a change in Google ranking policy.