Many business owners have a fascination with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). They are happy to spend money hiring an SEO firm to get their site on the first page of Google. Somehow, they believe that this is Internet marketing. Sadly, for most who do this, their investment in SEO does not pay off.
Unfortunately, these business owners come to realise that SEO does not equal sales after thousands of euro have been spent.
The truth is that SEO is only a small part of Internet marketing. Putting your entire Internet marketing budget into SEO is a major mistake.
Instead, you must allocate your budget according to how important the operation is to making sales.
Some might find this surprising, but I would rank SEO fourth on the priority list. Yes, I believe that there are more important strategies that work better when you consider your profits.
Here are the lists of Internet marketing strategies in sequence that I believe a business should undertake.
Conversion Rate Optimisation
The most important thing a business needs to do online is achieve a profitable conversion rate for their landing pages. This involves a number of factors like testing the right value proposition and optimising the page layout for collecting leads and making sales.
There are only two ways to making sales online. 1) Pure luck and 2) applying a framework to increase your conversion rate.
When you are optimising your landing page you are also making sales. In many cases, this service often pays for itself quite quickly.
Optimising the Effect of Paid Advertising
Paid search is the Internet marketer’s bread and butter. The main advantage of paid search over SEO is that you get instant results. This is extremely important when you are looking to make sales off the bat. It’s also essential for testing and measuring.
In a lot of cases, running a search ad campaign works out cheaper while also providing a better ROI than paying for SEO services. Remember, that SEO services often require a monthly fee to maintain search position. Business owners must appraise which is better for them.
Paid search ads generally converts to sales better than SEO. A major reason for this is that you can direct traffic to a sales optimised landing page. These pages are optimised for humans to buy stuff from and not for search engine spiders to crawl.
You see, sales pages don’t do well when it comes to SEO but with paid advertising you send the traffic exactly where you want them.
A recent example of a company being built on paid search is Groupon who may go public at a valuation of $25 billion. Their entire business was built on paid Google and Facebook ads.
A lot of the information you get from paid search can then be used to formulate an SEO strategy later on. It also can help you design other marketing campaigns in different media.
Build Great Free Content
Write an ebook, blog regularly, give away free content. This is a great way to get link backs organically. Most importantly, it establishes credibility for your business.
A major problem that I have with forced SEO is that link building and link exchange methods are on borrowed time as search engines put more emphasis on human activity on your site while reducing the importance of certain inbound links.
If your content is good enough it will spread vitally. People will link back to your site without you having to ask. This means that there is no need to spend hundreds of euro a month on “SEO maintenance” fees.
Once the above three strategies are in place and working you may consider hiring an external SEO firm. Just make sure it’s value for money.
Hiring an SEO firm without analysing a number of factors first, is a major mistake that you should avoid. Like any business decision you must look at the Return on Investment.
In summary, SEO is a strategy that will only work when you have your conversion rate and paid advertising optimised while having enough useful content that motivates people to tell their friends about your business.