What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of fine-tuning elements on the website to maximize the site’s potential to rank well on Google, Yahoo, Bing and get more website visitors. The SEO process includes researching how people search for keywords important to your niche, and how your direct online competitors rank. Based on these findings we then create a gameplan to outrank your competition for the strategically important keywords that bring in the most traffic to your website.
As there are tens of thousands (sometimes even millions) of websites competing each other to get in the coveted Top 10 on Google (aka. Page 1 ranking), making it in the top 10 is anything but easy. If your site ends up on #1 on Google/Bing, that means that about 70% of all people who searched for that phrase will come to your site.
If 1000 people searched for say “SEO consulting services”, being #1 on the list means your site gets 700 visitors, which can mean tons of new clients. The good thing about SEO is that once you achieve high ranking, you’ll reap the benefits for years.
What is PPC?
Pay Per Click is paid advertizing on search engines like Google or Bing. This is also known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM). With PPC you pay for each visitor that comes on your website from a Google search. You basically pay Google to place you in a separate field (usually in the right column, separated from the actual, aka natural search results). With PPC you see immediate results, but you also lose them the moment you stop paying Google/Bing to place you in that right column. With PPC you only purchase your popularity. You don’t really get to build a brand that will attract people.
To put it in more tangible way, PPC is like leasing a parking slot in a soccer stadium. You park your ice-cream truck, pay the stadium owner for the lot, and he gets you all the customers you can get. But the moment you stop paying, you get kicked out and literally go out of business.
This paid advertizing is a numbers game. If you have tons of cash and you’re willing to pay dozens, even hundreds of dollars for every customer you get, then SEM can make a lot of sense. The danger here is that you can start bidding for the wrong keywords, which is very easy to do. Bidding for the wrong keywords can literally be flushing your cash down the tubes. This is why it is critical to get professional advice. Usually SEM consulting costs thousands, to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the data pool. But it is the difference between success and a very expensive failure.
The benefits of both SEO and SEM are obvious. Your site gets good exposure, which means more visitors on your site, which in turn means more potential clients.
- I already have a website, why do I need SEO?
A website is like a horse. It can be the best breed out there (i.e the best design) but if it’s not trained to jump hoops and run faster than the competition, it won’t be a winner horse. Same with your website. SEO is not a part of the site, it’s a process of improving the website to perform like a winner horse, one that you can rely on to generate leads for your business.
- My designer said the SEO is built-in and I don’t need any extra SEO. So do I need SEO or not?
Keeping the analogy of the horse, it can be of good breed but as Mozzart said, success is 1% tallent and 99% work. Well the built-in SEO is the 1%. You have to get the extra 99% with proper SEO, which is an ongoing work done not by designers but by SEO professionals. SEO has nothing to do with designing or development of the site. It’s a separate profession. With a toothache you go to the dentist, not the surgeon, and vice-versa.
- Can I do my own SEO with the proper training?
Of course you can. Question is, do you want to run your business or learn how to do SEO. Bottom line is that everybody can do SEO, just as anyone can learn to be an engineer or a kung-fu master. The question is can you afford the time and energy to learn all that instead of focusing your attention to money-making activities.
- I do paid ads. Do I need SEO too?
Paid Ads, especially Google Ads are directly tied to your website’s SEO profile. Websites with lower SEO rank pay more for the ads compared to a better-ranking website. So at the very start the odds are stacked against a low ranking website. You’d need a lot more money to compete with properly optimized websites.
On the other hand, SEO and Paid Ads go hand in hand. They supplement each other. You can consider them like the two wheels on a bike. Both are needed for you to have a smooth ride.
- I already have an SEO expert who keeps updating my site as Google changes their algorithm. Is this enough?
It is unfortunate that many people in their desire to make a living jump into the SEO industry without really understanding the philosophy of ranking. Keeping the toothache analogy, chasing algorithm changes is like drinking pain killers instead of fixing the real problem by going to the dentist.
Properly done SEO is pro-active. You start with research and analysis, you build a strategy, and implement it regardless of temporary changes Google does. With a proper strategy SEO Always works. It’s similar to getting set up with a long-term investment strategy in a company that makes steady and relentless profits on the long run. Those who want to get rich quick will never understand this.. and never make it in the online world.
- I manage my own PPC. Why would I need a consultant for that?
Paid Advertizing, or PPC, or SEM, however you want to call it, is a numbers game. So fine-tuning your paid advertizing engine on the long run will save you tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars, and these are not imaginary numbers. We’ve helped businesses who have full-sclale marketing teams on board, and we still managed to optimize their PPC profiles.
In one instance we helped a client cut over 60% of their PPC budget while losing only 2% of the leads. This brought down their Cost Per Lead by several hundred dollars. With an economy of scale, a lead that’s $300 cheaper can mean the difference between a thriving business and a bankrupt business.
- I have a checklist and online calculator that helps me do my PPC planning. Is this enough?
Yes and no. It’s a good thing to educate yourself of the basics of PPC, but you need to also know that your business is unique because of your style of working, your location, and your target audience. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to planning and running a successful PPC campaign. You have to let your PPC numbers speak, and for this, you need Data Analyst skills. And since you’re spending money every day, it makes good business sense to hire a PPC consultant to help you get more results with less spending.
To find out more on Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing contact us directly to get specific SEO and SEM info for your line of work.