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SEO & Marketing and How They Go Hand in Hand

Posted on January 01, 2014

You're thinking about SEO all wrong...

When small business owners think about SEO, they think "a way to get me higher in Google".  Yes, technically this is correct - But it is also grossly misguided.  Think about this: are these your costs?

These are pretty typical business expenses, but there is one big reason why SEO appears at the end of the list, and why it shouldn't even appear on this list at all - Because SEO is marketing.  SEO costs should really be falling into your marketing budget, but right now it probably appears as the lowest priority expense as it isn't being classified properly, and beyond that there is also ambiguity about what it is or what it can truly achieve.  Now I am not going to try and convince SEO is worth spending money on, I simply want to point out the value and correct assignment of costs that you might have missed.

SEO = Marketing

SEO is not a separate activity from marketing - It is marketing.  SEO is also not magical wizardry that gets you ranking higher in the massive black box called Google.  SEO should be viewed in the same respect you view PR, placing ads in magazine or on TV, etc.  It's another form of marketing that has a distinct effect on your Google rank, which is important for driving business online - Much like the 6-8pm time-slot on TV has a distinct effect on people's dinner-choices, which is important for driving business through restaurant and fast-food doors.

So now you know SEO is actually marketing, it makes you think about it slightly differently, doesn't it?  Suddenly SEO isn't this ambiguous expense with no measurability.  If it is still a little ambiguous though, read on…

"How do I know SEO will give me results?"

You don't.

Oh sorry, did you want me to give you another answer?  No I'm not going to lie to you.  So if you can't guarantee results, why would anyone do it?  Well let me ask you this question instead:  Are you guaranteed to get any buyers from a TV ad campaign?  From a letterbox-drop?  How about from the biggest billboard on the busiest freeway?  There are never any guarantees, it comes down to your marketing message and whether people want your product in the first place.  One can assume that if you're in business still, then people are at least buying your products, so that's a good first step.  Now you just need to think about the marketing message if you really want results…

SEO is the best marketing you can do. Period.

Biased?  Not at all, I have just used a majority of common marketing efforts and understand the benefits of SEO.  SEO is the best marketing you can do for one reason: it is multi-faceted with a long tail.  SEO isn't a physical billboard on a freeway, or a snippet of airtime on the radio or on tv, or space on a page in a magazine or newspaper that stops being effective the minute the marketing stops.  Let's take a second to show how SEO is actually very similar to the more traditional marketing efforts:

SEO is like a billboard, getting you ranked higher (bigger) on Google (the busy freeway).

SEO is like airtime but all the time, where people see you whenever they search for you and are actually ready to transact.

SEO is like a magazine or newspaper article (your website) that costs nothing every time it appears in a different publication (linked to by different websites).

SEO is like an ongoing PR campaign that costs a fraction of what traditional PR campaigns cost.

SEO is like a letterbox-drop that has a fixed price (monthly cost) for an unlimited number of people receiving your pamphlet (viewing your website).

So SEO gives you the benefits of some other traditional marketing efforts - Sounds great right!  Well it gets even better, when you look at the cost and ongoing benefit:

Plain and simple

As you can see, SEO is...

  • Not that much more expensive than a letterbox drop, and actually applies to many more types of businesses than might use a letterbox drop.
  • More measurable than any other marketing effort and actually has an uncapped exposure to the marketplace.
  • Promising you the same as other marketing efforts, at a fraction of the cost.
  • Long-tailed in terms of benefits received, so even after you stop all concentrated SEO efforts, you will still receive benefits because your web presence is still there, articles and blogs are still linking to you, and people are still searching for you.

So now that we've correctly identified what kind of business activity SEO is, and done a comparison of it to other options (some more viable than others), hopefully this has given you a bit of a shift in thinking about why SEO is not only important, but is actually absolutely necessary from a cost-advantage and business-requirement perspective.  We all need to market our businesses to reach customers who will benefit from our products - Be smart, efficient and effective with your choice and you can have an awesome marketing machine at your disposal that really reaps rewards for your business!

About the Author

James Richardson

Sales Director

James Richardson started his online career by running online Sports Fan sites (luckily none are still online today), with the pinnacle of the site being a write up in the Sunday Herald Sun 'Wired' column.

His professional career began at a ASX listed company, Melbourne IT, where he held various senior roles across the Sales and Marketing teams, before deciding to venture out on his own.

Running several successful online websites and businesses himself, he is well placed at understanding your business needs.

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