1 July 2014
1 July 2014,

It happens a lot. I talk with a potential client and present them with a quote for initial work on a new website—or an existing site. And they simply do not understand what I am asking them to pay for, what I am going to do for them, and what kind of results they might see.

Sometimes the confusion is caused by a client that simply has no expectation that their website could ever bring them business. They know they need some kind of presence online, but having a website simply checks a box for them.

More often, the client has been inundated by sales reps from the Yellow Pages and local media that are trying to sell a package of advertising that includes both online and print or electronic media. These packages often cost thousands of dollars a month. And, they promise thousands of impressions for their ad.

I can’t promise thousands of impressions. But, I also know that when a company’s website is found in a search by someone ready to buy, that will bring them more business than thousands of paid ad views by people who are not interested.

Because of the prevalence of misunderstanding about SEO, I decided to work with Provident Media Group to create a one-minute video that would cut through some of the confusion I see from clients.  If you haven’t spent one minute viewing the video yet, see it here.

It is true that when someone pays to place an ad, they can usually control where/when it runs. When someone pays me for SEO, I cannot control the placement exactly. Nor can I control how many people see it—because even when I achieve rankings on page one for the client, it will only be seen by the number of people who actually search for that particular keyword phrase.

But there is something important that is being missed in the comparison between search engine marketing and traditional mass media advertising. With mass media, the advertiser may know when and where their ad will appear–but they don’t know if it will be seen by people who need or want their product or service. They may be able to anticipate that some small percentage of the ad’s audience will be potential customers. But the vast majority won’t be. And how many of those potential customers will actually notice the ad? Most experts say people need to see an ad 3-6 times before it will actually break into their consciousness. And more views than that to compel action—especially since with a TV or print ad, there is no simple way to take action. Consumers must pick up a phone or get in the car to respond to these ads.

In contrast, with search engine marketing the potential customers find you. They are looking and they are ready to make a decision. With an informative website, created to compel action from the visitor, a company’s website can become an unmatched marketing tool.

Successful Internet marketing is a matter of building online visibility for a company and its products/services. That is what helps potential customers find you. Visibility can be built through social media engagement, search engine rankings, paid search engine advertising, non-search ad placements, online articles and press releases, and a variety of types of Web directories. The more Internet “real estate” you can plant your company name and links to your website on, the better your results will be.

But building online visibility it isn’t easy or something that always happens immediately. If a business hires the wrong Internet marketing specialist, it may never happen. If the SEO is done without an understanding of what online competitors are doing, you may not do enough to get results. My clients have found someone who works hard and gets results.

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