SEO is a hot buzz-word and the searches for SEO companies has been steadily on the rise since 2004 according to Google Trends. With advertising budgets being trimmed and marketing dollars dwindling in the face of our now “official” recession, I want to explain to you the reasons why you should be actively investing in Search Engine Optimization for your organization.
I’m going to lay out some of the reasons why SEO is one of the best marketing investments you can make in this time of economic uncertainty, where every dollar has to count.
Search traffic will not be affected by the Market
Sales might drop and conversion rates may falter, but raw search traffic isn’t going anywhere. A recession doesn’t mean that people stop searching the web. Internet penetration and searches per user are still on the rise, and Search Engines are not going anywhere.
A MarketingSherpa survey of 3,053 client-side marketers determined that SEO was viewed as the most valuable marketing solution in terms of ROI; even higher than email marketing to in-house email lists. ROI is everything – especially in uncertain economic times.
The Web Outperforms Other Marketing Channels
When organizations look at the paths that lead to sales and income (a critical analysis whenever budgets are under scrutiny), the web almost always comes out with one of two assessments: Either it’s a leading sales channel (especially from an ROI perspective) or it’s deemed to be an area with the greatest opportunity for growth. In both scenarios, web marketing and SEO take center stage.
SEO is Losing its Stigma
Google is releasing SEO guides, Microsoft and Yahoo! both have in-house SEO departments and the “SEO is BS” crowd have lost a little of their swagger and a lot of their arguments. No surprise – solid evidence trumps wishful thinking, especially when times are tough.
Traditional “push” marketing/advertising options often have you publishing an advertisement in a place where you’re hoping it will get a lot of eyeballs. That’s great, but the real question is: who owns those eyeballs? Are they the right people? Do they want or need what you’re offering? Good SEO keyword research can tell you a lot about your targets like what they are interested in and how they are searching for it. When you choose your keywords and optimize for them, you’re addressing an existing need or desire – and you know that the majority of visitors from search engines are looking for exactly what you’re offering. In short, SEO helps to drive highly qualified traffic to your website and gets your message in front of the right people.
Marketing Departments are in a Brainstorming Cycle
A high percentage of companies are asking the big questions – “how do we get new customers?” and “what avenues still offer opportunity?” Whenever that happens, SEO is bound to show up near the top of the “to be investigated” pile.
Web Budgets are Being Reassessed
Paid advertising is tapering off, and global conversion rates are still very low for pay-per-click. When managers meet to discuss how to address budget concerns they should be talking about improving how they grab that “free” traffic, instead of paid traffic.
Someone Finally Looked at the Web Analytics
It’s sad, but true. When a downturn arrives or panic sets in, someone, maybe the first someone in a long time, checks the web analytics to see where revenue is still coming in. Not surprisingly, search engine referrals with their exceptional targeting and intent-matching are ranking high on the list.
Don’t get me wrong here, because I am most definitely biased on this subject. I run an Internet marketing agency that specializes in SEO and Social Media marketing, but so I would always urge clients, prospects, everyone to make SEO an integral part of their marketing budget. The reasons are simple: people are not reaching for the yellow pages anymore. They are sitting in front of a computer all day, so when they need to find something, they go to their favorite search engine and look. With over 60 billion searches online every month, I guarantee that people are looking for what you offer. Wouldn’t you like them to find your site and not your competitors’? SEO can make that happen for you.
Sources: IGraphix & SEOmoz.org