Time after time, I come across businesses that have built a website and have either not considered the need for internet marketing until it’s become apparent that people won’t just magically appear on the home page, or have concluded (often with some help from the web designer), that the starting point for their online presence is search engine optimisation (SEO).
Well there’s some sense in that, as you don’t want to put your website live without some of the SEO basics, like including a meta tag title and description. But (and it’s a big but), for your SEO to be successful, you must be focussing on the right keywords. The right keywords are the ones that produce the most sales (or most valuable, depending on what you’re selling) and right now, you don’t know what those keywords are, because you haven’t had any traffic to your website yet.
You (or your web designer) may have used keyword tools such as Googles own or wordtracker, but that only tells you what people are searching for, not what’s going to effectively drive sales for your business. The only way to determine that is to track traffic from keywords through to sales, or if you don’t have a shop on your website, to actions such as completing an enquiry form.
The logical solution to this for any business launching a new website, is to run a trial PPC (pay per click campaign), analyse the results using your own site stats and/or Google Analytics and then determine the focus of your SEO keyword strategy.
I’ve heard of companies spending thousands of pounds on SEO, without ever using PPC and to my mind, this is crazy. Apart from not knowing the best keyword focus as illustrated above, they don’t even know if they can successfully sell their products or services online (and let’s be clear, not every business can). A trial PPC campaign would also have confirmed that.
Other reasons for PPC before SEO are that PPC can be set up in hours and you can guarantee traffic from the moment your new site goes live, whereas results from natural listings produced by SEO can take weeks or months to produce results and in some cases, never achieve acceptable visibility.
The whole point of SEO is to produce free clicks through to your site. But of course there’s no such thing as free clicks, as somewhere in the process you’ve paid for that SEO. A cost that for some businesses runs into thousands of pounds. Sensible then to ensure first that such costs are justified, by targeting the right key phrases and being sure that the amount you’d have to pay for similar PPC visibility, justifies the cost of replacing it with natural results (if indeed you can as there are no guarantees of SEO success).
A balanced internet marketing campaign will usually be a mix of PPC and SEO, with the larger share of effort and cost going into PPC initially and (if it’s worth the effort) that changing to more emphasis on SEO to reduce the cost of the PPC. We advocate that you always look at both, but in the right order.
We work with numerous web designers or directly with clients, to help them determine the focus and need for future SEO work, by creating effective PPC campaings . If your’re a web designer and would like us to help you to help your clients (or you’re either thinking about a new website or unhappy with results from your current site) then we’d be delighted to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you agree or disagree with the logic of this please post your thoughts, we’re always open to new ideas.