Yes SEO is a long term strategy for generating traffic but in my view, it is the best strategy for online marketing. If you need traffic today, then you should go with PPC or PPV but if you can wait a few days, then SEO will out deliver most other methods and at a much lower cost.
Search engines may come and go – yes there were about a dozen a decade ago – but if your site has sound on-page and off page SEO, your pages will keep drawing traffic. It is one of those fields of marketing that all marketers need to understand or at least the basics. It helps you structure your websites from the ground up with search engines and the customer mind. It also helps your copywriters keep both the customers and the search engines in mind.
If you understand and implement the basics of SEO, you improve the chances of your customers finding you through search engines. In internet speak, it’s called “Traffic”. Effective SEO generates traffic.
Whether you have a traditional brick and mortar business or an e-commerce site or a blend of both, you promote your business through different mediums like newspapers, radio, TV and of course the internet. On the internet, you can promote using various methods like Pay Per Click Ads, Pay Per View, sponsorships, mailing lists, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and so on. SEO is just one of them.
Why our fascination with the internet? Because of it’s reach, because of it’s lower cost and because of it’s long term value with certain methods. Why our fascination with SEO? Because of it’s long lasting benefits. Pages that we made 10 years ago are still drawing traffic. Where else do you get such value for your dollar?
A banner Ad on the internet is like a TV or radio Ad. You see or hear it and then it’s gone. If you want to re-run your campaign, you have to pay again. But if your website ranks well on search engines, it will keep drawing traffic over and over again with minimal effort and no additional cost. The long term benefits of SEO far outweigh it’s original costs that aren’t much to begin with.
You don’t pay search engines to index or catalog your website. They are paid by businesses who advertize on their site. The more people a search engine can draw, the more they charge advertisers. It is in the best interest of search engines to index your website along with million of others so their customers, that is people who are conducting the search, find it useful and don’t leave them dissatisfied to conduct their search on a competing search engine. Search engines regularly change the algorithms they use in an effort to improve search results for people using their search engine.
People conduct a search, also called natural or organic search and if they find your website, they come and visit you. Once a prospect reaches your website, the quality of design, content and utility must be appropriate to the market in order to have a chance of doing business. But that is a different subject.
SEO is part of an overall marketing strategy just like Print and Media advertising is, just like Public Relations is, just like Pay Per Click is. It’s long term benefits however; keep drawing more and more people towards it and it should.
There are plenty of good resources available on the internet and in your neighborhood bookstore or library. Get a hold of them. I assure you, it will be time and money well spent.