Search Engines like Google and Yahoo are now influencing up to 88% of business purchase decisions and hence they can’t be ignored. To grow your website, you need a SEO expert who can get your website to top of rankings in search engines.
So on what basis do you decide? Let us explore with the help of a real life example.
Purpose of Website: Sell Digital Cameras Online
No. of Content Pages: Less than 40 – 50
Primary Target Key Phrase: “Buy Digital Camera”
- Google returns around 2.5 Million results on “Buy Digital Camera”. Since the category is commercial in nature it had around 400 serious contenders which had adopted aggressive SEO strategies.
- When he webmasters started planning for a SEO campaign it’s domain name was 3 months old and the site wasn’t even indexed by Google.
- It took the site seven more months of aggressive but ethical SEO campaigning to break into the top 10 with it’s first keyword.
- It took the site a month more to get consistent top 10 rankings on 14 of its major keywords.
- Now the site now attracts more than a 500 unique visitors per day from search engines.
- However, the campaign cost an estimated 16,000 dollars over a period of 8 months.
- They had actually spent six months and more than 12,000 dollars before the first customer came in through the search engines
- So you need to have time and money in your hands to get results from your SEO campaign
So why do people still do SEO?
Well, the answer is because they are trying to achieve long term results. Had they invested on other forms of online marketing that bring 500 unique visitors a day they would need to spend around $250 a day on online advertising line PPC.
With top 10 rank on Google they don’t need to spend that money. So @ $250 a day they will recover their investment in 64 days or 2 months. And things will only get better after that.
However, one must also remember that SEO is a process of continuous improvement. So you can’t rest on your laurels, otherwise some competitor will soon bump you off your top spot.
The webmasters still spend $500 a month on their SEO campaign to sustain their top spot.
So, there are a few fundamental questions you must answer before you decide to embark upon a SEO campaign. They will help you answer how you should plan your SEO campaign and more importantly whether you should do SEO at all for your website.
2) How old is your website?
- This is important as Google sometimes keeps a website in a sandbox for the first six months of its existence. i.e. whatever you do you won’t be able to come up in search engine rankings. You can check this out by doing a ‘whois’ on your website.
3) How many competitors do you have online?
- The higher the number of competitors, the more difficult it becomes for you to get a good ranking, anytime soon. You can check out the competition by running a simple Google search on a search phrase relevant to your product.
- Also the quality of competitors matter a lot. If your search results 6 million results that does not mean that you have six million serious competitors. You need to do competitor analysis.
- Typically you can divide the search results by 10,000 to arrive at a number of serious competitors. So for 6 Million search results we will have around 600 strong contenders for the top spot.
- Also, remember if your website falls in a category that is making money online (e.g. selling ebooks) then you run the risk of running into 100s of commercial competitors. This makes getting a top rank even more difficult.
4) Within what timeframe do you want to attract visitors to your website?
- A SEO campaign takes time to give results. This is because people hardly go beyond the first page of Google to search results. So even if your rank is 11, your chances of being visited by your customers will remain pretty low.
- It takes an average campaign, using ethical means around six months to give results.
- There are a few Smarter ways(Grey Hat) or Shortcuts(Black Hat) but you are running into danger by employing these tactics.
5) Do you want targeted or broad based traffic?
- It is important to know whether the subject of your website is of common interest. If you depend on the search engines for traffic then you have to be comfortable with visitors flocking to your website in 1000s with only 5 – 10 guys buying.
- If you are targeting just a small group of people the world over who might be interested in your product then organic SEO might not be the route for you.
- However, if you are selling something as expensive as a windmill then you might still need SEO. You will spread information amongst a 100,000 citizens, 100 out of which will talk within their network. One guy among them might be able to have enough prowesses to develop a commercial lead for you. But it will still pay off and also build your Brand Awareness & Brand Image.
But generally speaking – If you require low volume targeted traffic to your website then go the PPC route or if you don’t intend to keep your website for long. If you want your site to stay on top rankings/need a permanent traffic, always go for SEO.