Many people don’t really understand what SEO is and how beneficial it can be for your site, your traffic, and ultimately, your bottom line. When first researching SEO, most people take one look at the price tag and the recurring costs and say to themselves, “I don’t really need this, that’s way too much money”. The main problem with this train of thought though is that SEO shouldn’t be looked at as a cost, SEO should be viewed as an investment.
For this reason, I’ve decided to compile a list of what I see as 5 reasons your site needs search engine optimization.
5. Your competitors are doing it!
If you are a real estate agent in a big market like Los Angeles, you can assume there are hundreds (if not thousands) of other real estate agents who have a website that have very similar content (there’s only so many ways you can tell a person you sell homes in Southern California), use the same keywords in their content, and you’re all vying for the same, VERY LOCALIZED, traffic.
What is going to set you apart from the rest of the real estate agents? Well you can offer an incentive, like giving away a free car with every house you sell, but you may find that to be a very expensive solution. In my opinion, something as simple as showing up before them in Google’s results would do the trick. When people search Google, they start at result number one and work their way down, often times not making it past the second or third relevant result because they found what they came for. Getting that first or second relevant result is essential to marketing yourself online.
4. PPC is expensive and can be exploited
PPC is a great tool for SEM when used correctly. You can bid on very targeted keywords, be on display at the top of the search engines (for certain keywords) and get great results in a short amount of time. Keep in mind I said when used correctly. As your sole source of search engine marketing, search engine related traffic, and positioning in the search engines, you’re more than likely going to go broke very quickly.
Like any marketing plan, an internet marketing plan should be multi-tiered with several tactics being employed at once that all play off of each other. PPC should be one of these tactics once you’re educated on it and have put a lot of careful thought into your approach, but not otherwise.
Also, your paid search results will not always be displayed depending on keyword variations while typically your organic search results will. Check out this example where I searched Real Estate Los Angeles and Real Estate LA.
Search Results for Real Estate Los Angeles and Search Results for Real Estate LA. As you can see, the PPC results (the ads on the right hand side) are significantly different for each search. A couple of the results are the same, but in different orders on each page, and it also means they’re spending a bit more money to target both sets. The organic results though are almost exactly the same. Yes, in the second search some of the results are in a different order, but the for the most part are the same (especially the first 2). I also mentioned it is exploitable. When you are paying per click on your ad, you are charged the same amount every time, but it doesn’t discriminate against who’s doing the clicking or how many times the ad is clicked. So what’s to stop your competition from finding your PPC ads and going on a click rampage spending hundreds if not thousands of your dollars for you! While this is highly unethical, I’m not going to say it doesn’t happen. With organic results, your competitors can click your link 1000 times a day (in fact you should encourage them to do so) and it will have no negative effect on your bottom line.