Since the Easter Holidays I’ve read article upon article on Linkedin, all with fascinating titles like “How to get from Zero to Massive Traffic for free using SEO”, or “10 ways to apply SEO to get huge traffic to your website – free!”
So, knowing that SEO is never free, I set about writing this post to counter the position that SEO is a free way of advertising.
Here are the 10 reasons why SEO costs more than PPC anyday.
1. If either you or your SEO contractor employ less than scrupulous SEO tactics, you could be penalized by Google and that could cost you a whole lot more money than you bargained for.
2. To run a legitimate SEO campaign, you need tons of keyword rich, market targeted content and that can cost a ton of money, depending on what market/keywords you are targeting and the hourly rate of article writers. If you want to pay £1 an article from bargain basement writers, you are likely to end up with spun or duplicate content that can penalize your search rankings.
3. You will have to pay someone to do keyword research and analysis to ensure you are targeting the right keywords and right searchers.
4. Your keywords are then going to have to be weaved into the content you receive from your content developers. (unless you provide them with a brief first of course).
5. You need to consider how your search listings will look and perhaps alter them to ensure they are targeted with great calls to action.
6. You need to design a link building strategy to ensure the links back to your website carry the most relevant and weighty authority in the market you are targeting.
7. Your website needs to be designed to be easily accessible by Google’s Bot technology. Google bot only spends a certain amount of time on your website and the cleaner you make the navigation, the more content google will crawl and the more content will get processed and indexed.
8. You need someone to manage a link building campaign, develop relationships, track and report on the new links etc
9. You need someone who can implement a content posting strategy which is consistent and relevant to feed the big Google machine
10. This is the biggie!!! SEO Time costs big money!
I read this article that said, it took me 6 months to rank for my target keyword and I’m now ranking number 4 and getting 1000 unique visits a day, making me a cool £200 a month.
Ok, lets look at this.
Lets say that in order to rank number 4 this guy had to put in something like 5 hours a week of his own time. That is (5 hours * 26 weeks = 130 hours) over 6 months.
If we put a price on his own time of £10 per hour, the cost of his time over 6 months is £1,300.
So after 6 months he has spent £1,300 of his own time. If he is an SEO expert who writes his own content, then £1,300 is all he has to spend initially to achieve a steady £200 income per month. But in order to continue to maintain ranking he is going to have spend the same to maintain and progress his position.
So in actual fact, he will be spending £2,600 a year (£1,300 over six months * 2) and his income is likely to be less per annum at £2,400 per year (£200 per month * 12). So in actual fact he may end of losing £200 per year (£2,600 cost – £2,400 sales) if his ranking position remains unchanged.
There is also the added disadvantage with SEO that you may have to wait some months before your ad even shows up in the top 10 for people to view, with the potential opportunity cost and missed income along the way.
If he isn’t an SEO expert and writer, he is likely to have to spend way more to achieve this level of ranking resulting in a great many more losses than calculated above.
Yet, if he were to run a Google Adwords Pay Per Click campaign with an initial budget of say £500, his ad would be seen within minutes of placing it and the traffic could be flowing thick, fast and if is website is designed correctly, could be seeing many highly relevant visitors and converting into cash right away. Within a few of weeks, he could know whether an online strategy suits his product or not and whether he wants to lay more money out or cut and run. Within this time, he could adjust his website and keyword strategy to improve conversions and perhaps get a sense of the ROI for the campaign.
Ok, I’ve painted a fairly broad brush argument, given that even an inefficiently run Google Adwords campaign can result in substantial loses, which is why in the initial stages of any such campaign you should seek the support of a local Google Adwords professional or perhaps undertake the necessary training yourself.
I do hope this case will put pay to the endless nonsense spoken about, that……..
SEO = FREE (NOT)
SEO is most certainly not free and as outlined above, can be far most costly than a simple pay per click campaign.
If you would like to talk to the team at Google AdWords and run a trial placing ads in their Sponsored Links section call them on 0800 169 0702 or request a callback. Alternatively, drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!