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Jagella
03-23-2009, 03:30 PM
If there's one thing that this subsection needs, it's another SEO discussion.

Anyway, as most of us know, you should use basic and sound SEO practices to help your site get better search rankings, and there are some practices to avoid so as not to get penalized by engines like Google that don't appreciate “cheating.” (keyword stuffing, keyword spamming or linking out to bad neighborhoods such as link farms, pharmaceutical or gambling sites may get you blacklisted). How much SEO do you really need, though? Can you get by on just a little SEO?

Effective SEO is crucial for most business sites especially if your market is very competitive. If you get good rankings for the keywords that relate to your site's offerings, then half the battle may be won. Interestingly, there is a direct correlation between an online business's search-engine rankings and its earnings. If the ranking go up, so do earnings. The thousands of dollars of money spent monthly for SEO appears to be a sound investment.

One of the best ways to get good ranking is to have incoming links. A “quality” link will be from a page that has content that's related to your page's content. I suppose search engines like Google look for people running sites that link to your site because they believe it contains relevant, useful information. Search engines want to assist the public in finding the quality information they're looking for rather than help you make money, or so the theory goes.

So how might you get these incoming links? Make sure your site contains quality content. If the information you post on your site is useful and related to people's inquiries, chances are you'll have other webmasters link to it to provide their own visitors with further information.

Finally, keep in mind that SEO is very competitive. No matter how good you are at it, other webmasters may be as good or better. Some keywords are very tough to fight over. One possible solution is to find keywords that are not as competitive and optimize for them. (1)

Agree? Disagree?

Jagella

(1) Titus Hoskins, How Much SEO Do You Need To Get Top Rankings?, How Much SEO Do You Need to Get Top Rankings? (http://ezinearticles.com/?How-Much-SEO-Do-You-Need-to-Get-Top-Rankings?&id=2106723), (Accessed 3/23/2009)

cbscreative
03-23-2009, 04:12 PM
I would disagree that rankings equal earnings. It's possible to be #1 on Google and get nothing for it. You were much closer on your point that quality content is the key, which often leads to rankings. These kinds of rankings do usually lead to earnings.

One of the errors I see many site owners making is placing too much emphasis on SEO and not enough on marketing. SEO is important, but only in connection with other things that are more important.

As a simple example, suppose you have a cottage to rent in a tourism area. You could play the SEO game, or you could promote on a site that provides info on tourism for your area that gets a lot of traffic. I believe the tourism site would provide more revenue than just SEO. You'd still need SEO, but only to support your other efforts. Plus, in this example, being featured on the tourism site would help boost your natural ranking.

Jagella
03-23-2009, 04:40 PM
I would disagree that rankings equal earnings. It's possible to be #1 on Google and get nothing for it.

That's an interesting point, Steve. Yes, I think it's simplistic to rely solely on search-engine rankings to generate revenue. I think the correlation Hoskins mentions may still be valid, nevertheless. If a business is smart enough to get good rankings on Google or Yahoo, then it's smart enough to convert visitors to the website and make money. This fact may explain the SEO/earnings correlation that Hoskins mentions. I don't believe he implied that only good SEO is enough to make a profit.


As a simple example, suppose you have a cottage to rent in a tourism area. You could play the SEO game, or you could promote on a site that provides info on tourism for your area that gets a lot of traffic. I believe the tourism site would provide more revenue than just SEO. You'd still need SEO, but only to support your other efforts. Plus, in this example, being featured on the tourism site would help boost your natural ranking.

Do you think the listing on the tourism site would be more cost effective than basic SEO?

Jagella

Dan Furman
03-23-2009, 05:17 PM
In general terms, I'm not a huge fan of SEO. Here's one reason why:

You almost become dependent on it. If you are in any kind of competitive business, the cost / time associated with a top ranking may be overly prohibitive. Plus, if the search engine decides to tweak things... perhaps all of your work/money is now gone.

I am a MUCH bigger fan of a solid, predicatable PPC / conversion setup. I have steadily averaged x clicks a day for *all* of my keywords, and I convert at a "y" rate. It's predictable, and it's profitable. Plus, I can tweak and see immediate results. One of the best things going for SEO companies is "well, it could take a year..."

To me, PPC feels more like "real" business. SEO, to me, feels a little like voodoo. I don't trust it.

SEO, used with other stuff, is fine. But more often than not, I see companies use SEO as a replacement for PPC / conversion. To me, that's silly.

Jagella
03-23-2009, 06:21 PM
...if the search engine decides to tweak things... perhaps all of your work/money is now gone.

But how common might that be? Do search engines change their algorithms so radically and suddenly that you lose your ranking overnight?


I am a MUCH bigger fan of a solid, predicatable PPC / conversion setup. I have steadily averaged x clicks a day for *all* of my keywords, and I convert at a "y" rate. It's predictable, and it's profitable. Plus, I can tweak and see immediate results.

How much might pay per click cost compared to SEO?

Thanks, Dan.

Jagella

vangogh
03-23-2009, 06:42 PM
Joe I think it's important to consider that SEO is just one part of the process. I think it's an important part, but it's still only one part.


I would disagree that rankings equal earnings. It's possible to be #1 on Google and get nothing for it.

That's why it's important to choose the right keywords. Granted you still need to do a lot of stuff right on your site, but choosing the right keywords at least can help you get targeted traffic as opposed to just traffic.

Still you're right that ranking is only one part of the equation.


You almost become dependent on it.

Aren't you then dependent on PPC. If you stopped your campaign how much traffic would you get tomorrow?

SEO and PPC aren't that much different in many respects. PPC is quicker, but you pay per click. SEO will take longer to compete, but once you are compeiting for a given phrase you're not paying directly for the traffic. In truth both are important. SEO is just as much real business as PPC is.

In fact if you improve your SEO you'll probably improve your PPC.

Sure bid on a phrase to get traffic, but why not optimize as well to later get free traffic. Also several studies have shown that having your site listed on the first page in both the ads and the organic results increases your traffic a lot more than doubling it.

Conversion is a part of the process in either case. Both SEO and PPC are important. It's not an either or. SEO and PPC are both about the same thing. Traffic. One pays directly for the traffic and one pays indirectly for the traffic. Each has slightly different rules for how to do them best, but they both follow the same basic process of attracting targeted traffic.


To me, PPC feels more like "real" business. SEO, to me, feels a little like voodoo. I don't trust it.

I think that's just because you've spent more time getting to know PPC and so understand it better. I don't think it's because SEO isn't real.

Jagella
03-23-2009, 11:52 PM
Steve, how effective would you say the do-it-yourself SEO is compared to what you may pay a professional for? There's no shortage of SEO books (for Dummies?) and free SEO information on websites. I think it's fair to say that any money a typical webmaster may save learning SEO might be more than offset by time that may have been better spent improving the site's ability to convert visitors and leaving the SEO to a pro.

Jagella

cbscreative
03-24-2009, 12:47 AM
Steve, how effective would you say the do-it-yourself SEO is compared to what you may pay a professional for? There's no shortage of SEO books (for Dummies?) and free SEO information on websites. I think it's fair to say that any money a typical webmaster may save learning SEO might be more than offset by time that may have been better spent improving the site's ability to convert visitors and leaving the SEO to a pro.

To answer that, there is a lot of bogus info on SEO, but let me comment from the perspective that the site owner finds valid SEO info. Then the answer still depends. If you were a work at home startup looking to save money and get a business launched, you can be successful as long as you do your research and you were realistic about how long it takes to see a profit. For most business owners that need to keep doing their business to succeed, it would make no sense to set yourself back by not hiring a pro.

For a webmaster though, it;s a matter of preference. If you don't want to mess with SEO, get a strategic alliance formed. Otherwise, there is always benefit to knowing SEO.

vangogh
03-24-2009, 12:57 AM
What Steve said.

Joe it's like anything else. There's no reason you can't learn and practice SEO on your own. In fact the basics are fairly easy. In some respects it's about good habits. For example you're better off giving files and folders descriptive names than using a number.

I see two stumbling blocks to learning SEO. The first is how much misinformation is available. Sometimes it's just old information and sometimes it's just wrong. Either way it makes the good advice harder to find. The second is people's own unrealistic expectations of what SEO is. Too many people still think you make a few quick changes on site and you're done. Not even close. SEO is simply a subset of marketing. The people who realize it's not a quick fix thing and is more an ongoing process are much more likely to sort through the misinformation.

Can you learn it and apply it on your own? Sure. You can also do your own accounting, your own copywriting, your own web design, etc. The question is whether or not it's worth your time to learn and do yourself or if you'd be better off hiring out. That's really up to you. Even if you do hire out I'd still recommend learning more about it, if just to know who to hire.

Jagella
03-24-2009, 01:11 AM
If you were a work at home startup looking to save money and get a business launched, you can be successful as long as you do your research and you were realistic about how long it takes to see a profit. For most business owners that need to keep doing their business to succeed, it would make no sense to set yourself back by not hiring a pro.

In other words, if you're strapped for cash, spend time to research SEO rather than spend money on a professional who can be very expensive. If you've got the money, then hire a pro.


If you don't want to mess with SEO, get a strategic alliance formed.

What do you mean by “strategic alliance,” Steve? Do you mean to find similar sites and swap links with them? If they have basically the same content, then doing so should help search-engine rankings.

Speaking of content, I find what appears to be a lot of good content about graphic design and web design issues using the search engines. (And SEO information too—if they're high on the search results list, then they must know their SEO!) If the search engines are doing their job providing relevant, credible information, then those articles should be credible if I find them using a search engine. It seems logical enough, but am I right?

Jagella

vangogh
03-24-2009, 02:11 AM
Joe being listed high in search results doesn't make content credible. It just makes it in line with what a search algorithm considered the best result to present for a specific search query. If you want to know if content is credible you have to read it and decide for yourself.

Dan Furman
03-24-2009, 03:19 AM
In other words, if you're strapped for cash, spend time to research SEO rather than spend money on a professional who can be very expensive. If you've got the money, then hire a pro.

The thing is, I never recommend anyone even going into business when they are "strapped for cash". If a (primarily) online business is strapped for cash, and they have no SEO, and no PPC, well, what is the plan to get cash, then? Wait? Because SEO takes time - it's not an overnight thing. That's a terrible business strategy that is doomed to fail more often than not.

To address something Steve asked me - yes, I am dependent on PPC. However, I still feel like I am a little more in control. In the past, Google has changed things overnight, and it killed a lot of people's SEO efforts. Yes, they can change PPC overnight, but it's a lot less likely.

You are correct that used in concert with other things, SEO is fine. I do agree with that. But I am also of the opinion that if you have primarily an online business, your business model / website should be good enough to convert a PPC campaign into profitability. Because if it isn't, it may not be the best business model (in general terms). This is a little harsh, I understand, but it's how I feel.

Joe, to answer one of your questions - PPC costs me nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I spend $x per month (more like $xxx, really), and my site converts "Y" number of clicks into contacts (and then clients.) The dollar amount I get from Y is always a lot higher than X. PPC is an investment that I happily make because it delivers me people who want what I do.

All that said, I do get a decent amount of clicks from organic, and I have made small efforts to improve that. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't on my mind from time to time. I just concentrate more on PPC and converting those clicks.

vangogh
03-24-2009, 01:17 PM
Dan I do agree that SEO is only one part of your marketing strategy and shouldn't be your only strategy. The people who lose all organic search traffic overnight are usually the people that were jumping at the latest and greatest tactic. They weren't really implementing a sound strategy. The same thing happens in PPC. When Google started looking at landing pages and adding quality score to the mix a whole lot of people lost all their PPC traffic.

You really are just as in control of your SEO as you are your PPC. What may happen is that since PPC requires people to spend money they look into it more critically and tend to take some time to either learn the basics or hire someone who knows them. With SEO people think 'free traffic' (which isn't really true) and they jump in without ever gaining an understanding of how SEO really works.

To me that's less to do with the good and bad of PPC and SEO and more to do with the good and bad of people. Done right both SEO and PPC can be very effective.

cbscreative
03-24-2009, 01:26 PM
What do you mean by “strategic alliance,” Steve? Do you mean to find similar sites and swap links with them? If they have basically the same content, then doing so should help search-engine rankings.

By strategic alliance, I mean if you were a webmaster and you want to focus on design, you would want to learn the basics of SEO friendly coding, and then leave the grunt work SEO to someone else. Your strategic alliance would be finding a good SEO person to work with. You do the design, they do the SEO.

Strategic alliances can also take the form of a link exchange for something more passive in nature. An example would be a greeting card company recommending a florist. Neither side is in direct competition, but the two are closely related and can help each other get more business.

The webmaster example is more proactive in the sense that a webmaster who does not want to mess with SEO can still provide the service while not doing the hands-on work themselves. This type of alliance would help both get more business than either could do on their own.

billbenson
03-24-2009, 01:46 PM
To me, PPC feels more like "real" business. SEO, to me, feels a little like voodoo. I don't trust it
A good ppc campaign requires SEO.The keywords, ad, and landing page all should be optimized or you will end up paying way to much per click.


But how common might that be? Do search engines change their algorithms so radically and suddenly that you lose your ranking overnight?
Search engines make changes, sometimes radical. The basics which you touched on in your initial post Joe, don't hurt you with changes though. Good, on topic copy, don't link to or from spam pages, proper tag usage etc.


How much might pay per click cost compared to SEO?
Again, they aren't mutually exclusive. Good SEO, will help you a lot with PPC. Also as mentioned above, a landing page that sells may be more important than raw traffic. One approach would be to write a landing page that sells, then write an ad for that page, then select keywords for the ad? A lot depends on the objective. Some of the landing pages that eborgs competition for his diet site are using aren't sell pages, but rather direct you to sell pages. There are a lot of different objectives and ways to achieve them.

Dan Furman
03-24-2009, 01:47 PM
You really are just as in control of your SEO as you are your PPC. What may happen is that since PPC requires people to spend money they look into it more critically and tend to take some time to either learn the basics or hire someone who knows them. With SEO people think 'free traffic' (which isn't really true) and they jump in without ever gaining an understanding of how SEO really works.

The thing is, if you want to test something (new keywords, new landing pages, etc), you can do it tomorrow with PPC. Heck, tonight. You really can't do that with SEO. That's more or less what I mean by being in more control.

vangogh
03-24-2009, 02:27 PM
Understandable, but quick is good for some things and not others. You're right that PPC is going to send more instant results to test. Still that doesn't mean you should ignore SEO. One way to use PPC is to test which keywords you should optimize your pages for.

Bill mentioned it above. Both work together nicely. If you want to do PPC right you want to do keyword research. That's part of SEO too. You'll want to work on your landing page so it better matches the keywords in your ad. Sounds like SEO as well.

They're different, but they also overlap. PPC will send you quicker traffic, but SEO later can send you 'free' traffic. Free of course in the sense that you aren't paying for each click. Most people still click organic results over paid results. The #1 organic listing will drive much more traffic than the #1 paid listing.

I'm not saying you should give up on PPC, but you shouldn't necessarily ignore SEO either. You don't need to do either. There are lots of ways to market and promote your business. PPC is one way and SEO is one way.

Dan when done right you're organic rankings won't go away with an algorithm change. If you incorporate certain things over time you'll be getting 'free' traffic that's just as prequalified as the paid traffic. Again I'm not saying you have to put effort into SEO, but don't ignore it as a good source of targeted traffic either. It does work if you do it right and I would suggest it's ultimately a better source of traffic.

People trust organic results more than paid results. They see organic results as the most relevant or the best because they assume search engines wouldn't rank them otherwise. When people recognize a paid listing as paid they realize it's an ad and so may look upon the listing with a bit of skepticism.

Jagella
03-26-2009, 12:00 AM
The thing is, I never recommend anyone even going into business when they are "strapped for cash". If a (primarily) online business is strapped for cash, and they have no SEO, and no PPC, well, what is the plan to get cash, then? Wait? Because SEO takes time - it's not an overnight thing. That's a terrible business strategy that is doomed to fail more often than not.

Well, Dan, I suppose that's where loans and grants come in. I'll need one or the other or both if I really want to get my own business off the ground. I used to believe that sheer effort, study, and the resultant knowledge would be enough, but it looks like cash and lots of it is indispensable. Recently I was told that one year of running a successful online business (including SEO and conversion assistance) might cost me $10,000. I don't have $10,000.


You are correct that used in concert with other things, SEO is fine. I do agree with that. But I am also of the opinion that if you have primarily an online business, your business model / website should be good enough to convert a PPC campaign into profitability. Because if it isn't, it may not be the best business model (in general terms). This is a little harsh, I understand, but it's how I feel.

Well, let's say I'm in boot camp. It's better to be harsh to me now than when I'm in real combat.

And having a good business model I know is the foundation for any business online or offline. Honing my business model at the top of my to-do list.


Joe, to answer one of your questions - PPC costs me nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I spend $x per month (more like $xxx, really), and my site converts "Y" number of clicks into contacts (and then clients.) The dollar amount I get from Y is always a lot higher than X. PPC is an investment that I happily make because it delivers me people who want what I do.

In other words, PPC is an effective way to reach your target market?

Jagella

Jagella
03-26-2009, 12:04 AM
By strategic alliance, I mean if you were a webmaster and you want to focus on design, you would want to learn the basics of SEO friendly coding, and then leave the grunt work SEO to someone else. Your strategic alliance would be finding a good SEO person to work with. You do the design, they do the SEO.

Strategic alliances can also take the form of a link exchange for something more passive in nature. An example would be a greeting card company recommending a florist. Neither side is in direct competition, but the two are closely related and can help each other get more business.


In other words, do what you're good at, and leave the rest to people who are good at what you aren't good at? That's why I have an accountant and an attorney. I'll need more people including marketing consultants.

Jagella

Jagella
03-26-2009, 12:13 AM
Bill, it seems to me that there's so much to know about effective web design and development that it looks like it might take me years to master. At present I'm more of a graphic designer working on designing and developing printed documents and the requirements that are peculiar to printing (process and spot colors, TIFF and EPS files, resolution, preflighting). As for online work, I may do animations. I'll still need a good website if I plan to work as a freelance designer, of course, but I'll need an experienced pro to create it for me.

Jagella

Jagella
03-26-2009, 12:18 AM
People trust organic results more than paid results. They see organic results as the most relevant or the best because they assume search engines wouldn't rank them otherwise. When people recognize a paid listing as paid they realize it's an ad and so may look upon the listing with a bit of skepticism.

And I am one of those people. I can't remember ever clicking a paid listing. I always check the organic results.

Jagella

vangogh
03-26-2009, 01:19 AM
You even mentioned in another thread the idea that the top results must be more credible because they're at the top. That's how a lot of people see it. They assume that since Google or Yahoo or Microsoft ranked something #1 it must be a credible source and can be trusted.

Organic still delivers more traffic than paid, though Dan is right that you have more control early on over your paid traffic and in competitive markets you can get paid traffic much quicker

Dan Furman
03-26-2009, 01:10 PM
And I am one of those people. I can't remember ever clicking a paid listing. I always check the organic results.
Jagella

Fair enough, but we have to be careful of things like this and the traps they can lead to - for example, I'm an XL shirt.... isn't everyone? Why do they even sell size S and M?

In other words, it's a big world out there.

PPC is very effective. But you have to compete in terms of money spent, and you have to have a site that converts (the second point is by far the most important, because without a converting site, even organic searches won't yield anything).

But if you do those two things, your chances of doing well online are markedly increased.

cbscreative
03-26-2009, 01:53 PM
Dan probably knows this, but one of the weaknesses of PPC can bite if you are not careful. When you bid on keywords, those keywords display your PPC based on your bid, and regardless of how the keywords are used. IOW, the "relevance" factors that govern organic results are not used the same way in PPC.

One of the primary flaws I have observed, is that all keywords influence organic as they should, but PPC picks up only bid keywords and ignores the rest. For example, let's say you sell Photoshop and bid high enough for the keyword to get top PPC placement. When someone types "Photoshop tutorial" your ad would still come up because PPC ignores the "tutorial" in the search term. Because an important word was ignored, you really aren't relevant, but you will still pay if the user clicks.

I don't know if Google and Yahoo are working to solve this, or if they just prefer the extra profit, but anyone using PPC would do well to plan around this weakness. I mostly ignore PPC ads primarily because most of them are irrelevant due to the way I search. But fortunately for PPC advertisers, not everyone is like me.

billbenson
03-26-2009, 02:01 PM
For example, let's say you sell Photoshop and bid high enough for the keyword to get top PPC placement. When someone types "Photoshop tutorial" your ad would still come up because PPC ignores the "tutorial" in the search term. Because an important word was ignored, you really aren't relevant, but you will still pay if the user clicks.


However, Steve, that is why you use negative keywords. Putting tutorial as a negative keyword and you won't pop up in a search for "Photoshop tutorial".

I've found that the best way to find negative keywords is to look in your stats.

vangogh
03-26-2009, 02:33 PM
Dan I agree with what you said above about not assuming everyone is just like you and how a site that converts is important and traffic is part of the process.

My point through much of this thread is to point out that SEO is one of those parts of the process. PPC is great, but it's not the only thing. SEO is a perfectly valid way of getting traffic from search engines. Do you need organic search traffic to succeed? No, you don't need it, but it can be a great source of traffic.

Earlier in the thread you made it seem like you didn't think SEO worth the effort and seemed to imply you should use PPC and be done with it. My bad if the interpretation is mine and not yours. I just wanted to counter that though with the idea that both can be great. It's not an either/or here, but rather a why not do both.

Dan Furman
03-26-2009, 02:33 PM
One of the primary flaws I have observed, is that all keywords influence organic as they should, but PPC picks up only bid keywords and ignores the rest. For example, let's say you sell Photoshop and bid high enough for the keyword to get top PPC placement. When someone types "Photoshop tutorial" your ad would still come up because PPC ignores the "tutorial" in the search term. Because an important word was ignored, you really aren't relevant, but you will still pay if the user clicks.

I don't know if Google and Yahoo are working to solve this, or if they just prefer the extra profit, but anyone using PPC would do well to plan around this weakness. I mostly ignore PPC ads primarily because most of them are irrelevant due to the way I search. But fortunately for PPC advertisers, not everyone is like me.

they've had this for a long time - Campaign negative keywords. I negative "free" "sample" (as in "business letter sample") and many others.

You can also bid on exact phrases. If you bid on phrases, and use negative keywords, you will largely get the traffic you want.

Lastly, if you write your ads well, many people not interested in your service won't click in the first place.

Dan Furman
03-26-2009, 02:45 PM
Earlier in the thread you made it seem like you didn't think SEO worth the effort and seemed to imply you should use PPC and be done with it. My bad if the interpretation is mine and not yours. I just wanted to counter that though with the idea that both can be great. It's not an either/or here, but rather a why not do both.

I do think both are fine, but I like PPC better, for reasons already mentioned. Just my .02.

In addition, PPC can give you a real cheap "test run" to see if it's worth your time/$$$ to do SEO on certain keywords, etc.

vangogh
03-26-2009, 03:01 PM
Not arguing with you at all about PPC being good. And I can understand why you prefer it. Just want to make clear that SEO is also a good way to bring targeted traffic to a site. I'm not suggesting you have to run out and start optimizing. More that I want others to realize they might want to go that route.

SEO gets a bad rap. In part the industry itself does a poor job of communicating what it's about and in part people want it to be something it isn't. And sadly there are a lot of people who'll prey on what many wish SEO to be. I want people to understand that SEO can be a great thing as long as they approach it for what it is. It's not a quick source of free traffic, but rather a longer term process that's a subset of their overall marketing.

Learning even the basics of SEO will help with PPC campaigns, creating a site that leads to better conversions, a better grasp of marketing in general, etc. The basic concepts of SEO really apply to so many things that can help your business succeed.

Dan Furman
03-26-2009, 03:35 PM
and in part people want it to be something it isn't.

FREE TRAFFIC??? WHERE DO I SIGN UP????

The above touches on part of my aversion to it. The thought process of "I can't afford to pay for traffic, so I'll work on getting it for free". To me, in general terms, that's just a slow slide to failure.

I do think SEO matters in the long term. A lot, actually. But I feel PPC is more of the acid test on whether your site is good enough.

You know, the more I think about this (and this may derail things), the more I realize many of my opinions on things like this come down to money - starting and running a business with no money is not something I'd ever advise. Not saying you need big bucks, but (in the case of an online business) a few grand to get a converting website, and then advertising it, isn't a stretch. It's almost impossible to do it the other way, to be honest - especially today (maybe in 1996-2000 it was easier).

And that's why I get so down on it - not because SEO is a bad thing, but to someone starving, I'd tell them to concentrate elsewhere first.

To me, when people talk about SEO, it's almost never in a "let me expand my marketing to include this wonderful thing - anyone know a good SEO guy?" - THAT I could really get behind. But that's almost never the case - it's usually "I can't afford PPC, but I really need traffic, so let's talk about this". And I think that's the wrong way to go about things for an online business - it simply takes too long (and it also makes people more apt to go with a snake oil salesman instead of a real SEO pro).

I see this all the time - people say "I put up copy with keywords a MONTH ago... why isn't my website top ten??" It's almost a joke.

I'd instead advise someone to concentrate their efforts in getting some $$$ (maybe sell more locally) to reinvest in the website (and yes, if you want to do a little SEO on your own while you are doing this to plant seeds for the future, that's fine.)

billbenson
03-26-2009, 04:18 PM
Dan, my primary marketing mechanism is PPC. I've been doing PPC as my primary for about 4 years now. I do everything you mentioned including negative keywords and ad testing. I have also been keeping abreast of SEO for years. By that I mean that there are a few webmaster forums I frequent and keep notes of important things including everything from ways of coding to SEO. It's really not very time consuming. I also reverse engineer sites frequently to see what they are doing right or wrong. Usually my competition, but sometimes just a site that I wonder why it places so well or so poorly.

I'm betting you do a lot more SEO than you are indicating in this thread :) It may not even be intentional.

Either in this thread or another one with some PPC discussion there was a PPC comment that I think should be clarified:

Raising your bid in an adwords ad does not guarantee you better ad placement. Google is in the business of providing searchers with good results. It's worth more to them to provide relevant results than take some extra money from you in your ppc campaign. There are a ton of things used by google in their algorithm to place an adwords ad. Your bid is only a small piece of the puzzle. If you want to test this, make a ppc campaign for ****** and have a truck parts page as your landing page (or something else just as ridiculous). I bet you don't get any page impressions, much less clicks no matter how high you bid.

vangogh
03-26-2009, 04:45 PM
Dan all your points are good ones. SEO is not a free source of traffic. You're going to put in some time learning how or hiring someone to do the work for you. I agree most people approach it the wrong way. Too many see it as making a couple of small changes so your site matches some magic formula and then you're #1 for everything.

I don't see that as a problem with SEO itself. The problem is more with people's expectations of what it is and also some of the garbage people want you to believe about it.

But that to me isn't a reason to ignore SEO. It's a reason to sift through the garbage and get your expectations grounded in reality. I think the same people who have unrealistic SEO expectations are also going to have unrealistic expectations across the board. Those are the people who'll bid on PPC ads without taking the time to make sure their site can convert visitor to customer.

Again that's not the fault of SEO. It's the fault of the people talking about it and the fault of the people wanting it to be something it's not.

I'm not arguing against PPC. I'm arguing that SEO done right is effective.


I'm betting you do a lot more SEO than you are indicating in this thread It may not even be intentional.

Bill I agree. The obvious is you need to research keywords in order to have an effective PPC campaign. There's a lot of overlap between PPC and SEO. There's a lot of overlap between both and everything else you do to run a successful site.

Dan Furman
03-26-2009, 06:21 PM
I'm betting you do a lot more SEO than you are indicating in this thread :) It may not even be intentional.

I probably do - heck, even my posts here are part of SEO. :)