If you’ve engaged in traditional marketing like TV or Radio commercials or online advertisement like pay per click, you’ll appreciate why SEO is better and also the most cost-effective among other forms of marketing channels.
However, it is almost not impossible to turn in any of these advertising channels soon after setting up a website or blog because you’ll need to direct traffic to the site. The traffic I mean is the process of putting your product and services or message in front of your prospective customers.
How to attract potential customer would naturally be the next agenda. But, why would you have to start looking for traffic to your website when the site is supposed to pull prospective customer to your business? This seems to be a hard nut. Well, let’s try to crack it.
Why you have to market your website
The main reason is that, your business website is another part of your Brick & Mortar business that targeted your customers on a different platform. This platform has unique composition that is different from offline structures.
For instance, people would have to come to your Brick & Mortar business, and every transaction must start and end there because it is location base. Then, the patronage you get depend greatly on the potential customer within that locality.
So also is the competition. And that is why it would be suicidal to quit a location where you’ve been known for a particular business.
Your customer may find it difficult to patronize your product or services in the new location especially if the place is far. By this, you have indirectly hand over your customers to the competitors around. You can’t blame your customers because an average human being likes comfort and convenience.
The earlier we begin to incorporate this reality into our business operation and customer relationship the better.
Now, suppose you have a website for that business and you have directed your customers to it as another way of reaching you. It implies that you now have their contact database and you can reach them anytime. Not only that, they too can request your product or services through your website and anything else they want from you.
This has broken the adverse effect location has on the business before the introduction of website. But you did something in-between. You told your existing customers about the site. If you have not told them it may take them awhile before they’ll discover it. Why wait that long?
This analogy explains why it is important to market your website to your targeted audience. So, you need to put the message about your business on your website in front of your targeted audience.
There are many ways you can market your website online. This process is called online marketing.
However, there are two major ways by which you can do this online. It’s either you pay for advertising slot that is base on pay per click and pay per impression or you engage in search engine optimization (SEO for short) which is free but require extra effort.
Let’s do a quick comparison on both offline and online forms of advertising to see if indeed SEO is better and important to the growth of your business.
1. Offline Advertising
The great thing about offline advertising is that many people will see the advert, but most people would find it irrelevant to their immediate need.How many times have you decided to buy a product simply because you saw the commercials on TV, billboard, magazine or newspaper?
Most of the time, prospective customers tend to use search engine to further familiarize with product, seek friends’ opinion across social networks they belong, compare prices, read product review online before proceeding to the buying stage.
No doubt, the journey actually started offline through an advert, but encapsulated and completed online.
What if the company that runs the advert does not have a web page that is optimized for the search term of that product or worse still, if they don’t even have a website?
If there is a competitive brand that have a website that has been optimised for the keyword of that product; this would invariably amount to ‘conversion leakage‘.
Now, the cost of running an advert offline is in excess of thousands of naira or dollars as the case may be. How do you reconcile the ROI? Any advertising channel that does not bring in sales is a waste. To keep doing it on the basis of brand visibility is a cop-out.
2. Online banner display Advertising
This is the display of banner advert on websites like Facebook and other banner displaying sites. Consider the cost of designing the banner (if outsourced), then the time and stress of looking for websites to display it.
You’ll probably be paying on the basis of cost-per-click or per impression on Google Adwords. What is the guarantee that the click through rate would transform to sales instantly?
Except they (your targeted audience) are at the buying stage. Otherwise, they would still need to be engaged and nurtured through conversion processes like blogging, email, retargeting, etc.
Many people may click, browse through the site without connecting with the product or services even with an optimized landing pages that have been set to capture leads. You would have paid for those visits. Before long, you might end up paying for thousands of visitors that don’t add up to sales.
It therefore implies that there is no sure way to tailor engagement and conversion other than making the banner enticing for click and setting a landing page that is attractive and functional enough to capture leads.
Most of the time the cost and effort do not commensurate with returns. With SEO, you don’t have to spend a dime.
3. PPC (Pay Per Click) Advertising
Pay per click advertising is like a short-cut to SEO. The results you see at the top and right hand side on search engine are sponsored adverts for definite search terms (that is, keywords). This would have been the best way to drive targeted traffic, but the bad news is that the ‘pay per click’ is based on auction model.
The highest bidders consistently take the first place. You might suddenly discover you have to pay more to maintain consistent exposure on SERP for a keyword if more companies are willing to pay higher.
The big question is does the ratio of influx of traffic that translates to sales equate the cost of acquisition? How would a small business or blogger on low budget be expected to fund such an investment?
SEO takes off these burdens and gives you peace of mind. Want to know how? Let’s continue.
4. Search engine optimization (SEO)
The institute of free and targeted traffic! Yes, search engine optimization is the source of free and targeted traffic.
What is SEO per se? You might want to ask.
SEO or search engine optimisation encapsulates the method, tactics or activities that are geared towards making a web page or pages rank better on SERP (Search engine result page).
The word optimization is used when a particular web page has been set to follow most of the ranking factors that would qualify it to rank higher on major search engines. The web page is then said to have been optimized for search engine.
There are arrays of things you need to do to rank #1 on SERP. These things are embedded into what is called ranking factors. Below are just a few of the factors Google consider to rank websites on its search engine result pages:
1. Domain factors
Domain age, Keyword appears in top level domain, Domain registration length, Keyword as first word in domain, Domain history, Keyword in sub-domain name
2. Page-level Factors
Keyword in title tag, Title tag starts with keyword, Keyword appears in H1 tag, Keyword in description tag, Content length, Keyword density
3. Site-level Factors
Content provides value & unique, Contact us page, Domain trust/trustrank, Site architecture, Server location, Duplicate content on site
4. Backlink Factors
Linking age, Number of linking root domain, Number of links from separate C-Class IPS, Number of linking pages, Alt tag (from image links), PR of linking page, Social shares of referring page
5. Users attraction
Bounce rate, Direct traffic, Repeat traffic, Time on site
6. Social Signal
Number of tweets, Number of Facebook likes, Facebook shares
The first 10 websites that are seen on the first page of major search engines for any specific keyword or phrase are indeed the evidence of a well optimized web page.
You would agree with me that it is not easy to attain this fit in an era where millions of sites are making concerted effort to optimize for the same keyword phrase. There seems to be no keyword without some level of competition. This however, does not make it impossible for your site to rank #1 for your targeted keywords.
All you need to do is to be committed to structure and optimize your website for search engine and work hard to ensure you make your site user-friendly while creating unique content and experiences that linger on the mind of your audience.
Conclusion: First rank doesn’t happen over night when you go the whitehat SEO way. You just need to be consistent with the way you create content and before long, you’ll get tangible traffic.
The beauty of SEO is that apart from the fact that it is free (in terms of the result you get for the effort), the traffic is targeted.
This means that the visitors that would come to your site through search engine are ready to hear what you have to say.
So, ensure you satisfy their needs beyond expectation. You can do this by answering all their questions including similar ones they did not ask but you know they need.
Just keep at it, measure and analysis your progress. Improve on the result where necessary and always develop hunger for research and in depth information that will increase your knowledge.
For me, I focus consistently on how to serve our audience and customers better. This has helped remove the thought of stress because; there is strength in identifying and serving the need of people. This effort has paid off considerably by the number of audience we have converted to customer.
This type of customer remains loyal and committed to your brand. Apart from this, they will become your unpaid mobile advertisement at every slightest opportunity.
These are part of the reasons why digital marketing would continue to be preferred to traditional marketing. What do you think?