SEO. Sounds impressive, right? As if it's the name of some all-powerful company reminiscent of the government in the book "1984." SEO itself might not be a company, but it definitely has ties to a very powerful one.
What does SEO stand for? Search engine optimization, and it is a key component of how companies get found online. Sound like a big deal? It is! But many companies like to focus instead on paying their way to the top.
Google has a lot of goals, and many of them align with the goals of its billions of users: relevant answers to search queries. And that's good! But when I want to get my business found online it is very important to understand how this works and how it can work for me.
When you search for something on Google, you are faced with a ranking of different sites that the search engine deems valuable to you. You might also be faced with a few links labeled "Ad" at the top of that list.
Thinking about singing up for AdWords and paying for that ranking? You might want to think again.
How do AdWords work? First you need to ask yourself "What is pay per click advertising and does it work?" Pay per click means that you will pay the company running the ads every time someone clicks on your ad. But does that mean those ads are worth the money?
Let's look at an example: Suppose you are Macy's and I am looking for your site. When I Google "Macy's" I will see a paid ad and an organic link. I don't care which one I click on, I know that they both will lead me to the same place, but you do, because you pay only if I click on the ad, not the organic link.
What if I stop paying for AdWords? What if the customers who click on my ad don't buy anything? What if I don't want to be seen as spammy?
Three good questions, and they are three of the biggest reasons pay per click might not be for you.
1. When you stop working with AdWords, your ad stops appearing, so constant funds and efforts are necessary.
When you use SEO to provide quality content that is right on topic, Google will automatically place you high in its rankings, because that aligns with its goal of providing excellent content.
2. If customers click on your ad but don't buy anything, you still have to pay for that click.
Providing good content that meets the needs of your buyer personas allows you to start a brand conversation with them, so even if they are not yet ready to buy, you have started developing a meaningful relationship as a credible source.
3. Lastly, not everyone sees Google Ads as spammy, but some definitely do. When was the last time you seriously clicked on an ad in your search box? It was likely at a time when you were already looking to buy a very specific item. But the buyer life cycle is much more than that one decision moment.
Brands should be engaging with buyers long before and after they make a purchase. Many people never look at search ads, and some even disable them, how can you establish a good relationship with buyers when they might just pass you by?
So maybe you should give SEO a shot, creating quality content with the proper keywords so Google works for you, not the other way around. Learn about inbound marketing today, to see how you can get and retain high Google rankings without paying for ads....With this handy-dandy guide: