Search Engine Optimization – A necessary evil?

There has been a lot of chatter in my industry recently with regard to SEO or Search Engine Optimization having negative connotations. My boss describes this SEO phenomena on his blog. The fact is, most of the negative stereotypes are based on situations where website owners, seeking a quick profit at low cost, were taken advantage because they didn’t know what they were buying.

Solid Search Engine Optimization is time consuming and detailed work that doesn’t result in overnight windfalls of profit or massive upward shifts in traffic to a site. Sure there are ways to profit on the quick if you’ve worked hard to build a system that allows you or your team to respond to current events AND you have a business model built around doing just that. But developing that system is time consuming and detailed work; just ask Brent Payne at Chicago ‘s Tribune network.

My point is this: Search Engine Optimization is something that should be researched before being purchased. If you are the consumer of SEO services that cost you $2,000/yr or more (quality SEO, like any other service that will boost business, has a cost), you should take an hour or more and read about it before you buy the service or sign a contract. Here’s a good place to start.

Keep in mind that SEO is a marketing activity, and an important one. Everyone searches for everything. If they hear about “IT” on the radio or see IT on TV or in print, they are going to look for IT on the web, and they’re going to use a search engine to find IT. When they don’t hear about IT or see IT they are still they going to look for IT on the web when they don’t know what IT is. Here are several different ways to think about what SEO does for your website and your company, and make sure to read the comments too.

The last thing I want to say on this topic is that Search Engine Optimization is essential to getting the most out of your website. If you run a business and have a website, but you don’t have time to learn and implement SEO for yourself, you should seriously consider hiring a good Search Marketer to do it for you. Your website isn’t doing you any good if it’s not driving business through your doors, making your phone ring, or filling up your Inbox. The potential return on your SEO investment can be enormous, and if you talk to qualified Search Marketers, they should be able to get a feel for the magnitude of potential benefit within a few minutes of talking with most small and medium sized businesses.

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Tim Staines is a marketing strategist with a background in search engine optimization and business. Connect with him on twitter @Staines

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