* I am not sure that there are definitive answers. Would you be thinking of a specific area of SEO?
Much of what I consider to be SEO involves the underlying code of a website. As a freelance website designer, I have made a point of following best practice not only for SEO but also for accessibility. I’ve become wary of people who ask me ‘just to take a quick look’ at their websites because I can pick up on all sorts of things that need amending, yet I’m often left with the question, What are these people trying to sell, and why? And why should I buy from them?
When looking for a product myself, I rarely click on advertising and if I do, I don’t necessarily buy from the company that advertised. Invariably I buy either from a company listed on the first page of organic results or a company with which I’m already signed up. I read reviews of products. If I’ve had good service, I return to buy again. I don’t necessarily search the web once more for a new supplier.
I am influenced by the copy on a website and in asking your question, perhaps you may be thinking more particularly of the work involved in keyword analysis and incorporating this into the written copy.
Has ‘impartial’ research been done on how successful this is at attracting potential customers? Are there industry indicators on RoI? eConsultancy is one such company. You’ll need to pay for the market reports.
You’re more likely to show up higher on Google if you rejuvenate your website with new items and copy. Websites can’t remain static and expect to retain high positions in search results.
Whether SEO is worth the money could be a variant on ‘How long is a piece of string?’ To do a thorough job on a variety of SEO tasks requires somebody’s time. That somebody should be someone who knows what they’re doing and understands the way the net is moving. The SEO professional should also understand the need to liaise with the website designer. Is the business owner willing to pay the price for that knowledge, the liaison and the time required?
You can do SEO yourself, which is why eBusiness Club puts on seminars for business people. But how much time and effort are you prepared to devote to the task? Would you be better off outsourcing the work? Do you use analytics programs to measure response rates to structural and content changes in your website? How well do you understand the analytics? The seminars are probably better suited to familiarising business people with what they should expect from a SEO practitioner.
As a business owner, are you quite clear about your Call to Action and your USP? Are you prepared to continually oversee your web presence?
The goalposts are moving constantly on the web. Analysis shows that Facebook now accounts for more website traffic than Google and that social networks and forums have overtaken search engine traffic in UK this year. The implication is that many b2c companies need to have a Facebook presence in order to make contact with clients. And companies need to be alert to what is being said about them on on social networks. Customers may not be finding you via Google because they ask other people on Facebook about the best product, the best holiday, the best airline, the best car hire company, instead.
Watch out for SEO companies offering social media management.
* Sarah Whitticase posed this question on the LinkedIn Group, Business Scene – East Midlands – How visible are you?. This post is the text of my reply.