Before we start let me answer a few questions:
Is SEO dying? Yes! A slow death. Should I still be concerned about SEO? Yes, more than ever.
Does online advertising work? Like magic. Then why doesn’t it work for me? You need optimization.
With so much competition in the online, entrepreneurs have to find ways to separate themselves from all the noise.
Everyone claims to be an expert at something, but we now know Google has a way of knowing who’s an expert or not. So if your organization is good at one or two things, it’s best to focus on that. From a marketing standpoint, this is ideal, because drilling your niche gives you the best opportunity to grow.
Why SEO is Dying
Search engine optimization was and still is gold, and a lot of ambitious entrepreneurs created all kinds of tactics to get their share. As President Roosevelt did in the 1930’s, algorithm changes took aways a lot of that gold in an effort t prevent people from cheating the system.
You can’t blame them. Most of the tactics marketers used were unethical and undermined businesses that were internet savvy. Update after update, search engines like Google and Bing cracked down one unfair practices and gave businesses a way to compete.
During the shift, however, large corporations started building their online teams with some of the top SEO’s in the business. Therefore, the same updates that were supposed to level the playing field for small businesses actually benifited larger corporations more. Nevertheless, there’s still a way to compete, especially locally or within a niche.
Why SEO isn’t Dying
You still need great SEO for a number of reasons. Search engine optimization makes your site user-friendly, mobile-friendly and converts your pages at a higher level.
Most people will abandon your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Optimizing your web pages can improve site speed and help people find what they’re looking for quicker.
Furthermore, if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you will cheat yourself out of huge opportunity drive sales. 76% of consumers search for content on mobile devices even while they are home where a desktop is present. Plus, Google and other search engines are giving more weight to websites that are mobile optimized.
And finally, 50% of consumers make a purchase within a day of searching. So SEO is very necessary.
Why Ads Work
Given that large corporations pretty much own search, you need a good ad strategy to supplement your SEO plan. Take a look at a search for costume jewelry below.
In the image above, there are 8 ads before you even have a chance to scroll down the page (4 on left and 4 on right). These results are mixed, but 3 small businesses are able to compete with large corporations for the top 4 positions. But from this image, you can see why ads are important, there are no organic results above the fold.
But check out the organic results below.
As you can see, there are only large brands in the organic search results. That’s why some people say SEO is dead. But what’s really dead is free traffic, you saw the same thing happen with Facebook. In order to offer free services like analytics, image sharing, and video streaming, search engines and social sites need to make money from advertisements. We’re living in a pay to play world… Nothing is free.
Why Ads Don’t Work
Ads don’t work for a number of reasons, including but not limited to: bad SEO, bad copy, and bad keyword targeting. But I have seen companies give up on advertising because it doesn’t work, while other companies are capitalizing on cheap and effective ads.
Take a look at the chart on the right. It compares the SEO score, PPC (price per click), and Google ad score of 4 advertisers. As you can see the highest spender ($8 per click) loses because they have a SEO score of 1. The advertiser with the highest SEO score pays the lowest amount and still makes it to #2 on the first page of Google.
But SEO is only the start. You need good ad copy to make users click and a site that converts. To be most effective online, it’s good to have multiple channels working together, that’s why ads work for some people and why they don’t for others.