As the pinch of the current financial situation takes hold, many businesses will be trimming costs, and unfortunately these are often valuable marketing strategies.
In terms of search marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) is often the cost that's cut as it's believed that benefits take longer to realize - few quick wins. However, dumping SEO can mean forgoing a great cheap growth opportunity.
If you're one of the businesses re-evaluating the future of your SEO strategy, consider the following before making your decision.
1. Ongoing Value
The value of SEO continues well after the optimization has finished. Unlike other marketing, where the value diminishes quickly after a campaign, SEO continues to generate results.
2. Traffic is free
While we are strong advocates of PPC (fast, guaranteed, qualified traffic), it does cost for each visitor you receive. You stop paying, and your traffic stops. SEO on the other hand provides free traffic, so your costs are easier to control.
3. Against the trend
While other businesses shy away from SEO, it's a great chance for businesses to capitalize on marginally lower competition. It could help generate quicker results.
4. Untapped Opportunities
There are still many untapped niches in terms of SEO, especially within localized and specialist industry segments. Again this offers great growth opportunities for smart business operators.
5. Leverage the trend online
Consumers are being more frugal with their spending and the online space is where they're doing their comparison shopping. It's vital for your business to be in their consideration set, which is why SEO is critical. Google is where the comparison shopping begins, and where you need to be found!
Given the above benefits and the fact it's much cheaper than other online marketing initiatives, it's seem logical that SEO should remain in your marketing plan.
Google Launches New Preferred Sites Feature
Google have taken another step towards personalizing search by launching a new search feature called Preferred Sites. This lets users personalize results by adding a list of sites they want to see more frequently on their results pages.
Google say that this will help results match each person's unique tastes and needs when a relevant search query is entered. They also make it clear that this feature only affects results when signed in with your Google account.
I can see this feature being most useful for smaller niche sites (for example local news agencies) that wouldn't normally have the power to claim top spot. Instead of placing these sites in their bookmarks, users can add it to their preferred sites so that it appears more often when searching for news or other related topics.
Google have taken some big steps in trying to personalize search recently with the announcement of SearchWiki and now this. There's been no word if this will have any SEO impact, but it wouldn't surprise me if Google uses it to build a list of authoritative sites that could receive prime exposure.