Online Marketing, From SEO to Social Media

online_marketingThink SEO is just for big businesses? Think again. From local businesses to freelance contractors, I’ve seen (and helped) thousands of businesses rapidly grow their total income using nothing more than search engine optimization and social media.

In this chapter, I want to cover two things. The first is the immense value of search engine optimization and social media for large and small businesses. The second is how simple it is to start an SEO and social media campaign to grow your business.

From link building to on-page SEO, we’ll get into the finer details of managing your own SEO campaign slightly later. For now, let’s look at what SEO is and how it can help your business rapidly scale its online sales and lead generation efforts.

The biggest benefits of SEO for businesses

Search for “What is SEO?” on Google and you’ll receive hundreds of definitions, each explaining it as something slightly different. For me, the definition of SEO is simple: generating sales (or leads) from organic search traffic.

Notice that I didn’t mention rankings in the definition, which are normally the first element of SEO that’s mentioned. Rankings are an important part of SEO, but they’re not everything. What matters, like any form of marketing, is return on investment.

SEO has several key benefits for marketers and businesses, ranging from its low cost to its massive scalability. Some of the biggest benefits are:

  • SEO is inexpensive compared to other online marketing methods
  • SEO campaigns are easy to scale over time to increase online revenue
  • SEO is relatively straightforward and simple to do, even as a non-expert
  • SEO is stable and reliable when best practices are followed correctly
  • SEO is widely practiced and there’s a wealth of SEO information online
  • SEO lets you control what people see when they search your brand name
  • SEO synergizes well with traditional public relations and publicity

These are the key benefits of SEO from my perspective, and I’m a marketer. From a business owner’s perspective, the key benefits of SEO are more clearly defined and measurable:

  • SEO significantly increases sales at little to no ongoing cost
  • A good SEO campaign can deliver a 1,000+% return on investment
  • Tracking and measuring sales or leads from an SEO campaign is easy
  • The effects of SEO are long-lasting, unlike other forms of online marketing
  • Great search engine rankings strengthen your brand and reputation

There’s a final benefit of SEO, and one that’s better explained in more detail than a bullet point can provide: no matter what type of business you operate – from local restaurants to online B2B consulting services – SEO is definitely suitable for you.

From manufacturers to freelance artists, I’ve seen SEO attract high quality leads and lucrative deals for professionals and companies with business models that are polar opposites of each other. No matter what your product or service, SEO works.

The Cost of SEO: How Much Does a Campaign Cost?

I’ve explained the benefits of SEO to hundreds of businesses, many of whom went on to launch their own SEO campaigns. After I’ve listed the benefits (their first question is almost always “Why should I do SEO?”) I usually receive the same second question:

“Alright then. How much does this kind of thing cost?”

Since there are so many variables involved in SEO, from industry competitiveness to the number of keywords a client wants to target, it’s hard to put a dollar figure on an SEO campaign’s total cost.

Search engine optimization isn’t like Adwords, and the unfortunate reality is that no matter how much we’d like to be able to log into our Google accounts and view each keyword’s ranking requirements, we’ll never be able to do so.

SEO campaigns can range in cost from a few hundred dollars per month to hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly. Many established brands spend millions on search engine optimization every month in order to fuel their online sales.

You don’t need to spend that much – in fact, if you’re a small business, you probably won’t need to spend more than a few hundred dollars monthly. A small investment in SEO can, over time, generate a 10x, 20x or even greater ROI for your business.

SEO vs. Pay Per Click and Display Advertising

Many of the businesses I’ve helped with SEO already spent thousands of dollars on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising every month, often divided between search-based ads and banners placed through the Google Display Network or other ad networks.

Most asked one question: “What effect will SEO have on our PPC campaigns?”

SEO shares some similarities with search-based pay-per-click advertising. An SEO campaign targets the same keywords and utilizes some of the same promotional techniques, but its return on investment is very different.

When you generate traffic via PPC, you pay for every single visitor to your website and – in the case of CPM advertising – every impression. When you stop paying for each click or ad impression, the traffic – as well as the leads and sales – dries up.

This isn’t the case with SEO. A six-month investment in SEO can produces leads and sales that continue to come in for years. Even if you end your active SEO campaign, the positive effects of it remain visible — and more importantly, measurable – for a long time after the fact.

These long-term effects have been immensely valuable to myself in my own online marketing efforts. Some of my websites, which date to 2008 and 2009, continue to receive plenty of lucrative traffic despite not being optimized for search in years….

Online Marketing Sorted!.


This is just a sample from a chapter in the brilliant marketing book: Online Marketing Sorted! Available from Amazon,

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