One of the major issues that small business owners need to solve when they create a website for their company is where the traffic will come from in the future. Usually, to get traffic you need to invest in marketing. You can advertise online – with paid search or on social media, or you can invest in search engine optimization (SEO) and try to bring some organic traffic.
The most important metric you need to consider when choosing one of these methods is the return on investment (ROI). According to many experts, the importance of ROI comes from the fact that it takes into account the cost of the investment and not only the final result. This means that even if a marketing campaign has many sales or conversions, it could also be ineffective when the ROI is low or even negative.
When selecting the right marketing channel businesses need to find the one that gives them the highest ROI.
One of the most popular views among marketers and other experts in the web industry is that SEO is the most effective marketing channel for small businesses. The reason is that it usually costs less than other forms of advertising but if you do it right, it could return great results.
However, a recent article from eMarketer quotes two interesting studies regarding SEO and small business. One of them is conducted by Capital One Spark Business earlier this year and it found out that only 13% of the polled US small-business owners say that SEO brings highest ROI, although that 70% of the companies are investing in SEO.
In the same time, the other cited survey, conducted by The Small Business Authority, found a decrease in the percentage of US small businesses that invest in SEO. In 2014 it was about 50%, and now, in 2015 – 45%.
SEO vs PPC vs CRO
Usually, SEO is compared with the other popular digital marketing tactics, such as PPC or CRO.
Let’s take some time to make thing clear about these tactics.
First of all, the goal of SEO is to make your website rank as high as possible for certain keywords. SEO includes many techniques, such as on-page and off-page optimization that try to make a website more appealing to search engines.
PPC stands for Pay Per Click. It’s one of the most popular online marketing techniques and, as the name suggests, you pay for every click that you get on your advertisements. By far the most popular service is Google Adwords. By targeting relevant keywords you can bring some very good traffic. The main advantage of PPC is that it takes less time and effort than SEO and CRO.
CRO stands for Conversion Rate Optimization. This is the process of increasing the percentage of website visitors that take a specific action. This action is often making a purchase, but it could also be submitting a form, going to a certain page, downloading a product or something else.
Pieces of a Puzzle
In fact, these three techniques should not be separated from one another. Instead, you should incorporate them into one whole marketing mix. Each of them has its strong benefits and if possible you should invest in all of them.
For example, if you have a new website, SEO and PPC come first as you will need some targeted for starters. After that you can start a CRO campaign so that you can make those visitors become your customers.
The bottom line
SEO is definitely not losing its popularity among small business owners but perhaps they understand now that it isn’t the single formula for success. Creating a strong marketing strategy where different strategies work in harmony is what really works and what makes a business grow.