I don’t know about you (please chime in), but since the beginning of the year my SEO firm’s business has been picking up. Maybe it’s just a fluke, but the same factors that make search engine optimization a good marketing tool in any economy make it especially good in a down economy. That is, SEO is relatively inexpensive compared to other forms of marketing and advertising, and you can track results better.
Take billboards, for example. Prices vary, but in a decent urban area you’ll pay anywhere from $2K to $5K per month or more for a billboard. That’s about the same as what you would pay for a decent SEO campaign, but the SEO campaign excels in two ways; 1) you actually know what you’re getting (with a billboard you can only guess at the results unless you’re driving traffic to a unique phone number or website or using a code or something for tracking purposes), and 2) the billboard is only affecting a local audience, whereas SEO is national/global. Now, for a business that only sells locally, the billboard might be the better route, or at least a good option, but for a national company there’s no comparison between the value of SEO and a single billboard.
If you want to go national with advertising, you can look to radio, TV, phone books, magazines, and newspapers. But here you’re looking at astronomical costs. If you want to take out a full page ad in a national magazine with 100,000 subscribers you might pay tens of thousands of dollars. And that’s just to run your ad once. Again, that might be a good option, but you might get 12 months of SEO for the same price, and you can track the results better and you stand a good chance of getting more results.
I’m not saying SEO is better than everything else out there no matter what–different situations require different solutions. But when companies are looking to cut costs and can’t afford expensive advertising with dubious results, SEO logically must begin to look more and more attractive because of it’s higher potential for a positive ROI and easy-to-track results. What are your thoughts?