Sensible alternatives to SEO campaigns

Search Engine Optimisation is probably the most effective way to get the maximum benefit from your website.  With some effort, you can start to rank above your competitors and enjoy the steady stream of potential clients coming to your site.  If your site is working well then you should start to see those visitors being converted into customers and you’ll reap the benefits of your investment in your website and in your SEO programme.

However, what if you don’t know if your site is working well for you?  What if you have a tiny amount of traffic and you don’t know if your site is good enough to convert them?  You won’t want to spent money on an SEO campaign if all your effort in getting people to your site doesn’t end up converting them into visitors – either because your site doesn’t convert them or if your keywords are misguided.

There is another way in which you can immediately get onto the first page of Google for whatever keywords you want.  It’s called Pay-per click and it means that when someone does a search on Google for one of your chosen keywords, your website will be listed seperately from the main search results but still in a highly visible area at the side of the page.

When someone clicks on your link, then they are taken to your website.  For the privilege of having this visitor, you pay a certain amount of money, either to Google or to another webpage which is showing your link in a relevant website.

The good thing about this approach is that you can rank highly for competitve keywords (but you will pay more per click) and you can have a whole load of keywords running and see which ones provide the most visitors.  You will increase the number of visitors to your site and you can see how many are being converted into leads and customers.  If there aren’t many then you should re-evaluate your website.  If there are then you can start to focus your SEO efforts towards the most effective keywords and dispose of the other keywords which aren’t proving effective.

So, there is extra expense up front, but you see immediate results and it’s cheaper than funding an expensive SEO campaign – especially if you’re not clear on which keywords are effective for your website.

But, as in all things, there are risks.  Some keywords are extremely expensive and before you know it, you’ve spent hundreds of pounds for not very many visitors.  Therefore a PPC campaign requires extensive monitoring and management.  You should be quick to respond to particular keywords and be ready to close down non-performing keywords otherwise you will quickly be losing and wasting money.

However, used carefully, PPC is an excellent test tool for your SEO campaign and  in the longer term can serve as a sensible part of your marketing strategy.

Gregor Spowart is a partner in Mass Media Design, a website design and Internet Marketing company based in Reading (Berkshire), Swindon (Wiltshire) and Cardiff.  Gregor is an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) specialist.