Digital Marketing has changed the way advertising is done forever.  Just think back to when you ad spend was in the newspaper and phone book.  Those days are over.  Search Engine Optimization is the task of having a website “rank” for a specific keyword when put into a search engine such as Google or even searching from your mobile phone.  Having your business website show up, when your potential customer is searching for specific keywords, has revolutionized advertising.

Print Advertising

In the past, people paid for advertising in bulk.  What that means is that a business would place an ad in a newspaper or a periodical with the intent of having a small portion of the people reading the paper seeing their advertisement.  The amount that the business would pay would be based off of circulation numbers.  The idea was that considering that only a small percentage of people reading the paper may be interested in their product, so the gross number of people getting the paper would dictate the price.  Today, with Digital Marketing, the idea is choosing the target market and getting your business in front of them.

Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing is marketing that is done on the internet.  In can be SEO (Search Engine Optimization), PPC (Pay Per Click), Re-Marketing, Social Media Marketing and a few other niche verticals such as location marketing.  What we are discussing today is specifically SEO.

Search Engine Optimization

real estate google searchSearch Engine Optimization, SEO for short, is the work behind getting a particular website to show up when a user makes a search on a search engine or a smart phone.  With every business having a website today, there is a lot of competition for being at the top of the search results. For instance, a quick Google search for New York Real Estate comes up with 184,000,000 results.  Needless to say, most people wont get past the first 10 results on page one — so achieving that top placement drives customers directly to your website.

SEO Requires a Professional

SEOBecause of the intense level of competition, most businesses hire a professional SEO company to figure out exactly what key phrases their potential customer is searching for and ultimately getting the business website to rank for those results.  SEO can get extremely expensive, but can have tremendous results if done properly.  It has been claimed that the average, nationwide company spends over $4,000 per month for Search Engine Optimization specifically. There are marketing companies that claim to provide affordable SEO, but be careful of these, as many do not actually provide real, sustainable results.  As with anything else, if the price looks “too good to be true” it most likely is.  Needless to say, many companies spend substantially more than $4,000 per month and some spend less, but if you are looking to get to page one of Google, look forward to allocating a good portion of your advertising budget to SEO.

SEO Takes Time

Search Engine Optimization also takes a long time.  In speaking with many SEO companies, most prepare you for a minimum of 12 months of work before seeing real results.  The time needed for professional SEO coupled with the monthly costs makes SEO a substantial investment for just about any company.

Does SEO Provide a Return On Investment?

This is the real question.  Lets look at a couple major companies that have built their business on SEO.  In the real estate world, we have seen some major corporations spawned from SEO.  For instance, the most popular real estate website in the world is Zillow.  Zillow was just a funny sounding word until they “magically” started showing up in real estate searches in just about every city across the country.  Zillow’s business model was built upon real estate SEO.  The idea was if they were to show up in search engine searches, they could then charge local real estate brokers and agents to advertise on their website because it is receiving that targeted traffic.  Another example of a company built upon SEO was Orbitz.  Orbitz took advantage of people searching for the best prices on hotels and airline tickets and found their way onto page one for those search terms.  In both of the above instances, an outside company came in and beat out the actual players in the industry to make a name for themselves.  In Zillow’s case, they out-SEOd every real estate broker in the country.  In the case of Orbitz, they out ranked all of the airlines themselves.  These are only two of thousands of companies that has made their mark based off of Search Engine Optimization.

How Big of an Industry is SEO?

SEO is one of the fastest growing industries on the planet, with every sign of it getting stronger every year.  Right now, for 2016, the SEO industry is worth over 65 BILLION dollars.  That is more money than every newspaper left in the country combined.  If you are not currently leveraging a pretty large portion of your marketing spend on SEO, it may be time to look into it.