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The "Five Whys" of SEO and Organic Search
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Well it is early 2009 and we have seen the emergence of a new American President, we have seen a continued slide into a recession in North America and we continue to see professional athletes and entertainers remain overpaid. In addition for Marketers we continue to see avoidance of one of the most cost effective mediums available... Search.

Search is still the most accountable marketing channel as Enquiro's own Gord Hotchkiss pointed out in his recent article, Google Evolves Back to its Core.

So what does that mean for your business? Well it means that you should use your time wisely when planning your marketing budgets and your marketing efforts. With regards to online marketing efforts, SEO is still considered by many traditional marketers as a temporary means of gaining visibility in the online world. Many feel that the time and effort SEO takes simply provides very little benefit or return. (We have a number of clients that would suggest otherwise.) Yet, even while the vast majority of online marketing attention often goes toward sponsored search, SEO or organic search can often provide the greatest return.

Why the Fuss About SEO?

Maybe its the name SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Hmm yeah, I can see where people may not be able to identify with the phrase Search Engine Optimization, for SEO is not just about manipulating search engine results. Which is why I prefer the term Organic Search. Organic Search is about content and about finding ways to intercept your audience through Search.

I get this feeling that marketers are scared of SEO or Organic Search. Why else would they not be leveraging organic search? I tried to put myself in the shoes of one who is considering SEO but does not yet quite know enough about it to proceed. As a result, I came up with the five whys of SEO aka the five whys of Organic Search along with some of the fears that I think people have when it comes to SEO.

The Five Why's of SEO & Organic Search

Why Are Businesses Afraid of SEO?
  • afraid of the great return?
  • afraid of the longevity of results?
  • afraid to write and produce new content?
  • afraid of having to wait for results?
Marketers who are afraid of SEO have this lingering anxiety towards online marketing. Probably stemming from these common fears:
  • Realizing that in a matter of the past five-seven years, marketing as we had known it has undergone a transformation
  • The Global Economy has never experienced such a slide
  • The Flavor of the Week is simply not good enough anymore
  • Consumers have become educated and now dictate how they wanted to be "marketed to"

Why Are Businesses Afraid to Budget for Organic Search?
  • afraid that you'll miss out on the million dollar SuperBowl spot?
  • afraid that you might accomplish more... with less?
  • afraid that your boss doesn't get it (SEO)?
  • afraid Google is going away?
The fact of the matter is that SEO or Organic Search is very cost effective when compared to other forms of advertising and promotion. If you have not fought for your online marketing budget, start now. Gord pointed out in his article how Google continues to roll. Let's face it there is no Google-killer in site for the immediate future. Google is not going away anytime soon.

Why Do People Think that SEO is dead?
  • afraid that SEO is going to stick around?
  • afraid that the Internet is going away?
  • afraid that traditional advertising media is going to make a comeback?
  • afraid that SEO is a one-hit-wonder type of trend?
SEO is not dead. Certain tactics may be dead which is why understanding your business objectives and developing strategies to meet these objectives becomes so important. Tactics change and quickly become dated. Effective Organic Search is more than tactics, it's about having a plan to "conquer the online mountain".

Why is SEO/Organic Search Important?
  • afraid that your audience is not buying online?
  • afriad that your audience does not frequent online communities?
  • afraid that your audience does not use Search?
  • afraid that you cannot keep up with your competition in the online space?
The fact of the matter is while not everybody goes online to make a purchase, they do go online to find information. So while they may not be ready to make a purchase, they are using Search to research their options. They do look for product/solutions comparisons and they expect to find the information that they are looking for in a quick and easy manner. SEO is the perfect tool to intercept these people. The more you hesitate, the more you open the door for a competitor to dominate the online environment for your industry or business.

Why Do Businesses Not Take Search Seriously?
  • afraid that nobody else in your industry is using Search? (So why should you?)
  • afraid that Search will have little impact people's offline behavior?
  • afraid that you are too late to jump on the "Search Bandwagon"?
The perception of Search is actually starting to change quite quickly. Most Fortune 500. Fortune 100 and Fortune 50 firms are putting more efforts, budget and resources towards SEO and Search Marketing. You have to remember that Search is relatively new to the world. Rome wasn't built in a day... SEO and Search Marketing cannot rise to the top of the marketing ladder in one day either. As Search goes mainstream, and as marketing dollars get tighter and tighter, expect Search to attract more attention as an effective means of marketing one's business and one's brand.

It's no longer a question of why you should participate in and why should you allocate budget towards SEO and Organic Search, it's more of a question of how much and when. The later part of that question is easy, as the time is now. How much you put into SEO and Search totally depends on your needs, your industry and your willingness to succeed online.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, January 28, 2009  
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