<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Ignite Your Site: Is traditional SEO worth it anymore?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Is traditional SEO worth it anymore?

I'm currently in the process of reading a book about Google Adwords entitled "Winning Results with Google Adwords" by Andrew Goodman. One of the things that came up in the start of the book was whether SEO, the traditional one site method, is worth the investment.

Is SEO worth the money?
Now I'd be inclined to say yes, but I'm going to hesitate there. SEO has become such a large industry that it would be hard to give a sweeping answer either way. When speaking of SEO there are the traditional on site methods such as keyword optimization, copy optimization, title tags, etc. Then there are the off site factors like link building and social media generation.

As the book notes, some if not all of the practices of traditional SEO could really fall under good usability. These are things that you would want to do regardless of whether the search engines existed or not. Having a good title tag that describes your page is just smart no matter what effect it has, and the same goes for page content and calls to action.

So what part of SEO is worth the money?
There definitely is value in "SEO" which should probably be referred to as SEM or search engine marketing, or website marketing to be more precise. Building good quality content and distributing it to note worthy blogs is a great resource for driving traffic to your website and hopefully boosting sales. The same can be said for twittering or having a facebook page. These are all resources that without some know-how can be a little overwhelming to tackle.

Then what is the answer, is SEO worth it?
I think we need to stop thinking of SEO as "being #1 on the search engines". We need to start looking at SEO as a form of marketing, just as it was meant to be. Sure going through the site is a good idea to make sure it's up to par, but if you are paying a company a monthly budget to "maintain your SEO" you are wasting your money (that is unless they are maintaining your PPC campaign, doing link building, twittering, etc). But if all they are doing is generating a report that shows you where you are ranking and "tweaking" your site accordingly, please stop the contract you are getting very little if anything in return.

Your monthly payments should be going towards services that you can track and monitor and can see what type of ROI your are getting. Link building for example can be directly tracked and monitored with a variety of tools. Your SEO/SEM expert can show you what they've done and how that has impacted your traffic and hopefully sales.

Remember: You get what you pay for, and if you are paying for "maintenance" you might want to figure out what is being maintained.

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