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SEO and the alternatives

One of the most common requests we get from customers is that they want to rank on the first page on Google. The problem comes in when we explain what exactly it is. Luckily there are other alternatives to attracting more clients to your website.

Today we are going to look at the top 3 ways of building your digital brand, and then look at the pros and cons of each.

We will be doing a more in-depth look at each of these channels over the next few months and will give you the tools to do it yourself if you have some spare time.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is the process of making sure that your website is as easy to read and navigate for search engine bots or spiders, as possible. Bots or spiders are scripts that the search engines run. They will do 2 things:

  • This is when they read through all the content on your website.
  • Based on content, search engines will collect the keywords and search terms on your site and then add them to the database the search engines use

Once those 2 steps are completed, there is a third step that happens on the search engine’s side, and that is ranking. The higher you rank, the better you do on the search results pages.

SEO is an ongoing process and needs continuous monitoring and tweaking. Just when you think you have it figured out, the search engines will go and change their algorithms and you must start tweaking all over again.

Pros:

  • You get long term benefits to your rankings. We have had clients who were still ranking top 3 on keywords almost 2 years after they stopped their SEO.
  • The top 3 slots get the highest share of clicks on search results pages
  • New keywords that you want to start ranking for, get a boost based on your website’s authority, so the journey is easier

Cons:

  • The costs of a proper SEO campaign will generally put people off. You are looking at an initial outlay of at least R15 000 and then from R2500 per month
  • It will take 6 to 12 months before you start getting properly ranked by Google
  • There is no guarantee that you will get a top 3 slot. If you are dealing with an agency that claims that they can make it possible, they cannot! There are loads of brilliant SEO agencies out there, and all you need is 4 or 5 of them to all be competing on the same keyword, to see how badly that can end.

What is SEM?

Search Engine Marketing or more commonly known as PPC (Pay Per Click), is a fantastic alternative to SEO. It has similarities to SEO in that you identify certain keywords, or search phrases, but then you bid to get displayed on search results pages. There will typically be between 3 and 5 paid ad slots on each Search results page.

As the name suggests, you only pay when somebody clicks on your advert.

There are several ways of setting these campaigns up, and we strongly advise that you do not go with the default Google setup, as that is designed to maximise their income and will end up costing you way more than you need to pay.

Pros:

  • You control the spending. You will set a daily budget as to what your maximum expenditure is. If there are lots of searches on keywords that you are looking for, Google Ads may spend up to double your daily budget, but will never end up going over your monthly budget.
  • You start getting hits within a few days. Google Ads will have a few days of “learning” where it cross-references your ads, keywords, and landing pages to give you a relevance score. Once that is done, you will start appearing on search results pages.
  • You can integrate Ads into Google Analytics, so it is easy to see if your ads are working.

Cons:

  • No pay, no play. As soon as you stop spending with Google, your ads will no longer appear
  • Due to its popularity, there is a massive amount of competition

What is SMM?

Social Media Marketing is the new kid on the block. All the large platforms now offer the ability to advertise your business. The costs vary from platform to platform but are very competitive against traditional PPC rates.

We will do a series of posts on each platform down the line, as there are marked differences in what you can and can’t do on the various platforms.

Not all platforms will work for different businesses. We work with two gyms; one gets all its traction on Facebook, and another gets theirs on Instagram. An understanding of who your clientele is will help you here.

Pros:

  • Wider reach than with PPC
  • Great for building brand awareness

Cons:

  • Not as focused as PPC
  • Platforms can change their algorithms, like Facebook did a few months back, and end up wasting your budget. We had clients who didn’t get a single sale on boosts, where their previous campaigns were getting 12 to 15, a day.

In an ideal world, your business should be doing all 3 forms of digital marketing, but we understand the reality is that time and budget are not always there. We are here to help you narrow down your choices, even if you want to do it yourself.

Feel free to drop us an email and we will gladly give you some advice.

tom@mailmen.co.za

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