As someone who started her career in digital marketing with a crash course in SEO, I’m a loyal believer in its intrinsic benefits. I know PPC is great and social media marketing is the current trendy channel of choice, but I keep coming back to SEO and the necessity of having a properly optimised website before embarking on various other marketing endeavours. Without an optimised website and comprehensive SEO strategy all your other digital marketing efforts are for naught.
My stance as an SEO evangelist is not without merit. It’s a view upheld by many online marketers of note. SEO’s effectiveness is also proven time and again in marketing studies and reports, the latest of which is the 2011 State of Digital Marketing Report by Webmarketing 123.
The report, cited by Matt McGee on Search Engine Land, looked the effectiveness of SEO, PPC and social media marketing when it comes to lead generation for B2B and B2C companies in the US. Both B2B and B2C companies credit SEO with generating the most leads. In the case of B2B companies, 57.4% believe SEO is the most effective lead generator; 41% of B2C companies share the sentiment.
PPC came second but the margin between SEO and PPC is fairly significant. The difference between PPC and social media is also fairly significant. Despite this, both types of companies plan on increasing social media marketing budgets considerably. SEO and PPC will also get greater budget, but once again, social media is grabbing the glory.
Many people think that SEO is more or less a once off thing. Once your site has been optimised there is not an awful lot left to be done, so budget can be allocated to fun things like social media. The truth is that SEO is an ongoing process that needs to be constantly tweaked and adapted to take into account changing search behaviour, search engine updates and seasonal trends.
Think of online marketing as a conflict situation: social media and PPC determine the outcomes of various battles, but SEO determines the outcome of the war.