One viable alternative to spending money on SEO is to use pay-per-click advertising — these are the results that appear in a sidebar when a person searches a keyword. To decide whether this is worth it, you will need to weigh the price of what it will cost for pay-per-click against the investment of building your website to be the number one listing. Let’s look at an example: say you are a plumber in San Diego, and the best keyword for your site would be “San Diego plumbers.” Using Google Adwords, you see that this keyword is fairly competitive, but that 2,000 people use it every month. The first thing you would probably do is search this keyword in Google, and see where your site is listed.
There are two kinds of traffic that will appear from your search: organic and inorganic.The inorganic listings are listed at the top, usually in a box that is pinkish in color. The organic listings are all of the sites listed below that, and these sites are much more effective at drawing traffic. If you are at the top of the organic listings for this keyword, then you can assume that ten percent, or 200 of those 2,000 searchers will visit your site. If you are in second position, you can pencil in about seven percent, third position, five percent — and after that the amount of visitors to sites below the third listing drops precipitously. The obvious goal is to be the top-listed site for the keyword you are targeting. This can be done through building back-links and through other methods of Search Engine Optimization. Targeting keywords, and using SEO to push your site to the top is something that many website development companies can do for you. However, you have to decide if it is worth the price.
Let’s go back to the “San Diego plumbers” example. Since this is a fairly competitive keyword, you may have to pay a web developer $2,000 to make your site the number one listing, and another $100 dollars a month to maintain that ranking. If you opt to go with pay-per-click, it may cost you $2 per click for each visitor. Through Google Adwords you know that 2,000 people search that keyword on a monthly basis, so ostensibly you would be receiving 200 visitors a month either way. Using simple math you can see that over the course of a year, you will have paid $3,200 to have your site be listed at the top and $4,800 for pay-per-click, within two years SEO will cost you $4,400 and pay-per-click will be $9,600, and so on. In this case it easy to see that SEO is a much wiser long-term investment. The important thing is to work this formula out for your specific situation and decide which route will yield the best results with the least cost. And remember that keyword competition will largely dictate how much you will have to spend on achieving a top rating for your site, and how much traffic you will receive. The more competitive the keyword, the more you will likely have to pay to stay on top. And as always, if you do decide to pay a person or company that will help you with SEO, make sure you go with a reputable company that has proven results.