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SEO Basics Are the Best Marketing Dollars You Can Spend

I am going to make the term SEO (search engine optimization) interchangeable with the phrase “taking care of your business’s web presence” in this article. There are a few reasons for that, not the least of which being that the way your business (re)presents itself online these days encompasses WAY more than just a website – and SEO still makes people think in terms of working on a website.

Whether you pay someone else a scheduled fee to take care of SEO (search engine optimization) basics for you – or you put in the sweat equity to learn the fundamentals yourself, you’d be hard pressed to find a better return on your “marketing” efforts – both in terms of money AND time. If you are a small business owner that hasn’t put a lot of thought into this then this is important for you to hear. For so many reasons.

And speaking of reasons, here are two. Like it or not, most of the world is addicted to being online – usually on their phone.

Women on their phones

Don’t get me wrong, they (we) enjoy radio, tv, print and other forms of media too…but when you witness the walking dead staring at their phones EVERYWHERE you go you HAVE to concede that NOTHING compares to the internet.

As a business owner, you could try to resist this (which would be remarkably stupid) or you could use it to your advantage – which is actually fairly easy to do with a bit of focus and persistence (in other words…this requires YOU to not be an addict to your OWN phone!).

Correctly Done SEO IS Targeted marketing (on steroids)

The (supposedly) great thing about using social media marketing ads is that you can tailor your advertising to target very specific groups of people, right? Gender, age, income, interests – all the usual suspects when it comes to marketing demographics. Heck, this seems intelligent enough. After all, how do you GET any more targeted than that?

Funny you should ask. I’ll tell you.

You can spend a lot of time and money trying to market to a group (or groups) of people that would be likely to be interested in what you’re offering – and this DOES have its place. But before you do that you need to remember that there are people who are more than just “likely” to be interested in what you’re selling, they are practically jumping on a chair with a megaphone and yelling in your freaking ears TELLING YOU SPECIFICALLY that they are!

And those are the folks who just told their search engine of choice (*cough – Google) that they are looking for exactly the type of business that you run.

If I may be so tacky and toss out a few marketing clichés here, these people (with all due respect to them) are more than just “low hanging fruit…

They are more like “fish in a barrel“.

And you are holding a machine gun. Potentially.

*Creating your online presence is truly a better and more encompassing & descriptive term than SEO or search engine optimization

You see where I am going…?

I’m sure that, as a small business owner, if you let this marinate in your brain even for just a few minutes, you’ll see exactly what I mean. And maybe you’re in the minority of people that already see search engine optimization and their business’s overall web presence this way. If you are, there’s a good chance you can stop reading now (and pat yourself on the back).

However, if thinking this way about SEO, the structure of your website and your online presence in general is new to you maybe I can demonstrate a few things to really drive the point home.

SEO vs One Traditional Marketing Method: Radio

A 4 Day Radio Spot VS A Well Written Article on Your Site

A Quick Comparison

Does a radio spot cost money?

I’m not trying to insult anyone’s intelligence. Of course I know that you know it does. I’m just doing an honest comparison – and sometimes that means pointing out the glaringly obvious.

It also goes without saying that prices will vary a LOT depending on where you are and what you do, but the tiny bit of research I’ve done says that you’ll probably pay AT LEAST $400 for an ad that runs for 4 days at about 14 times per day. (Again, there is no way I can give a deadly accurate number…this is just to illustrate a point)

Does writing a well crafted article on your website cost money?

Likely not. Unless of course you outsource the writing. In that case it may cost $50 – $100 (again…BALLPARK numbers). If you write it yourself (or have a staff member do it) then all it costs you is a little bit of time.

Remember, though – and I’ll bring this up again – even IF you pay a bit of money to have a blog post / article written for you, that article lives FOREVER (or until you delete it). It doesn’t have a 4 day shelf life. This means, it could bring you in extra business this month AND 3 years from now!

Will your (expensive) radio ad reach the ears of the right person at the right time?

Definitely maybe. Most of the variables here are fairly obvious. Just for the sake of being thorough, though – here are two blatant ones.

  • Purely from a “bad timing” standpoint that radio ad is going to miss a lot of potential customers. You can’t avoid that. They do, after all, have to fit in SOME music in between the commercials.
  • That radio could absolutely reach the ears of someone that would NORMALLY be interested in your offer, but just reach them at an inopportune time.
How long does a 4 day radio ad run?

Ah…4 days

How long does a well crafted article live on your website?


Well crafted content on your website will stay there until you decide to remove it. Google (or any other search engine) has access to your article and could potentially deliver your content as an answer to a question – forever.

Let that sink in before you close this box. Really.

Now YOU tell ME the importance of good quality content on your website. It’s staggering, isn’t it?

How many people turn on the radio to listen to ads?


Okay, maybe 3 – but those are the marketers themselves! 🙂

How many people that search for a business in Google are searching for a business in Google?

All of them.

(Try to keep up)

In Conclusion

I truly hope you gained some value and insight from this article. I tried to keep it a little bit light hearted and funny. In all seriousness though, I am always amazed by some of the interactions I have with small business owners that are always more than ready to shell out big chunks of money for incredibly short lived marketing campaigns (radio, tv, print, etc) before they ever even consider taking care of the ONE asset that can (and would) benefit them for… close to forever.

If you take anything at all away – don’t let that be you.

AND – if you know anyone that would benefit from shifting their thinking based on the information here, please feel free to share. I truly believe this is something EVERY small business owner needs to consider – and then consider again.

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Marc is a Dad, a Web Designer, a Creator of Branding and an occasional blogger . (and probably in that order!) with some affiliate marketing thrown in for good measure.

He owns Thirsty Fish Graphic Design, A one-man web design biz., based in Corning, NY which is in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate NY.

He enjoys physical fitness and healthy eating to an annoying degree, playing guitar, playing piano, sketching and most of all hanging with his daughter doing just about anything!

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