Written By: Adam Dince
Part of my job and one of my favorite things to do is keep up on industry reading. While I enjoy hearing diffierent points of view on search marketing, it always gets under my skin when authors use the word “search” without clearly differentiating between paid and organic (SEO). While search marketing definitely casts a wide net, PPC and SEO are two completely different practices and should be addressed as such. Because I’ve read so much about “search” in general lately, I wanted to throw in my two cents on SEO and PPC.
For those of you who know me or have kept up with my blog, you are keenly aware of my best friend and dog, Sam. I met Sam a little over four and a half years ago when looking to adopt a rescue dog. Typically, the things in my life that mean most to me are the things I’ve had to fix up a bit to get into working shape. Sam was no exception to the rule.
See, Sam was severely abused by his original owner. When I first brought him home, he had very noticeable emotional damage. If you reached down to pet him, your leg might get a little wet or he might flinch and run away. Cheering too loud while watching a football game typically sent Sam running into another room. Getting Sam to let you hook-up a leash to his collar became a task that required a doggy behavioral specialist.
It took some time for Sam to learn that he was in a loving home and wouldn’t be hurt again. But with much love and care, my boy is a brand new dog. He’s happy-go-lucky, loves people, and is a pretty obnoxious attention hog.
I bring up Sam’s story, because SEO is a lot like being an adoptive pet parent. Often times, an SEO adopts a site that is in fairly bad shape. While your Website might look “cute” on the outside, upon further inspection, your SEO discovers that there are major issues that require time and love to work out. Some high-level examples are:
- Technical obstacles that prevent search engines, users and other agents from accessing content
- Lack of on-page thematic consistency
- Not being popular with other Websites and people
- Difficult for users to navigate and find content
- Disruptive features that distract users from conversion
- Server restrictions and enterprise obstacles
Recently, I’ve read quite a few opinion pieces about search becoming commoditized. And while I agree that paid search is starting to fall into that category, I believe that SEO is becoming less and less of a commodity. In the future, I see brands and marketers investing more money in SEO. Why? Because SEO isn’t just advertising—it’s the TLC that will nurse your ailing Website back to health. And it’s the good trainer that will make sure that your new Website is optimized from day one. SEO is not a band aid that temporarily fixes poor site performance. That’s what paid search is for. Paid search could care less about how accessible or optimized your Website is. Yes, paid search is great! It can help drive traffic to your site without addressing its deeper lying issues. It can be great for seasonal and promotional content. It can be great for keywords that need time to start ranking in organic search results. However, with paid search is, as soon as you stop paying, all the benefit goes away.
As the old saying goes, “true beauty comes from the inside”—I believe that to be the same with a Website. SEO works from the inside out and requires a commitment from both the advertiser and the SEO. Much like making the decision to adopt a rescue dog and being a loving parent to it, you must also make that same decision when deciding to engage in an SEO strategy. While your Website may have some damage that has gone untreated for a long time, a talented SEO can help you fix it all up. And if it’s a new site that you’re building, an solid SEO can train it from day one so that as it gets older, it becomes the best friend to your business you need it to be.
To read more thoughts on SEO, please check out my article on why Automated SEO Is Not the Solution