SEO: keeping PPC costs down
It’s Friday lunchtime, and I’ve apparently had a Redbull enema – so here’s my latest re-entry into the blogosphere. I think it’s fair to say my ceramic tiles have come loose, because I’m on fire…and not in a good way. Want to find out how your website is actually a pub? Need to see how I’ve compared Google’s PPC ads to a hooker? Read on, and all will be revealed!
After a recent review of a high-street retailer’s website – and how the content was completely invisible to Google – I thought I’d break it out into a little blog post in it’s own right.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has always been the focus of various detractors, and recently they’ve have reared their heads again and no doubt will continue to do so in various guises. It also has its supporters, and this is partially what I want to focus on.
Controversially, I’m going to start with my main point:
Optimising a website for search engines can help drive down your customer acquisition costs, by driving down the cost of your Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns.
How? Quite simply, if your website content is findable by search, then you’ll most likely spend less on PPC.
That’s not to say there’s no place for PPC: a good website strategy should be made up of a bedrock of solid natural searchability & accessibility, and if at all possible run in parallel with a PPC & display strategy.
Consider it like this:
You own a bar that you want people to come and drink in. You’ve worked hard and spent money getting the bar up & running, making it look fucking fantastic and stocking it with some rather fine ales and premium-quality nuts…but no-one seems to visit. The reason? Whilst making it look so great, it’s alienated ‘John the friendly homeless guy’ and all his hobo friends. They won’t go in, because they thinks posh people’ll laugh at them. Unfortunately for you, everyone loves John – so if he doesn’t drink somewhere, no-one does.
You end up employing a hooker (just bear with me, this metaphor is going to rock) to stand in the high street with a big sign that points to the location of your bar. But this costs you money, because – let’s face it – she’s expensive and keeps running off with other clients who pay her more to do things for them.
Compare this to a bar your friend is running. They thought ahead when they were doing their business plan, and made it John-friendly: all the vagrants love it! They also made sure that there were signs outside that advertised the place. They have the same stock as you, but everyone knows about it. Before long, the place is packed, John’s been in (and promptly been banned for vomiting in the peanuts), and you’re out of business.
A convoluted metaphor, but one that – in my Redbull powered state – I feel works.
How this metaphor works:
The bar is your website; The way it looks fucking fantastic – that’s a site built badly in Flash; The delightful selection of alcohol is your website content; John the homeless guy is Google’s organic search spider, and his hobo mates are other search engines. The hooker is Google’s sponsored listings – who keeps ‘doing things’ (advertising) for other people who pay more.
Your friend who thought ahead and unlocked the door to the vagrants? That’s including a search strategy and accessibility in the web-build strategy. The signs they put outside? A solid display strategy to match the bedrock searchability.
SEO is an important part of site design and build. Full stop.
The reality is that, whilst the best techniques are indeed common knowledge and free, implementing them properly and consistently is still overlooked. Good site structure and accessibility and interesting, relevant content is a great start to optimising for search – and, more importantly, optimising for people.
In fact, I hereby decree that search engine optimisation become known as optimised to be interesting for people (OTBIFP – pronounced Ott-Biff-Pee).
I’m now a registered OttBiffPee consultant. You should be too.