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Get SEO as part of your SEM or your business may be SOL!

December 1, 2010

Does it seem to you that everyone and his brother is on the SEO bandwagon?

In case you missed the memo, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. (It never ceases to amaze me that all the technobabble has long, complicated, must-have-a-MBA-to-understand type names.) All of these names get reduced to silly acronyms that techies make sure you feel like you’re from the Stone Age if you don’t know what NVIIDLE stands for. (And I just hit random keys on the keyboard to make up that one!)

Recently I seem to be bumping into jillions (literally) of people who have jumped on the SEO bandwagon. They’re all working as SEO specialists or sales specialists for the SEO companies. Now really, we can’t all be on the first page of every organic Google search results page. We can’t all be #1 at the front of the line. And we can’t all hire other people to buy us, or coach us, into that #1 position. In fact, I’m willing to bet that not everyone even wants to be in that hot seat all the time. Does it guarantee your business will explode in growth? No. A little bit? I should hope so!

What’s my point? SEO right now is like the Rubix cube, the Pet Rock — the next hot thing. I’m not saying it’ll practically disappear like those former flashes-in-pans. And I’m certainly NOT poopooing the necessity of doing what’s necessary to get your business the most and best exposure to the widest target market. Indeed, I encourage that. In fact, SEO has gotten so big that it’s spawned a whole new spinoff: SEM – Search Engine Marketing. Gaining the greatest visibility on the internet can be crucial to many businesses, so SEO may be quite important to your company.

If your business is 100% online, deriving every last penny of revenue from having the greatest exposure online, then you’d better be strategizing with a true expert in Search Engine Marketing to analyze your leads and sales to the nth degree across all known search engine sourcing.

But I don’t believe that every Tom, Dick and Harry can be an expert – can guarantee (as most do) – that your company will be headlining in Widgets All Over the World – on every Google or Yahoo screen across the land. That’s just silly.

Yes, the pendulum is still swinging. Like our Universe, we’re still searching for the edges of the Internet. Where does it stop? When do we fall off? If I market my widgets on beyond Pluto, will I make zillions in sales to the Andromedeans? (But how will you ship them there???)

I digress. Marketing on the new frontier continues to expand. We’re still on the Oklahoma land rush out in the ether, taking new ground, staking new turf. That’s well and good. But if you get a five-acre spread with views until the cows come home for just pennies on the dollar, does it make a lot of sense if your entire family is back on the East Coast. If your target market still actually reads bits of snail mail, flips over a postcard, answers the phone, shops at a grocery store (where they place ads on the little kiddie flip seats and cart backs). If your customer may ride a bus, go to the movies or the ballet, flies a plane…well, you get the idea. The old media isn’t dead. Sure, much of the old world media has shrunk dramatically. Much of it remains still transforming into something else yet to be determined. But folks are still there. So don’t abandon the old, traditional marketing venues wholesale.

While the Oregon Trail is but some fading ruts in the dirt in much of the Great Plains now, it was once heavily trafficked. The stampede for #1 on Google’s search results is surely a worthy goal. But look how many chose to plant their roots along the way to the Gold Rush in California? They’ve led happy and successful lives and businesses from Missouri to Oregon. In your rush to reach the top of Mount Google, have you forgotten about a perfectly good target market that isn’t parked on Facebook all day?

Will your business truly be Sh*t Out of Luck if you don’t blow your entire marketing budget on SEO or SEM? Probably not. You’ll still be standing. And you might even see a whole new market (or one you’d almost forgotten) just waiting for your products or services that you wouldn’t have otherwise recognized had you not taken a moment to step back and appreciate the entire, old and new marketing landscape. Sure. SEO is important, but it isn’t the be all, end all. There are LOTS of providers out there. Review their offerings carefully and compare before buying. Remember the old adage: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – at least, not all your techno-acronyms!

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