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Yes, unlike Adwords, clicks from SEO would be free...

Depending on your maths

I was chatting to a small business, who asked me

"Paying per click sounds expensive. Wouldn't SEO give me visitors for free?"

which is a pretty reasonable question. In a way, he's correct. You don't pay per visitor with SEO (search engine optimisation).

Yet, getting a #1 spot on Google doesn't happen by magic, so let's discuss how free it really is.

It's free if...you don't pay an agency

Most companies I know who care about SEO end up hiring an agency. After all, it takes constant study of how The Google Overlords are changing their algorithms, plus plenty of time generating content.

So if you're paying an agency, is the traffic still free?

Hopefully, the agency is bringing in a measurable amount of new business, so you still end up with a $/lead figure (that's not zero).

It's free if...you've got time to spare

Alternatively, some companies go the DIY route. Often it's the task of the marketing team.

 

They're not paying Google or an agency, so there's no bill to pay.

 

Yet, that doesn't mean it's free. After all, we should value our own time or that of our employees. The odds are you could find higher-value work to do than write yet another blog post to help with your SEO.

It's free if...you can wait for results

An SEO expert I know cautions clients that results can take up to 6-months.

That's great if you can afford to wait that long. If not, it's losing you money due to your downtime. By not being at capacity in that waiting time, you're essentially leaving money on the table.

And if you want to enter a new market sector or offer a new service? Again, you'll have to wait.

Mixing SEO and PPC

As you've seen, SEO can't bring in a stream of leads without a cost involved. If you're willing to accept the charge, pay-per-click becomes a viable option.

That's not to say SEO isn't worth also investing in. After all, plenty of people click on organic results or might find your page through unexpected searches.

If you want something to get up and running in weeks, not months, then ask me about Adwords. Once you've got leads coming in (and invoices going out), then I recommend my clients also look at SEO.

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