People tend to think of search marketing as easy – a fast path to leads and traffic for a website – until they have experienced failure, at which point it is inevitably heard somewhere, “I thought this SEM/SEO stuff was easy”…
Is Search Engine Marketing Easy?
The Short Answer:
No, not at all.
The Longer Answer:
One common misunderstanding around search engine marketing is that it is not a difficult activity- but rather an activity easy enough to be succesful at if one only had the time.
This is a very circa 2001 way of thinking. Since then web has gotten a whole lot more competitive and the search engines a whole more sophisticated.
Every website, keyword list and competitive space presents unique challenges from a search marketing perspective. Unless, you’re doing business in a very narrow, highly specialized niche, expect pages of entrenched competitors and stiff competition at the top of the results. Of the over 5,000 keyword phrases I evaluated this year that had significant search volume (>2000 domestic searches per month), the overwhelming majority (85%+) were the targets of deliberate, ongoing optimization efforts by other websites. Thus, little exists in the way of low hanging fruit for high volume, short/concise keyword phrases. To get to the top is going to be a har, long slog 85% of the time.
My Favorite Answer:
If you’ve ever played a Bimini Ring Game in a bar almost anywhere touristy in the Caribbean – you’ll appreciate where I’m heading with this. In the Bimini Ring Game, players swing a piece of rope with a metal ring on it and try to have it hook on to a ring (usually on the bar’s wall). It looks so simple. Some guy 8 margaritas deep can do it. But when your turn comes, you swing and miss repeadetly (Wanna Try? Here’s an office size version of a Bimini Ring Game for your corporate happy hours minus the large metal pieces swinging in the office lounge).
Search Marketing is very similar… the problem seems straightforward enough: drive traffic to your web assets using SEO, PPC, and a variety of other tactics. However, after dipping into the water you find that nothing has worked and that you’ve missed the hook again and again. This is very common and very frustrating – succesful search marketing is comprised of many moving pieces – and few part time internet marketers every get it right. If you’re trying to learn this “game” you’re going to need a lot more than a few hours a month. Instead, you’ll need heavy duty expertise guiding your efforts, taking you through multiple optimization iterations, shortening the learning curve, and finding tactics that are actually going to work for you.