I’ve recently been researching SEO options for a friend who has a fast-growing e-commerce business (www.lookat.co.nz) He was keen to get SEO in place for his website and drive more sales which until now has largely been built by word of mouth and networking.

After spending some time researching providers, getting proposals, evaluating them and making a recommendation he got a bit of a shock when he found out the cost. What was perplexing for me was that not only had I recommended the provider that I felt offered the best SEO service but they were a minimum of 33% cheaper than the rest!

When I started digging into what was so challenging about the cost I realised that he saw SEO as something akin to advertising – you spend your money and then you quickly measure the increase in sales. ┬áBut SEO’s not like advertising – you spend your money and it takes 6-12 months before you really start to see the impact on sales.

I think of SEO as more like signage than advertising. Most of us when we start a business, put up a sign so people can find us. The bigger and better the sign, the more people see it. That works great for people driving past the front gate but it’s not so good at attracting people on the other side of town.

The better your SEO, the bigger, better and more attractive is the sign that points people to your website. And, like signage it’s an investment that has a enduring life – unlike the 30sec radio ad or monthly banner ad.

If you want quick results advertise – if you want longer term results, invest in SEO.

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