A long standing issue that small businesses and business in their infancy have had to deal with is how to decide how much time and budget to spend on developing their brand awareness and how much time and money to invest in search engine optimisation. With the increasing amount of prospective customers turning to the Internet, and more specifically the search engines, to find what they want it is becoming ever more tempting to set aside more and more time and money for the purposes of search engine marketing (SEM) to secure a healthy slice of the search engine traffic and the search engine sales. However, there is a worry about this approach that I feel is necessary to highlight.
Whilst there is nothing immediately wrong with investing heavily in a search engine optimisation campaign there is always the possibility of it having a negative impact upon your business.
Despite a successful SEM campaign driving traffic to your site and generating prospects and sales, whilst this greatly benefits the chances of meeting your business’ immediate and medium term goals there is the possibility of leaving your long term goals not only unsecured but arguably vulnerable to factors outside your control.
The more time and effort you spend on SEM will leave fewer resources for you to invest in your long-term brand value. Whilst successful SEM campaigns can meet your business’ targets there is no substitute for your visitors to come to site directly. If your business is known through having a high brand value then your long-term goals will be far less vulnerable as I shall explain below.
Today it is becoming increasingly necessary for businesses to take advantage of the vast amount of traffic the search engines generate but a marketing model built upon sales produced by the search engines alone is like building your house next to an active volcano. Maybe the volcano (Google) will simmer away and leave you alone with your high search engine rankings or perhaps Google, as we have seen in the past, will have an eruption and with one slight algorithm change your search engine rankings (house) will disappear overnight.
On the other hand, developing brand awareness outside the search engines will build stability for your business and the search engines will even take notice of your brand value and reward you. Whilst SEM campaigns are extremely important, it is highly advisable not to be completely reliant upon the search engines because they are a factor that you cannot control. Spending more time on your brand value and perhaps leaving others to do your SEO will give you more time to spend building your business with your long-term goals at the forefront of your mind whilst leaving your short-medium term goals unaffected.