As more and more customers use the Internet to research purchases, you might assume that any online marketing strategy requires a significant level of search engine optimization (SEO). But if your target market is local, argues Kenton Newby in an article at MarketingProfs, that assumption may not necessarily apply.

"[A]lthough SEO has proven to be a profitable marketing channel for many businesses," he says, "you should ask yourself a few questions before investing in a full-blown SEO campaign."

Newby suggests several questions, including these:

  • Are there enough people in your local area looking online for what you offer? He points to resources such as the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to determine how many people search for particular keywords each month.
  • Does your page do a good job of converting visitors to sales? "No matter how much traffic you get or what your website rankings are," he says, "you can't cover the bills unless people are actually buying. So you need to know how well your site converts your visitors into taking action."
  • What is the lifetime value of your customer? Knowing how much the typical customer will spend over the course of the relationship helps to determine whether a major SEO campaign makes sense for your company.

The Po!nt: As effective as SEO can be for many businesses, it might not deliver the ROI you need to justify its expense.

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