Saturday, April 12, 2014

The True Cost of Free Search Engine Results


Now there's a four-letter word we all love.

It does not matter if it's free shipping, a free dinner, free gas, you name it. Free is great! But we all know and understand that in reality, there's no such thing. Someone, at some point, paid or will pay for the freebie.

And the same applies to those coveted "free" website visitors that, supposedly, will find their way to your website thanks to "free" search engine links.

Assuming that you built your e-commerce site, and you have either an office or a warehouse where you store the stuff you sell, and you have employees (at least one, and yes, that one employee could be you) and all the associated costs (overhead) of operating such an enterprise, then why in the world would you consider anyone who visits your site—thanks to a search engine link—a "free" customer?

Okay, okay... I get the general idea behind this thinking. But my point is that you must "earn" the right to show up on those "free" SERPs, and if you have to earn the right, then it means that the "free" traffic really cost you something.

So, if your overhead is say $14,000 a month (I am throwing around imaginary numbers to illustrate a point), and your site had 100,000 free visitors for that same period, then the argument could be made that those "free" visits really cost you 14 cents each. Right?

Wow! Guess free is not what it used to be.

Now imagine that you are planning to hire an SEO "expert," who claims to be able to generate so much organic (free) traffic, you'll be busy fulfilling orders and making money hand over fist.

The only tiny, itsy bitsy problem, of course, is that SEO is not free. And as far as I know, it does not come with any kind of money-back guarantee or anything like that. You pay the "expert" and you take your chances. And SEO can take months to start working, and you have to keep "investing" money so the "system" will work, blah, blah, blah.

So let me ask you a question...

How much money are you willing to spend in order to get some of that "free" traffic?