The Cost of Free Advertising vs SEO

March 13, 2012
by Conor Treacy

    Omaha SEO_Big Red SEOThe other day, I was out at a business in Council Bluffs and the owner just happened to be walking out the door with me as he was picking up the mail. In the mail, there was a new magazine, and he had made mention that he was getting free advertising in the magazine. I asked him how he managed to do that, and he proceeded to tell me that he had purchased advertising with the magazine a few months ago but they had made an error in the advertisement and as a result they were running ads free of charge in order to make up for their oversight.

    The Cost of Free Advertising

    Free advertising! I want some of that, but not at the cost of an error in the advertisement. How big was the error? It was an incorrect phone number going to his competition. Nonetheless, the advertising company did do the right thing and ran the advertisement several times free of charge. I asked hi  how much business he had received from the advertising, and he replied that he had seen zero response. I had a quick look at the cover of the magazine, and it turns out the magazine was geared towards children programs.

    The Importance of Keyword Effectiveness Index

    Strangely enough, the business that I was at was an automotive parts shop. As an Omaha SEO expert, I perform a  KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index) after an SEO campaign has been set up. The KEI shows which keywords are the most effective and valuable to use. The more popular the word, the more targeted traffic you could see on the site if done correctly. Competition plays a factor in delivering these leads.

    Free advertising is a good thing, as it does get you exposure, but if it’s not driving any sales, what’s the point? I asked the owner, “What’s your free advertising really worth?” His response was, “At least I’m in the eye of the public, right?” While the customer originally spent $300 on an advertising campaign, it was the wrong target market for his product. I asked the owner if he planned to rerun the ads now that the free advertising was over, and he said yes, he would rerun the advertisement. His thought process behind this was that eventually someone would see the ad and purchase his product.

    As an alternative to the money spent in the magazine, I asked the client what he thought of SEO services in order to drive traffic to his website. He responded that he knew nothing of SEO and had no time to learn it, but from what he had heard, the fees could  be very expensive.  I informed him that many of the fees that you find on the Internet are exaggerated fees, or fees for specific markets. Often, if you work with an SEO company, they will custom tailor a plan to the clients’ needs as well as price range.

    SEO prices in Omaha, Nebraska, which is where our business Big Red SEO is located, are vastly different than the fees that you would pay in New York City, Los Angeles, or Miami. This is true of pretty much every business out there- it’s all about the market. When you start an online search for SEO services, don’t just type in “SEO Services”, you need to specify your local area. For example, “SEO Services Omaha” or “Omaha SEO Company“, will yield local results for that particular market.

    Big Red SEO provides SEO services for all types of businesses. We guarantee that we can develop an SEO plan for you that will produce results and not break the bank. Contact us today for a free quote or a review of your existing website. In the end, I’m all about free advertising, but not for your competitor!

    Conor Treacy


    Conor Treacy has been in the SEO game since the mid-90's when SEO hadn't yet come into full fruition. He spends most of his days performing website audits, reading and writing SEO blogs and industry related material. The rest of his time is consumed with correcting people on their invalid and blackhat ways. The SEO world has changed in recent years, there's a lot of disinformation on the web!


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