Comparing SEO to Traditional Media ? Part 1

Posted by sinexJackie on October 24th, 2013

SEO (search engine optimization) is proven to be an effective investment when compared to other marketing efforts.  How exactly does SEO stack up against traditional media for the average business? 

If you are considering how to spend your marketing dollars, take a look at these comparison points.  We will compare modern “best practice” SEO with traditional advertising like phone book ads and direct mail marketing.

Getting Traceable Results

A phone book advertising campaign usually includes a simple print ad that includes your contact information.  You cannot trace how many people read your phone book ad or how many people throw away their phone book and recycle it.  You can only trace a handful of leads you might receive, but only if you make a point to track their connection by using a unique phone number, a unique coupon or if they actually tell you they found you via the phone book.  Some phone books have online advertising programs, but those are also limited to how many people actually use the phone directory website.

With direct mail campaigns, you design a postcard and mail it out to a specified mailing list.  You have no way to track who threw away the postcard or who read the postcard but did not react to it.  If someone decided to keep the postcard and put it on their desk for later, you will not know until they opt to actually call you up a month later.  You can only track the postcard campaign if the lead contacts you using an exclusive phone number or exclusive coupon, or perhaps if they bring it to your place of business to serve as the coupon.

With professional SEO services, you can use Google Analytics and other analytical tracking tools to track all visits to your website.  You can be creative with your reporting by filtering which pages in your website are most effective and you can even track conversion rates if someone visits a specific sign up form or another call-to-action page, and you can see how much time the average user spends on your website.

Flexible Marketing Messages

A phone book advertisement is a 12-month commitment.  The ad is printed in the phone book and cannot be changed until the next year when the new directory is ready to be published.

Direct mail pieces can be designed in many creative ways, but once you print your postcard or flyer it is set on paper, and you must utilize that entire set of printed items with that fixed message.  If you have a new promotion, or if your company changes its brand message, you must design a new campaign and have new pieces printed.

SEO efforts are highly flexible.  If your company decides to promote a new product or if you have a change in contact information, you can make updates to your website at a moment’s notice.  Then you can immediately begin the process of revising your efforts toward new keywords, or new content strategies.  In some cases, you may change your audience focus and your priority of which types of customers you want to attract.  You can immediately begin creating new web pages to describe these new initiatives and start directing your SEO company to promote them.

Attracting the Right Types of Customers

Advertising in a phone directory puts your ad in front of a very broad pool of people (assuming they keep and use the phone book).  If you are in a niche business, most of those people reading the ad will not be your ideal customer.  If you are a business-to-business company, the average consumers reading the phone book will not apply to you.  The only thing filtering the leads is the category that you are listed under within the book, and that category is often somewhat broad.

Direct mail relies on a mailing list.  You might order a mailing list from a printing or lead generating company and narrow it down by a certain area or a certain category.  These mailing lists are typically very broad.  They only assume that someone on the list might be interested in using your product.  Unless you are using a list of subscribed customers for a special project, you likely have no idea if anyone on the mailing list is a qualified customer.

With SEO marketing, you reverse your situation and focus on customers who are already searching for your product.  You focus on making your website attractive to search engines and to people and building your reputation online, so that when a qualified customer does search for the appropriate keyword, they find you.  When your SEO company performs diligent keyword research, they put together a list of terms that closely describe your unique product and your unique customer challenges.  This ensures that your business gets in front of ideal customers and not just a general observer.

WEBii is an award-winning web services provider founded in 1996 with a solid reputation for excellent customer service for over 17 years. WEBii offers SEO marketing, custom web design and development, and web hosting services, with offices based in Austin, TX. Learn more about what they can do for you at


Like it? Share it!


About the Author

Joined: August 16th, 2013
Articles Posted: 7

More by this author