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Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a prospective client. He was the marketing director of a relatively well-known supply company. One of his employees had asked me to speak with him about SEO. Here's how the conversation went (names have been changed...).

Bob: Hi Mr. Smith, Joe wanted me to talk to you about search engine optimization.

Mr. Smith: Thanks Bob, but we're happy with our SEO results currently.

Bob: Ok, but Joe indicated that you're showing on the 6th or 7th page of the rankings in both Yahoo! and Google...

Mr. Smith (interrupting): Yes, but we're number one when someone types in [our company name].

Bob: Yes, but with SEO you're trying to reach NEW prospects, someone that doesn't know who you are, but is searching for your products.

Mr. Smith: We don't sell anything online, so I'm not really interested in that.

Bob: You don't need to sell your product online- if someone searches online and finds you, they're very likely to visit the store. Just because someone is searching online, it doesn't mean they're buying online.

I'll stop here because the remainder of the conversation went in circles. I was determined to clarify the value of search engine marketing to him, but he just couldn't (or wouldn't) get it.

As you're looking for new ways to grow your business, search engine marketing should absolutely be considered as part of your marketing mix. It may not end up making sense for you, much depends on your geographic market, competition, your product margins, etc., but it needs to be explored.

Most likely, thousands of searches are done every day by individuals looking for the products and services that you offer. If you're not exposing your business to them through the search engines, most of them will never know who you are, and you're guaranteed to lose a portion of them to your competitors.

Do yourself and your business a favor. First, accept the fact that search engine marketing is definitely impacting your business, right now, for good (if you're in the game) or for bad (if you're not). Then, learn about search engine marketing, and through your own efforts or using an expert, figure out how it can be applied to your business. And if your determination is that it cannot cost-effectively work for you, at least you've made an educated decision.

FOR AN SEO OVERVIEW, PLEASE READ "Search Engine Optimization: Take your website to the next level."

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