South Florida CEO Magazine
interviews Lisa BuyerA tech savvy article in the December issue of South Florida CEO magazine called Search Rescue notes The Buyer Group’s CEO, Lisa Buyer
as an expert source on how online public relations can improve organic
search results. The article highlights the key differences between
search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO)
while weighing out the pros and cons of each. Click here to see the full article. Read on for the full text.
Ignoring strategies for search engine optimization could be costing you a bundle in lost traffic to your Web site.
By Jennifer LeClaire
If pay-per-click advertising campaigns to drive traffic to your Web
site are breaking your budget and traffic remains stagnant, SEO could
be your answer. Short for search engine optimization, SEO is the
process of updating your site in ways that get it to rank as high as
possible in search engine results. The higher you rank, the greater the
chances searchers will click through to your site. A strategic SEO
campaign can boost search traffic and lower your spending on SEO’s
cousin, search engine marketing — buying ads alongside search results.
“If you plan to generate revenue or leads from your Web site, then you
ought to make it as search engine-friendly as possible,” says Andrew
Wetzler, president of MoreVisibility.com Inc., a search engine
optimization firm in Boca Raton. “CEOs need to know it’s possible to
rank well in the search engines and consider building SEO initiatives
into the marketing plan to drive new business.”
It is important to note that search engine optimization and search
engine marketing are two different animals. SEM tends toward immediate
results. You pay a pre-defined amount for each click to a text ad that
sends traffic your way. SEO, on the other hand, does not yield
overnight results. It fosters slow and steady growth through “natural”
(or “organic”) search — the Web page results that appear after you type
your keywords into a search engine box.
SEO demands a three- to six-month campaign that includes actions
such as improving the hidden Web site code that search engines read,
using headings in your site’s Web copy, saving images and media with
top-performing search engine keywords and creating sitemaps (a page
that contains an organized list of all pages on the site). You should
also understand that search engines penalize your site (rank it lower)
for having duplicate content or having a page without content. A flash
animated opening on your home page can make it difficult for the
engines to pick up the site.
You cannot expect to know everything about SEO. Today’s best practices
may be frowned upon next year. But Pedro Sostre, president of
Miami-based Internet consulting and design firm Sostre &
Associates, offers some foundations:
“The three most important aspects of SEO are, first, creating
relevant, keyword-rich content. Second, coding Web pages that utilize
SEO best practices and, third, reviewing your SEO efforts at least
semi-annually to make sure you’re staying current with SEO changes and
There is yet another important facet to SEO: gearing your online public
relations materials, such as press releases, to improve organic search
results. Optimizing a press release simply means using relevant keyword
phrases your audience might use to search for your products or
services. Lisa Buyer, founder and CEO of The Buyer Group, an
interactive public relations and branding agency in Deerfield Beach
that recently added SEO strategies to its services list, says few
companies have caught on to the power of optimizing online PR.
But whether you have caught on to SEO and your campaigns have failed or
you are just getting wind of it, Buyer says, the challenge is deciding
on the most profitable strategic direction. “You have to look to the
source that has a track record and that can work with all the
stakeholders,” she says.
What will this cost you?
An aggressive SEO campaign can range from $3,000 to $5,000 a month.
However, you can get results with as little as $500 to $1,000 monthly.
Your expenses will depend largely on the breadth of your internal
resources. SEO consultants can lay out strategies which you execute
in-house or they can do the work for you. The latter is the more
One of the biggest mistakes you could make is to hire the wrong firm to
optimize your site. Some of those promising “No. 1 placement on the
search engines — today!” may merely be over-promising. Others may be
engaging in unscrupulous activities that could harm your online ranking.
“There are lots of companies that offer SEO services that are
completely bogus. Many of them put too much emphasis on meta tags,
reciprocal links and other elements that are outdated and no longer
have strong SEO value,” Sostre says. “Anyone who promises to get you
specific positions in Google or Yahoo! is outright lying.” To get your
money’s worth, experts suggest measuring your SEO results with Web