I built a site for a Christian Rock and Roll music label, Rugged Records, back in about 1996.
They had one main rival, Tooth and Nail Records.
In those days, back when Yahoo was on a computer sitting on Jerry’s Yang’s desk, the way the search engines, I mean, the Internet directories, could tell what your site was about, was to read the “meta tags”, where you described what it was about.
If you were a good person, you would use accurate tags to describe your site.
Of course, I put the main rival’s name in our tags. Search for the rival, and our site came up.
They sent an angry email and we took that down.
Google came along and for the next ten years or so, decided to look at the words on your site and who links to your site to decide what your site was about.
How can we break it?
You add the right keywords on your own site, then get people to link to your site using the right anchor text and bam!, you nailed it.
Then a couple of years ago, Google got better and better at deciding what a site was about.
They tweaked and changed their algorithms, until one big change, code named “Panda”, put an end to pretty much all of the games.
Yes, you still need to be aware of “inbound links” and “anchor text” and “keyword density”.
But not as much.
There are no SEO tricks left.
We’ve been beaten.
On Line Advertising
When I worked for the video game company, I got to manage our online advertising budget, so I learned about how to spend money on advertising.
When I ran Survivor.com as a fan site, I cashed checks for the ads I put on my site, so I learned how to make money on advertising.
I know the effectiveness and expense of online advertising from both sides.
It used to be that you spend money on “CPM”, which is “Cost Per Thousand”, when you just paid for impressions and hoped someone clicked on your banner ads.
Now, it’s more effective to spend money on “CPC”, “Cost Per Click” or “PPC”, a friend once called it “Paper Click”, which is really “Pay Per Click”.
No clicks, no cost.
A common desire from clients I have is that we “just spend money” on the advertising.
You spend money. You make money. Bam. It’s a machine. Works every time.
(Unless it doesn’t.)
Which Works Best?
It’s easy to spend money on advertising. I know. I’ve done it.
It’s nice to believe that if you just find the magic bullet, that all of your problems will disappear.
One thing that I’ve noticed about advertising.
Once you pay for it, once that person has clicked on your ad and visited your site, that money is gone and there is no residual value.
If you make a big sale from it, great. You get to cash the check.
If they are just shopping or surfing or browsing, you got nothing. Spent money and got nothing.
If you spend the time to write a valuable content filled blog post, then that post sites there forever.
It’s possible that someone would link to that post or forward to a friend.
If you never do anything else after you write that blog post, it will still be out there, like a trap, waiting for the right person to come along and give you money because of it.
You can calculate the ROI of your advertising. It’s easy to track. How many clicks, how much money you spent, how much product did you sell, what was your profit?
If you can spend $10 to make $20, then spend as much as you can.
If you can spend an hour, writing a blog post and make $20 over the next 5 years, then write as many as you can.
My answer is that, in the short term, the ROI on advertising is better. In the longer term, anything over a month, then blogging gives you a better ROI.
Invest in blog posts. Spend money on advertising.