This chapter is part of the free e-book 'Basics of Search Engine Marketing', published in May 2005.
4.5 Pros and Cons of SEO
Search engine optimization does not necessarily require financial investments, other than the salary of the labour involved in the optimization process. Search engine optimization can be done either in-house or it can be outsourced to a specialized company.
Search engine optimization may be the most cost-efficient marketing method for some companies and increase sales tremendously.
Based on several different researches by GVU, Forrester Research and Pew Internet & American Life Project it can be estimated that the percentage of web users that rely on search engines is between 50 and 85 ( GVU Center 1998).
High search engine rankings have a positive effect on branding (Interactive Advertising Bureau 2004).
It may take weeks, months or even years for a web site to obtain good organic ranking. This fact makes it nearly impossible to execute quick marketing campaigns with search engine optimization.
A company may put a lot of effort and money into search engine optimization, but receive no return, because there is no guaranteed method to get to the top of the natural results. Therefore, search engine optimization is not as reliable as some other marketing methods.
It is hard to determine the value of high organic ranking, prior to putting in the effort and money. The estimated traffic from a particular term may be much lower than initially expected, thus lowering the value of the term. It should be noted that it might also be much higher.
Maintaining a stable position at the top of the natural SERPs is not guaranteed. A web site may rank number one in the organic results of a search engine on one day and disappear from the SERPs completely the next day.