One of our SEO resellers said to me yesterday that they thought SEO was expensive. Not the Semify SEO reseller program specifically, but SEO in general. This made me think a bit and I thought an informative blog post was in that statement somewhere. I thought about it a bit and realized that this is the same price pressure that our SEO reseller team is confronted with every day. So is SEO expensive?

Well. Yes and no.

First the YES: When you think of SEO as a one-time information technology (IT) exercise where a bunch of programmers do "something" to your website to make it rank better in the search engines, you are sunk. This is the view that many people still hold about search engine optimization. And in fact, this definition was appropriate 4 years ago. It used to be that on-site SEO was all you needed to rank. If you still hold this point of view, then you will probably think that an on-going SEO program is expensive. If this is your belief, then you should probably not be an SEO reseller. Instead, you should be in web design.

If, on the other hand, you understand the tremendous economic value associated with a page 1 placement in Google on a specific keyword phrase, then you probably look at SEO as a very good long-term investment. No, you probably don't say it is inexpensive. But you probably also know that calling a good investment expensive is a strange thing. A great stock that returns handsome dividends for the shareholders is a good investment. Is it expensive? Perhaps. But you have to look at it in terms of your time horizon. SEO is similar.

Don't like the financial analogy? Okay. Then ask your potential client if they buy leads. Many businesses pay between $20 - $50 for the name of a potential customer. The people who sell this information are usually selling to many people at once. If the buyer is able to convert 1 out of 10 of these potential clients (a big IF), that puts the cost of customer acquisition to somewhere between $200 - $500. They are probably spending this budget each month to get these clients. Is this a good investment? They probably think so or they wouldn't be doing it. But what if you told them they could invest that money in appropriate SEO and see a greater return in terms of customer acquisition? AND not have to race to call these people before someone else does? When you run this type of analysis you might find SEO to be a fairly inexpensive long-term avenue for new client acquisition.