Pros and cons of SEO

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  • Significant traffic driver. Search engine marketing can attract a significant proportion of visitors to the site if companies are successful at implementing it.
  • Highly targeted. Visitors are searching for particular products or services so will often have a high intent to purchase – they are qualified visitors.
  • Potentially low-cost visitors. There are no media costs for ad display or click-through. Costs arise solely from the optimisation process where agencies are paid to improve positions in the search results.
  • Dynamic. The search engine robots will crawl the hope page of popular sites daily, so new content is included relatively quickly for the most popular pages of a site (less for deep links).


  • Lack of predictability. Compared with other media SEO is very unreliable in terms of the return on investment. It is difficult to predict the results for a given investment and is highly competitive.
  • Time for results to be implemented. The results from SEO may take months to be achieved, especially for new sites.
  • Complexity and dynamic nature. The search engines take hundreds of factors into account, yet the relative weightings are not published, so there is not a direct correlation between marketing actions and results – it is more an art than a science. Furthermore, the ranking factors change through time.
  • Ongoing investment. Investment needed to continue develop new content and generate new links.
  • Poor for developing awareness in comparison to other media channels. Searchers already have to be familiar with a brand or service to find it. However, it offers the opportunity for less well-known brands to ‘punch above weight’ and to develop awareness following click through.

Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, F., 2012. Digital marketing: strategy, implementation and practice (Vol. 5). Harlow: Pearson.

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