Many business owners see SEO and related services as an expense instead of an investment.  This line of short term thinking has long plagued many a SEO business.

So what can the average SEO do about it?  Well, we can educate them (assuming they are willing to listen).  We can show them case studies.  We can simply say ‘trust me’ (which rarely works).

Today, while thinking about this exact thing, I had a great thought.

Let’s say you are a business owner, and you have a building where you sell things.  Everyone knows that the first three rules of business are ‘Location, Location, Location’, right?

So let’s say that I came to you and told you that every day I’d come by and move your building an inch closer to a major intersection in your town.  I’d spruce up your building, make it attractive and at the same time I’d pick it up and move it closer and closer.

Now, being closer to an intersection means more people will see your signs, right?  And once you get to the intersection (an inch at a time might take you a while), you’ll have more traffic, more people will be aware of your business, and your revenues will go up.

So after (whatever amount of time), I say let’s take this to a new level. Let’s move your building toward the local highway. It may cost more, but you’ll see more and more traffic.  Your brand awareness will go up. People will see your building from many streets.

Soon you’ve moved past the highway toward the Interstate.  Thousands (or more) of people are seeing your building, your sign, your brand every day.  Revenues are going up, and you are enjoying success you never thought possible.

Now, let’s take this one step further. What if, the highway that I moved you towards just happened to contain only people that were interested in your products? Nearly every car that drove by was a targeted customer.  Your target market, delivered to your door.

To be fair, let’s define an expense. says a cause or occasion of spending. Perfect.

If I were Joe Average Business Owner, you’re probably right, SEO is an expense in the short term scheme of things.  There’s going to be a definite amount of time when I’m out spending my return.  There will be months of payments gone to the wayside before I will ever see any return on that money, and it may seem like it’s not working.

And SEOs see this a lot.  It takes time for the search engines to crawl your site, and it takes even longer for your website (which is competing with thousands, if not millions of others) to creep up the SERPS.  That’s why we ask for 6 or 12 month minimum contracts.  Our ‘salary’ is performance based.  You climb the ranks or we lose our job. Simple as that.

Back to expenses – sure, an SEO campaign is a serious cost for your business.  In the short term, it will look like you’re losing money out the wazoo, but long term you’ll see that the money you invested is returning at a rate that has turned it into a nice business asset.

Investment: a devoting, using, or giving of time, talent, emotional energy, etc., as for a purpose or to achieve something

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