The 'R' word is back and with a vengeance. R is an important letter in ROI - Return on Investment. If a website is the most important tool of the modern age, then surely search engine optimisation is the most important tool in increasing the return on that investment.
I still find it hard to accept that so many business still don't see that having a site and not having a plan for building traffic means that no matter how much was invested in the original site, the site has, almost no value. It's not until SEO or SEM comes along that the site begins to add value - to both the domain and the business itself. For many companies, particularly those with a smart multiple domain strategy, the domain and website have an asset value of their own, aside from that of the owning company.
I've heard this too many times: "But we're the best supplier of cakes in Dublin. We're supposed to come up number one. Everyone knows that!" Yip, try telling that to Google though! No, really, you should tell Google and that's what SEO and SEM are for!
I also can't believe that so many companies believe that they can compete with strong websites, particularly national or even international players by paying someone €1,000.00 or so as an "investment" in their website! That's not an investment, it's a moderately priced flyer.
Your website doesn't inherit or mirror you're business' real life presence on the internet. When you adopt a full, proper internet development programme, you are essentially opening an Internet based business of sorts.
You need to therefore be aware of things like Blogs, Social Media (for connecting you and your associates, partners and clients in a business and social network) as well as SEO and SEM.
Why do I think SEO delivers better as a value-add over any other form of advertising ? A well optimised site that continues to grow with unique, original and infomrative content will continue to grow traffic, generate leads and grow your business. Far better than any paid advertising.
Paid Advertising requires a constant budget - stop paying and you kill your traffic, leads, sales and business. A well optimised site will continue to grow. You'll get free traffic. You'll get people "clicking" into you and you'll sell. Your site can be sold as a going business asset of it's own right!