List Building vs. Search Engine Optimization: Which One Really
Works Better? by Robert Gwuzd © 2004
It seems the excitement about search engine optimization fades
in and out from time to time. The more people talk about search
engine optimization (SEO) the more it seems to be the logical
choice for bringing customers to your site. However, there are
some points that I haven’t seen anyone else make as of yet about
the effectiveness of SEO versus the effectiveness of building a
responsive list. I think you’ll be surprised to see which one
comes out on top.
Rules and Regulations
There are rules and regulations for almost everything in life.
List building and SEO are no different.
Rules for SEO: Your HTML coding has to be just so in order to
rank highly on the engines. Your copy (text) also needs to
include specific keywords a certain number of times in specific
places or you might not be accepted. And if you are accepted,
unless you follow all the “dos” and “don’ts” of SEO, you’ll
likely not see the top 10… or even the top 50.
Rules for List Building: Offer a good product or service; notify
your list about it, and watch the sales come in.
The Only Constant Is Change
If you do get accepted in the search engines, you might be
tempted to rest easy. Don’t! As we’ve seen in recent months,
search engines can change their policies and ranking orders at
the flip of a switch. If you depend on search engines for all
your traffic, such a change could leave you completely out of
business. Not good!
Lists on the other hand are built from loyalty… not rules and
regulations. The people who subscribe to your list, ezine, or
newsletter are there because they want to be. They’ve come to
you because you offer them something of quality… something
If you change the design or copy on your site, it won’t matter
one bit to the members of your list. They’ll still be there for
you. If the search engines decide they’re only going to list
sites that use the colors blue, green, and purple… it won’t
affect you at all.
Sales vs. Leads
Truth be known, SEO only drives “leads” to your site… not sales.
On the other hand, list building puts your offer in front of
those who have already checked you out, decided they liked what
you had to say, and chose to stick with you. These are loyal,
pre-qualified individuals who are waiting to receive your next
mailing and purchase your next product.
Free, Automatic, and Viral
Lastly, list building can be done at no cost. List building can
happen automatically and can (and should) be a viral process.
If you produce a quality list that offers something of value,
others will want to tell their friends about you. This process
of automatic, viral marketing costs you nothing whatsoever and
works like a dream because your subscribers are making
unsolicited recommendations to those who trust them.
This process not only drives new subscribers to your list, but
also ultimately makes new sales for you.
Search engines, on the other hand, do not operate virally. While
some are free, many charge for the “opportunity” to be reviewed
for inclusion. Still others charge on a pay-per-click basis,
which can get very costly without ever bringing in one sale.
When all is said and done, which one is better? Lists or search
engines? While both can have an important role in your marketing
plan, if what you’re looking for is the generation of more
sales… building a responsive list simply can’t be beat.
About the author:
How - exactly - do you build a list that delivers an automated,
consistent, monthly income? Robert Gwuzd and Ian Herculson have
teamed up to offer you “The Opt-In Strategy,” a powerful, FREE
EBOOK designed to show you specifically how to build a list of
thousands who will consistently buy from you. Best of all… this
ebook COSTS YOU NOTHING. Download it now at