I'm often asked about my opinion on search engine optimization (SEO) and paid online advertising (usually pay-per-click or PPC ad campaigns). The short answer is that it can certainly help, but ultimately you should make the decision based on what your business needs are.
Perry Marshall, a blogger for Entrepreneur magazine, recently asked the question, should you use SEO or PPC marketing? He concludes that PPC will be a top lead source for a long time to come, however he doesn't mention that PPC can be prohibitively expensive for many small businesses. A single click can cost $20+ (if the keyword is highly competitive) - and there's no guarantee that the person clicking through will actually convert to a sale. If you still feel PPC advertising is one part of your marketing plan, try finding keywords with fewer competitors and comparable search query counts. These keywords often cost less per click (because there's less competition) at the cost of marginally fewer people searching for it.
We're on the other side of the fence from Perry - we encourage our clients to focus on organic SEO rather than paid search rankings. The down side to this is that it can take a great deal longer to rank (4-6 months at a minimum, though we have seen results in as few as 3 months) and requires dedication to creating unique, compelling content. There are tools available to assist with getting recognized by Google, such as Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. Paid search rankings (also known as Search Engine Marketing or SEM) and other PPC advertising can be more effective when you have a specific goal and target, organic SEO rankings will keep your site relevant in the long term.
If you're still not sure about what will work best for you, please contact us and let us know your questions.