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SEO Truths For Printers

An excerpt from “The Lion King” wherein Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his stick


Adult Simba: Ow! Jeez, what was that for?

Rafiki: It doesn't matter. It's in the past.

Adult Simba: Yeah, but it still hurts.

Rafiki: Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or... learn from it..


Simba, running from traumatic events in his past, required a smack to the head to realize truths that he couldn’t change and to get him set on a better course. My intent is to inform or remind you of events in the very recent past that are impacting your ability to be found in inline print searches. I will prove some unwelcome SEO (search engine optimization) truths to you and show you a potential path forward that embraces these truths.


If you fancy yourself an SEO for print sites guru or sage and you take exception to the truths and remedies we present here, please, be gracious, professional and open minded as you provide your comments to us in confidence at .



Simba was running and suffering from events that took place in his past. As a print site owner, I will bet my first PMS ink chart book that you are unaware of  - or are running from- the traumatic search engine game changing events that have unfolded in the recent past. Are you?


What events? The recent events that most profoundly affect most print sites are these:


                    1.  The Race To Finish In The Top 10 For The Most Valuable Print Search Terms Is Over

                    2 . Only The First Three Search Places Now Have An ROI

                   3.  30% Of Print Searches Are Now Done On Mobile Devices

                   4.  Pay Per Click Ads For Print Products Now Exceed $18.50 On Average


The recent past has been very good for a very few, mostly very large online print site players. Where does that leave you?



Here’s a smack to the head, well four smacks actually, for most print site owners.


Smack 1.

If your site isn’t in a Top 3 search position today, it never will be.


Why? Because you missed the opportunity to be there. The sites that occupy the Top 3 positions aren’t going to be moved very far, if at all. What we see is a shuffling between the Top 3 at times, but for the most valuable print related search terms, there are almost always three well entrenched players. They took the time and made the investments in the right SEO best practices to garner their spots and they keep at it every day, often with many thousands if not millions of dollars of resources focused on keeping them where they are. Can you match their resources?’


Smack 2.

The #1 search position for a highly searched print product, offers about $10K in monthly revenue potential - #10 Pays $650 seo-roi-calculator.


Why? Because of the way people interact with search return pages. Google, as an example, used to display so-called “organic” search returns right at the top of the page. That’s the “hot spot” on a search return page – right where about 60% of clicks happen. No more. Over the last five years Google has systematically pushed so-called organic results further and further down the page. First, they moved up to three paid “text” ads to the top of the page. Then they moved shopping or “picture” ads to the top of the page above the paid text ads. The result? The #1organic result is now found about half way down the page – well out of the “hot zone” for clicks. Studies by the most reputable SEO Firms reveal that the #1 organic position results in about 18% of the clicks, #2 position gets about 10% of the clicks and the #3 position gets about 7%. The #10 click, at the very bottom of the page gets 1% of the clicks. Where do your pages rank?


Smack 3.

If your site isn’t mobile friendly you’re missing up to 30% of online print searches.


Why? Because Google has decided to rank mobile or responsive sites first and highest when returning search results to mobile devices. Our print client sites average 20 plus percent in mobile traffic. The more popular and valuable the print search term, the higher the percentage of mobile searches, often exceeding 30% for searches like “brochure printing” and “direct mail printing”. Your site is mobile friendly or is a mobile friendly, right?


Smack 4.

The average cost to advertise a print product on Google is $23.50  per click


Why? Because the online competition for printed products is fierce, because printers are realizing just how true smack #1 is. In 2005 an ad for asset tags cost $2.85 per click. Today, that click is north of $28.00. Conversion rates are around 2.5%. The worst approach is to use a free $100 ad coupon and hope for the best or to jump in for a week or two, see no revenue and jump out. The only way to make money on paid ads is to own the #1 or #2 shopping ad position. That’s a big spend requiring a long term commitment to possibly – maybe reach an ROI. Can you afford to play in this sandbox for long?


As the sage Rafiki proclaims, “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or... learn from it.” So what can you learn? What can you do?


We believe you have to online. As a printer, the niches and geographic areas you serve are vital to your growth. Web sites can still, definitely provide opportunities to attract leads or close sales online.


After accepting the SEO Truths for printers and working with hundreds of print clients like you, here’s what we recommend for most printers online web marketing strategies:


Win At Local Search

Make sure your site is found for the products you sell, locally example.


E Mail Well With Frequency

Create campaigns with people who know how to sell print through email email-campaigns.


Think Leads First

Work with pros so that your site design captures leads for your sales team hot leads site.


Get Mobile

Get your site responsive to mobile devices or build a .mobi site, today mobi print site.



Please reach out for help. In the words of Rafiki, “Well, what are you waiting for ”