Is SEO worth it? Is investing in SEO worth the time and money as Google’s algorithms continue to change and paid advertising offers much quicker results? There are many that actually claim SEO to be “dead.” To determine if SEO is, indeed, worth the resources and investment, you must carefully consider what “it” is that you are wanting to get out of an SEO investment.
This post has been updated for 2020 to reflect the current state of SEO and the industry.
SEO is not what many claim it to be. SEO is not a static product nor is it the magical answer to all your business problems. SEO is a science; a continually evolving practice that requires a human element to notice patterns, trends, and potential dangers.
So, if you’re curious to know if SEO is worth it–the time and monetary investment–read on. There are three important qualitative factors to consider before determining if SEO is, indeed, worth the investment.
What can SEO do for your business?
While you’ve probably heard that SEO can grow your bottom line, that is only true if all the stars align correctly. SEO is not a direct factor in increasing your company’s revenue–sales is the direct factor. SEO is a strong indirect factor that can help generate new revenue opportunities–but it’s not the end-all-be-all.
So what does SEO do?
SEO services drive organic traffic to your website by ranking your website appropriately in search engines and providing valuable user experiences. User experience is an increasingly important ranking factor in SEO which is even more evident with Google’s recent switch to make website speed a direct ranking factor!
In order for SEO to increase your bottom line, your website needs to be able to handle the organic traffic and funnel them to a sale. No call to action? Invisible contact information? No amount of organic traffic is going to help you.
SEO sends organic, non-paid traffic to your website.
Is organic traffic better than paid traffic?
Well, let’s first define “better.” Some people think that quicker traffic is better traffic. Other website owners consider the quality of the traffic as better. Furthermore, many business owners consider the cheapest traffic as the better option.
This boils down the traffic into three categories:
- Speed of traffic on site (sooner = better)
- Quality of traffic (more conversions = better)
- Cost of traffic (cheaper = better)
SEO delivers slower traffic than paid / PPC
If the speed of traffic is a big concern for you, then SEO may not be the best route to take initially. SEO takes time. When you perform SEO on your website, you essentially are trying to earn popularity. When a website or page goes online, it is one of the millions that have gone online the very same day!
So is SEO worth it in this case? If the speed of the result is more important to you, then PPC may be a better option at this stage.
SEO often delivers a higher-quality visitor compared to PPC
People don’t trust ads. Ad-blindness is a real thing and the ever-growing list of ad blockers shows us that people are truly fed up with ads. You can’t even go to a local fast-food restaurant without being lied to about what you’re ordering. How many times has your burger actually looked like the picture on the drive-through menu? Exactly.
Over 70% of people will happily scroll past ads to see organic results because organic results convey more trust than paid ads. This trust carries over to the visitor on your website. The visitor knows that your website earned its placement–not paid directly for it.
As long as you’re targeting the right keywords on the page and providing value once the visitor hits the website, your conversions will be higher with organic compared to a paid visitor.
So, is SEO worth it? If that quality of your visitors is important and you want to convey a better sense of trust, then yes, SEO is worth it.
SEO delivers a more cost-effective visitor than PPC
PPC is an initialism meaning “Pay per click” and gets its name from the form of acquisition it provides. You pay for each and every click. When someone sees your PPC ad in Google, or Facebook, or LinkedIn, and they decide to visit you, you pay for it. The cost-per-click (“CPC”) will be a variable rate depending on the quality of your ad and the competition in your space.
You could end up spending $1.00 per click, or as much as $70 per click with PPC!
SEO services, on the other hand, is not based on a per-click basis. Once your website is ranking on the first page of Google, you will begin receiving organic clicks to your page. The beauty is, you don’t pay for each click!
If you’re currently spending $2000 per month on PPC, an SEO strategy can eventually allow you to spend less on PPC and start getting “free” clicks via organic search results.
So, in this case, is SEO worth it? Are you looking to lower the cost-per-acquisition of your leads? If so, then YES, SEO is worth it.
How much does SEO cost?
Let’s first get the idea of SEO being a “cost” out of your mind. SEO is an investment in your company. You’re building an asset by developing a website, and content, that will last as long as your company lasts. Every dollar that is placed into an SEO campaign will deliver results that stick with your company. On the other hand, paid ads (PPC) can gain leads faster, but will instantly disappear once you stop throwing dollars at it.
SEO is an investment.
So, how much should you invest in SEO?
The amount is going to vary from agency to agency, and from industry to industry. Typically, you should expect to pay $300-$500 for some local, low-competition, single-location local SEO.
Furthermore, multi-location, national, and stronger competition SEO will see recommendations range from $1000-$6000 per month. The investment that is right for you is going to depend on what your goals are, what the lifetime value of your customers are, and how you are currently spending your marketing budget.
So, is SEO worth it? The investment of time and money
If your marketing budget allows, SEO is an investment that should start sooner rather than later. Time is a valuable asset in SEO, and the longer you delay investing in a thriving SEO campaign, the longer it will take to garner the free traffic.
If you’re a small, one-person shop, then SEO is still a very important investment, but it may make more sense to perform SEO on your own than to hire an agency to handle it for you.
Wanting to do SEO on your own? Here are the 4 more important SEO tasks you can do right now!
To answer the question, yes, SEO is a valuable investment and is worth the investment. You’re building an asset for your company by investing in SEO.
What do you think?
Leave a comment below and let us know whether or not you feel SEO is worth it. Have you seen a drop in customer acquisition costs since investing in SEO? Have you seen a lower or higher quality of traffic from SEO?
You can even take it a step further by seeing exactly how SEO can benefit your company by getting a customized digital marketing plan.