Is SEO Worth the Investment?
SEO is constantly evolving; the changing goal posts have caused many to hold back from investing but in this blog post I will detail why SEO delivers 12 times better than other forms of marketing.
Over the last 10 years working in SEO I’ve been part of the ups and downs Google has thrown at the industry, the one thing that has remained consistent is the return on investment.
The catch? SEO isn’t quick, it isn’t the short term quick fix that things like pay per click, email marketing or affiliate marketing could be.
But, go through that initial pain of investing almost blindly for several months as the rankings increase and you have a channel for life that will work while you sleep.
How does SEO compare to other marketing channels?
The image below is the growth of a real client in traffic as they move up the rankings of the first page on Google.
As you can see, the growth is exponential for every step up the first page you take.
In most cases, SEO is a medium to long term strategy, you can’t just turn it on overnight and expect to generate business immediately.
If instant is your thing then you’re looking at offline methods like newspaper advertising, leaflet drops, networking. Online channels like pay per click (PPC), social media advertising, banners, site sponsorship, affiliate and email marketing are what’s available.
Offline Marketing versus SEO
Offline marketing, though on the decline thanks to the way customers interact with news (mobiles and tablets on the move) still has its place in certain markets, think traditional industries or for the older generation.
The advantages to offline marketing include quicker wins, often a lower barrier to entry and mass market exposure very quickly, if your pitch is right it can fly instantly.
Disadvantages to offline marketing include it being notoriously difficult to track respondents accurately to gauge proper return on investment and that you’re always paying for it, always paying for expansions.
Online Direct Marketing versus SEO
If you’re considering SEO but unsure about the time it takes to see a return you may be looking towards PPC, email marketing or other forms of direct marketing.
All have their merits, PPC being a particularly popular choice thanks to its speed and awareness, though many don’t realise direct marketing is far more difficult than SEO.
Direct marketing, like PPC or email is often the first choice when it comes to businesses attempting to drive new customers. It’s fairly easy to set up and you can control the budget, it’s an easy place to start.
What often happens though is after several hundred or thousands of pounds are spent quickly, they give up or assume they are doing it wrong.
In most cases the answer is they’re just not utilising some basic principals.
Direct marketing, though easy to set up and can see some quick returns is a specialism and very difficult to perfect. Months, if not years of research, data, a/b testing and conversion optimisation go in to a successful campaign and it can always be improved, tweaked to grow.
The pitfalls of direct marketing and offline are the advantages of SEO, but the barriers to entry are often higher.
You need a website, you need it to be search engine friendly and often there is some level of work or development that needs doing on the site before you can get started.
Why SEO customers are 12 times better
Customers from organic rankings are hugely more profitable than those who come from other channels, there’s a few good reasons why this is the case:
– People who click on a top listing on Google assume you’re the right answer to their problem before they even land on your website, meaning you have a captive audience ready to buy, show them the way.
– When ranking locally, clickers are 12 times more likely to get in touch.
– SEO works through the night, on all browsers anywhere in the world, you can get 1 or 1 million visits, the cost is the same.
How to make sure your SEO investment is solid
It takes time to set up, it takes time to mature and it takes time to repay that investment.
It’s important to understand the time involved in creating a successful SEO campaign, what is equally important is the relationship you will need to have with your chosen provider.
SEO isn’t only about passing your website over to a specialist and letting them take care of it, it needs your input too and like any marketing campaign it needs to be driven by the people who understand the customer best, that will always be you.
You’ll need to make time for approving, reading and analyzing.
Do also remember that good SEO will drive traffic to your website, but it wont make them pick up the phone, like your sales patter and buy your products, that’s where you come in.