“Is paying for SEO still worth the investment?”
A lot of small and local businesses ask this question to us quite often.
Most have heard about search engine optimization and the benefits it can have for their business.
But with all of the new fads and digital marketing options, it’s left them wondering if SEO is still worth it.
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
SEO is simply the act of making changes to a website so that it shows up high in Google.
The idea is to optimize your small business website so that when a user searches a term that is relevant to your business, they find your website and message you from there.
For example: if you are a roofer in Washington and you partake in a roofing SEO campaign, when a user types in “best house roofer in my area” – you show up.
By doing this, you are positioned as an authority and it becomes very likely that potential customers will reach out to you and give you their business because of this.
How Does SEO Work?
As stated above, SEO works by putting you first in Google.
To do this, you have to become the most relevant and dominate website for the specific search query in which you’re trying to rank.
This is what a search engine optimization company is for: to ensure you meet all of Google’s criteria for this to be the case.
If you’d like to know more about what Google looks for when ranking websites, then check out our article that discusses exactly this.
How Can SEO Benefit Your Business?
When we say “putting you first in Google”, we’re actually talking about two separate ways in which Google can do this.
Organic Search Results
These are the ten search results that show up under the top three paid ad results.
They’re called “organic” results because they show up in one of these positions without you have to pay for it.
Most people skip over the paid ads results and go straight to the organic search results when searching Google, so showing up as one of the first pages in this section can get you quite amount of traffic and exposure to your business.
If you are a local business with a physical location performing SEO on your website, you have a very good chance of showing up in Google Maps in front of nearby searchers.
Google Maps is the profile of your business (your Google My Business Profile) that appears for local searchers.
For example: “painter near me”, “painter in Washington”, etc.
This will also get you quite amount of traffic and exposure, as there are only 3 results that show up here – meaning more of a chance for impressions and clicks if you are able to get your GMB profile to appear in this section.
What Is SEO Worth To Your Business?
SEO can be worth quite a lot to your business.
No matter what type of business you are, the more eyeballs you get on your website, the more chance of a conversion and a sale that you have.
The goal of SEO is to get as much free traffic to your website as possible.
The more traffic you get can from this digital marketing channel, the more potential money you can make.
Calculating the value of SEO
Let’s use our roofing in Washington as an example.
Assume you are able to rank #1 for the term “Washington roofer”.
Using our SEO tools, we can find that this term is typed in Google 160 times per month.
Which is 1,920 times per year.
The first organic result on Google receives about 33% of all traffic from any given search query.
Let’s assume that your website has a low 2% conversion rate, a new roof costs about $20,000 and your closing rate is about 1 sale for every 7 leads (14%).
Let’s calculate our return on investment to illustrate the value of SEO and if SEO would be worth it for this particular keywords.
Here is our calculation:
Organic Searches Per Year * Percentage That Click Through To Your Website * Percentage That Become A Lead * Your Closing Rate * Amount Per New Roof = The Value Of SEO For This Keyword
1,920 * 33% * 2% * 14% * $20,000 = $35,481
For this keyword, the value of SEO is $35,481!
Would you say SEO is worth it in this case?
Of course, you would!
And this is only for one single keyword.
Not including all of the other search terms you could target and show up for.
If you decided to target ten similar keywords… well, you do the math.
You will quickly see that SEO will be worth it to your business just be the sheer numbers.
Advantages Of SEO
Now that we see the value of SEO for your business, let’s discuss it’s exact advantages.
SEO can be extremely cost-effective.
The return on investment (ROI) you can get from investing in search engine optimization can be huge.
Lead Generation On Autopilot
Once SEO starts working – it starts working!
Your website is live 24-hours per day, 365 days per year.
Once your SEO gets going, visitors will be finding your website and becoming a qualified lead without you having to physically do anything.
An SEO strategy is for the long term.
When your SEO is set up correctly, you will have an automated lead generation machine that will bring you business for years to come.
Disadvantages Of SEO
Every online marketing channel has its disadvantages, too.
Can Be Slow
SEO can take a long time to set started.
If your website is starting out from scratch, you can’t expect any tangible results until about 6-12 months in.
If you’re a business that can’t afford to invest in SEO for a few months upfront without seeing an immediate ROI, then you may want to wait until your cash flow increases to the point where you are able to do so.
Google’s algorithm changes hundreds of times per year.
If you’ve been performing SEO in a particular way, then Google changes their algorithm to no longer value the certain ranking factors in which you were focusing on, you could lose a substantial amount of rankings.
This is why it is so important to hire an SEO company that focuses on white hat SEO practices for the long term.
Perhaps the worst thing that could happen to your website is if you received a Google penalty.
As mentioned above, if you hire the wrong SEO company – for example, a blackhat SEO agency – and they rank your website using banned tactics, Google could slap your website with a penalty and you could lose all your rankings.
This is why you must vet the SEO company you choose to go with as thoroughly as possible.
SEO Vs PPC
Search engine marketing (SEM) is the product of two main advertising methodologies: PPC and SEO.
So as not to confuse the two and to understand the difference between them, let’s discuss them briefly here.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO provides the ten organic search results on the search engine results page (SERP) for any given keyword query.
These ten results show up directly under the top three PPC search results.
Keep in mind that rankings in the Google Maps section of the SERPs are also a product of SEO as well.
PPC results are the top three paid results that appear at the very top of the SERP.
These results appear above both the Google Maps results and the organic search results.
The Difference Between SEO And PPC
The main difference between SEO and PPC is that SEO clicks are free to the business owner and PPC clicks are paid.
Business owners have the ability to show up immediately in the top of the SERPs by using Google Adwords and PPC, but they must pay for every click that goes to their website.
This can get expensive.
On the other hand, it usually takes a while for a business owner to show up at the top of organic search results, but once they do, every click that goes to their website as a result of this is free.
Which Is Better: Organic Traffic Or Paid Traffic?
Is SEO worth it in 2019, 2020, 2021, and beyond?
In the long run, SEO traffic is definitely better because you don’t have to pay for your traffic or your leads.
In the beginning, though it is advised to use PPC to get paid traffic and leads while your SEO works in the background.
This can be a powerful combination for any business.
Other SEO Alternatives
PPC is one digital marketing lead generation channel that you can choose to use over SEO, but there are others, too.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing (SMM) consists of posting on social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., to build your brand and to get online exposure for your business.
Organic Social Media Posts
These are organic posts that you make on any of the social media channels out there.
If you do this consistently, people will begin to take notice and recognize your brand, keeping top-of-mind at all times when they think about your particular product or service.
Facebook Ads And Instagram Ads
This is where you can pay to put your social media posts in front of a target audience.
By doing this, you choose exactly what customer profile will see your ad, and target them accordingly.
Content marketing is simply the act of creating valuable content to the end-user on a consistent basis.
This can be constant YouTube Videos, Blogs articles, Facebook, posts, and more.
The idea here is to provide as much value to your target audience as possible so that you build authority and trust with your brand.
The end goal is to build this trust and authority over time so that when your target customer is in the market for your product or service, they choose you.
This is quite the opposite of online marketing, but many businesses still engage in this style of advertising.
Examples of traditional advertising are billboards, television commercials, radio ads, etc.
This is quickly becoming an old and outdated marketing channel for small and local business owners as digital marketing has been proven to be much cheaper and effective in this day and age.
How Much Does SEO Cost?
This is highly dependent on your industry, website metrics, product or service, etc.
The cost can vary from a tiny $500/month budget all the way up to $10,000/month+.
However, it is usually recommended not to hire a company for less than $1,000/month.
The reason for this is because SEO is such a comprehensive marketing channel that less than $1,00/month is simply not a large enough budget for everything that needs to be done including onsite optimizations, backlinks, manual outreach, etc.
If you are a small or local business, depending on your niche, you can expect an average quote for SEO services to be around $1,500/month.
Is SEO Still Worth The Investment?
Yes, SEO is worth it.
If the average price is $1,500/month, but you are able to generate $10,000/month – we think anyone would take that deal.
If you want to break down the numbers yourself, use the calculation we provided above.
You will find that search engine optimization is definitely worth it for your small or local business.
If you’re in the market for SEO services or are looking for a second opinion, please do not hesitate to reach out to us today for a free consultation.
Also for those in the medical industry, please visit our medical SEO services page.