Whether you’re worried about artificial intelligence in search engine optimization (SEO) or meeting SEO benchmarks, you’re not alone in asking this question: Is SEO worth it? From our decades of experience, we can say that SEO is worth it for most businesses (we’ll share the exceptions below).
Is search engine optimization worth it?
Search engine optimization is worth practicing for most businesses and website owners because it can effectively drive traffic, leads, and sales. However, SEO’s effectiveness depends on your strategy, implementation, and ongoing management of this digital marketing tactic.
How do I know if SEO is worth it for my business?
Find out if SEO is worth it for your small business or booming enterprise with these questions:
- Does your target market use search engines to research problems your business solves?
- Does your target market use search engines to purchase products your business sells?
If you answered “Yes” to either of the above questions, search engine optimization is worth it. That’s because SEO meets your market in search engine results pages (SERPs), which helps your company connect with new potential customers.
If you answered “No” to both questions above, then SEO probably isn’t worth it!
Why is SEO really worth it?
Why is SEO really worth it for businesses and webmasters, though? A few reasons including:
SEO helps build brand awareness
With search engine optimization, companies can grow awareness for their:
Businesses have used SEO throughout the decades to build brand awareness by:
- Producing content that targets top-of-the-funnel queries, like “espresso machine advantages”
- Attracting backlinks from reputable sites, like blogs, in their industry
- Optimizing content for on-the-go voice searches, like “kid-friendly restaurants near me”
What’s great about using SEO for this purpose is you don’t have to pay for the clicks to your site. In comparison, when you use paid advertising to build brand awareness, you pay every time someone visits your website.
SEO helps attract qualified traffic
Search engine optimization is also effective because it attracts qualified traffic to your site by:
- Focusing on long-tail keywords vs. short-tail keywords
- Targeting search queries relevant to your audience vs. the general market
- Producing content related to your audience’s niche needs vs. the broad market
Digital marketing success is based on quality vs. quantity, which is why SEO is so effective. With SEO, you can get as niche (or as broad) as you like without the cost of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on places like Google Ads or Facebook Advertising.
SEO helps nurture consumers
With SEO, your business can also nurture consumers through the buying stages:
Creating SEO-friendly content allows your company to meet users where they’re at, whether they’re researching solutions to a problem or putting your product or service to use, and then nurture them to the next stage in the sales funnel.
For example, if someone starts searching for espresso machines and their benefits, they’ll likely have questions about espresso machine maintenance, costs, and more. If you have SEO content on your site, you can answer these questions and increase your chances of them becoming customers.
SEO helps drive leads and sales
Companies wouldn’t invest in search engine optimization if it didn’t improve the bottom line.
SEO has proven its worth for decades by generating qualified leads and sales for businesses. All the earlier benefits of SEO (like building brand awareness, attracting qualified traffic, and nurturing users) lead to this point.
SEO achieves this goal by blending search engine optimization and conversion rate optimization (CRO).
For example, your SEO content for a product page will include optimized CRO elements, like the page design, call-to-action, and visuals that make purchasing your product more compelling and easier for shoppers.
4 reasons company question SEO’s worth
While it’s easy to say SEO is worth it, many companies question its value because of hesitations like:
Like other digital marketing strategies, search engine optimization comes at a cost.
If you outsource your SEO to an agency, you can expect to pay four-to-five figures per month. Even if you keep your SEO in-house, you’ll have the costs of hiring full-time, part-time, or contract employees to manage your SEO efforts.
If you’re doing SEO right, though, you’ll see a return on investment (ROI) from it.
Think of it like this: For every $1 you invest in SEO, you expect a $2 return. Now, this is easier for some businesses, like a construction company vs. a clothing company, to reach this threshold, but SEO efforts compound over time as you expand your site’s organic reach.
2. Time to ROI
Businesses are also hesitant about whether in-house SEO efforts or outsourced SEO services are worth it because of time to ROI. On average, SEO will take three to six months (or sometimes six to twelve months) to deliver a return on investment.
The advantage here, though, is once SEO starts delivering a return on investment, it works 24/7 for you.
In comparison, paid strategies like PPC require 24/7 funding to drive ROI. Pause your campaigns, and those sales stop funneling into your business. Publish your SEO content, however, and (as long as it ranks well) it continues to drive traffic and sales.
Some companies are also hesitant about SEO because of its earlier history when black-hat SEO tactics were popular. These tactics included keyword stuffing, buying backlinks, and other strategies that no longer work.
If you’re doing SEO in-house, your team can commit to white-hat SEO, which focuses on reputable practices for optimizing a website’s SEO. Should you outsource your SEO efforts, you can research and vet agencies before signing to verify their SEO approach.
Search engine optimization also requires several skillsets to succeed, including:
- Web development
While some SEOs have experience in these areas, many need help from other professionals, like web developers. If your business is hesitant about investing in SEO for this reason, consider partnering with an SEO company — a full-service one can easily fill these gaps.
Make SEO worth it for your business with SEO experts
SEO is worth it for small, midsized, and large companies, so don’t hesitate to use this digital marketing strategy to grow your brand awareness, website traffic, and revenue. If you’re looking for a partner that can help develop, implement, and manage your SEO, contact us today!
FAQs about SEO’s value
Learn more about SEO’s value with these FAQs:
How do I measure SEO’s value?
You can measure SEO’s value by looking at the following metrics:
- Organic rankings
- Organic traffic
- Organic leads
- Organic sales
Whether you focus on all or some of the above metrics will depend on your business and vision for SEO.
Is paying for SEO worth it?
Yes, paying for SEO is worth it, with most companies citing the following benefits:
- Time: You have more time with the agency now completing SEO tasks.
- Expertise: You receive better insights into your strategy by having a dedicated SEO expert.
- Results: You see improved results by having a better strategy and a dedicated SEO team.
- Cost: You optimize marketing spend by outsourcing SEO vs. maintaining a full-time team.
Of course, you’ll need to consider your business’s size and needs before paying for SEO. If you’re a startup, for example, you might find it’s better to manage your SEO in-house for now vs. hiring an SEO company.
How do I decide if SEO is worth paying for?
You can decide if SEO is worth paying for with the following questions:
- Am I too busy to do SEO?
- Am I struggling to optimize my site’s SEO?
- Am I failing to meet my company’s SEO goals?
If you’re feeling time, skill, or resource constraints, consider looking into paying for SEO.