Search engine optimization (SEO) has become an indispensable part of digital marketing budget is it worth it to do SEO. With more and more people using search engines like Google to find products, services, and information online, having an SEO strategy is crucial for businesses who want to get their website seen.
With so many different marketing tactics to choose from, how do you know if SEO should be a priority?
We’ll walk through the key benefits of SEO and help you determine if it’s right for your business.
Let’s dive in!
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the process of improving your website and content to increase visibility and rankings in organic (non-paid) search engine results.
The main goal of SEO is to help search engines like Google understand your website and showcase it to users when they search for related keywords. It involves optimizing different elements of your website, like:
- Page titles and meta descriptions
- URL structure
- HTML tags
- Site speed
- Internal linking
By optimizing these areas, you can improve your search rankings, drive more qualified organic traffic to your site, and ultimately boost conversions and sales.
What are the Benefits of SEO?
There are many potential advantages to doing SEO for your business website. Some of the top benefits include:
Increased Organic Traffic
One of the main goals of SEO is to increase organic traffic to your website—the number of people who find your site via search engines. By ranking higher in search results, you can tap into web traffic you’d miss out on otherwise. More organic traffic means more potential customers.
Higher Conversion Rates
SEO traffic converts better than other sources. Studies show visitors from organic search convert up to 2-3 times higher than other referral sources. Higher up the rankings you are, the higher quality the traffic is. Optimizing for SEO can improve conversion rates.
Improved Brand Visibility & Authority
Ranking high in search results—especially for keywords that include your brand name—can significantly improve your online visibility and authority. Appearing on the first page for your keywords shows you’re a trusted resource worth clicking on.
Better User Experience
Many SEO best practices, like making a site mobile-friendly and faster loading, also improve the overall user experience. SEO requires looking at your website from a visitor’s perspective and addressing any pain points that might cause them to quickly leave your site again.
SEO is often referred to as “free marketing” because it involves a lot of work you can do yourself without having to pay directly for clicks/impressions. While you need to invest time and effort, there is much less financial investment needed compared to PPC ads. The traffic you earn through SEO will keep sending visitors your way at little ongoing cost.
SEO vs PPC: Which Should You Use?
Two of the main paid search options are SEO and PPC:
- SEO (search engine optimization) involves organic, unpaid optimization to earn rankings in search results.
- PPC (pay-per-click) refers to advertising programs like Google Ads where you pay to have your ads appear in search results.
Both have pros and cons. SEO takes consistency and patience to see results, but can yield high ROI long-term. PPC offers faster results and more control, but costs money on an ongoing basis.
The best approach for most businesses is to utilize both. SEO will get you the “free” organic traffic while PPC ads can supplement when you want to boost visibility quickly or target more competitive keywords. They work very well together.
Factors to Consider Before Implementing an SEO Strategy
SEO can provide tremendous benefits—but only if you do it right! Here are some key factors to consider before diving into search engine optimization:
Be clear on what you want SEO to accomplish. Do you want to increase overall traffic? Boost rankings for certain pages or keywords? Improve brand visibility? Understanding your goals and KPIs will dictate the specifics of your strategy.
Conduct keyword research to find out what your ideal customers are searching for—the actual phrases they use. Optimizing for keywords your audience isn’t searching will be a waste of time. Base your keywords/content strategy on search intent.
Research competitors ranking for your target terms. This gives insight into the level of optimization needed to rank. Review their on-page elements as well as backlink profiles using tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to analyze what it takes to compete.
SEO takes effort. Do you have the time, budget and in-house expertise to dedicate? If not, you may need to outsource to an SEO agency or consultant. Factor resources into your plan to determine what’s realistic.
Your Technical SEO
Crawl your site for technical errors that Google flags as issues, like duplicate content, slow load times, broken links, etc. Resolve foundational website errors first or it can undermine other efforts.
Creating an SEO Strategy
Once you’ve determined SEO is right for your business, the next step is creating a strategy. Follow this process:
- Set Goals
Be specific with the KPIs you want SEO to impact. Examples:
- Increase organic traffic by 30% within 6 months
- Improve keyword rankings for 10 target terms by the end of Q2
- Generate 50+ new organic leads monthly
- Perform Keyword Research
Use keyword research to find terms your audience is searching that are relevant to your business. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs can help generate keyword ideas and assess search volume and difficulty to rank.
- Create Topic Clusters
Look at your keywords and identify common topics and themes. Group related keywords together into topics or “clusters” that make sense to optimize pages around.
Tools like lowfruit keyword tool is great for this.
For example: For a personal injury law firm, clusters could be “dog bite injuries”, “medical malpractice”, “wrongful death cases”, etc.
- Perform On-Page Optimization
This involves optimizing existing web pages around your target keywords and topic clusters. Steps include:
- Creating unique meta titles and descriptions
- Adding keywords to headers, content, alt text, etc.
- Optimizing page speed and technical SEO
- Ensuring mobile responsiveness
- Creating internal links between related pages
- Producing in-depth, engaging on-page content
- Build Authoritative Backlinks
Link building is crucial in SEO. Relevant backlinks from authoritative sites signal trust and authority to Google. Methods like guest posting, getting featured in roundups, and earning press mentions can acquire quality links.
- Choose An SEO Tool
Tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz, and Screaming Frog provide data to analyze competitors, track rankings, discover link opportunities, audit technical SEO issues, and more.
- Analyze and Improve Ongoing
SEO is an ongoing process. Routinely analyze performance by monitoring rankings, organic traffic, and other KPIs. Review reports in Google Search Console. Update initiatives and campaigns as needed to keep improving.
SEO Best Practices
Some key best practices for optimizing pages and sites include:
- Use target keywords in titles, headers, content, URLs, alt text
- Create meta descriptions that engage and inform searchers
- Optimize page load speed using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights
- Improve technical SEO factors like site crawlability and indexing
- Produce regular fresh blog content and videos
- Get quality backlinks from relevant authoritative sites
- Optimize for mobile and voice search
- Leverage schema markup on pages
- Analyze competitor link profiles and identify new link opportunities
Following SEO best practices takes time, but pays off tremendously in the amount of organic traffic, leads, and sales it can drive once pages start ranking well.
How Long Does it Take to See SEO Results?
One of the most common SEO questions is “how long does it take to see results?” Unfortunately there is no single answer, as many factors impact the timeline.
For extremely competitive keywords, it can take 6-12+ months to go from unranked to getting on page one. Less competitive terms could take 1-3 months. Existing sites in better shape can see faster gains than building from scratch.
Here are general timeframes to expect:
- Technical optimization: 1-3 months to improve indexation and site speed
- On-page optimization: 3-6 months to start seeing targeted keyword rankings
- Link building: At least 6 months needed to build a diverse profile and see impact
- Overall: Plan for 9-12 months to see significant organic growth, more for highly competitive markets
The key is tracking progress over time and sticking with it. SEO results take patience, but the traffic earned will keep benefiting your site for the long haul.
Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid
Many businesses make mistakes that undermine their SEO success. Here are some key errors to avoid:
- Not having a defined strategy with specific goals
- Optimizing for irrelevant, low-traffic keywords
- Focusing solely on one element like backlinks rather than a holistic approach
- Over-optimizing pages and using keywords unnaturally
- Having thin, low-quality content just for keywords
- Having a slow, technical flawed website
- Trying to “shortcut” results with sketchy tactics like link spamming or cloaking
- Not tracking and measuring SEO performance over time
A strategic, patient approach focused on great user experience and providing genuine value through content pays off in sustainable, long-term SEO gains.
Should You Hire an SEO Agency?
Some businesses choose to hand SEO off to an agency. This route can provide experience and bandwidth difficult for in-house teams to match. Reasons companies hire SEO agencies include:
- Gain proven expertise running successful SEO campaigns
- Have resources fully dedicated to strategy and execution
- Leverage tools and data an in-house team may lack
- Take advantage of existing agency relationships and networks
- Provide fresh perspective on tactics and growth areas
The potential downside is cost. SEO agencies range in price from $750 per month to $10,000+ depending on services required. Large or complex sites usually require bigger budgets.
Weigh cost against expected ROI and current in-house capabilities to determine if working with an agency makes sense.
11 Powerful SEO Tips to Boost Your Rankings
Want to improve your SEO step-by-step? Here are 11 tactics that can help boost your rankings:
- Improve Page Speed
Site speed is a ranking factor. Optimizing page speed improves user experience and SEO. Use tools like GTmetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights to identify fixes.
- Upgrade Your Platform
An outdated CMS like WordPress or ecommerce platform can slow sites down. Keeping technology updated improves speed and provides SEO-friendly features.
- Fix Technical Errors Crawl for 404 errors, duplicate content issues, broken links, etc. Resolving technical problems should be the first SEO priority.
- Optimize Image SEO
Add alt text and descriptive filenames to images. Optimize them for quality and compression to improve speed.
- Improve Internal Linking
Linking between related pages helps search engines crawl and understand site architecture. Do some internal link building.
- Create Keyword-Focused Content
Target informational long-tail keywords readers are searching for. Optimize new blogs, guides, and pages around these terms.
- Earn High-Quality Backlinks
Getting backlinks from authority industry sites signals trust and relevance to Google. Prioritize outreach for great links.
- Analyze the Competition
See what others rank for. Identify gaps or opportunities to create content for related keywords competitors don’t target yet.
- Promote Your Best Content
Double down on promoting and building links to pages/posts that are already performing well and have keyword opportunities.
- Claim Your Knowledge Panels
Knowledge panels (info boxes) appear prominently for brands. Claim key profiles like Google My Business to enhance visibility.
- Monitor and Improve Performance
Regularly check Google Search Console and rank tracking data. Iterate and keep enhancing pages. SEO is always a work in progress!
Is SEO Worth It? How to Make the Decision
Only you can ultimately determine if SEO is worth it for your business. Here are some final points to help make the decision:
- Consider your goals and KPIs. What do you want SEO to accomplish? More traffic? More leads? Support broader growth targets? Align SEO with concrete business objectives.
- Research your market. Is it very competitive? How much demand and search volume is there for your products or services? High search volume and demand means greater SEO opportunity.
- Factor in costs. SEO done right takes time and effort. Weigh potential benefits against resources needed to execute—either in-house capacity or agency fees.
- Look at ROI. Talk to other similar businesses who invest in SEO about the tangible return they see. Estimate your potential ROI using expected conversion rates.
- Don’t think short term. SEO takes months to years to maximize. Are you committed to investing consistently over a long period? The longevity of SEO benefits can equal great ROI long-term.
- Start small. You don’t have to tackle your whole site at once. Try starting with a few core pages/keywords as a test case to demonstrate potential.
For most businesses, dedicating resources to SEO pays off tremendously in the traffic, brand visibility, leads, and sales it can generate over time. Approach it strategically as a core channel in your digital marketing plan.
The Bottom Line: Is SEO Worth It?
In the vast majority of cases, yes—SEO is worth the investment. The data shows how powerful optimized organic search can be for reaching customers online.
- 93% of online traffic comes from search engines. SEO taps into that demand.
- 61% of searches lead to clicks on organic results. Good SEO means capturing more of those clicks.
- Organic search converts up to 3X higher than other traffic sources because it reaches users when they’re ready to buy.
- SEO-derived traffic keeps delivering results over months and years. Invest once, profit for a long time.
For any business without technical limitations, dedicating time and resources into an SEO strategy almost always provides a substantial ROI. Just be strategic and patient—SEO success takes consistent effort over an extended period.
The rewards are well worth it. By making your website as search engine friendly as possible, you can earn more qualified organic traffic, leads, and sales over the long haul.