Is SEO worth it? After all, it is a big investment and there are a lot of other tools available to get to your customers, like social media, newsletters and targeted advertising. Wouldn’t it be better to invest in those? It’s a big question and one that any marketing campaigner considering their options would like an answer to (and you should always be considering your options!).
The truth is, it depends on what you’re trying to do. And as we don’t know what you’re doing, we can’t answer that. We can give you the second-best option, however. And that is to take a look at some of the pros and cons of SEO marketing so that you can decide that for yourself.
Pro: It gets you the traffic you’re after
If you get your SEO keywords sorted out properly, your page ranked highly and you make your stuff truly SEO friendly, then you’ll get a continuous flow of people coming to your site who are actually looking for your product and the information that you have about it.
What’s more, they’re absolutely free. You don’t have to pay a dime to draw each individual person to your site. So whether there are 10 or 10,000, it won’t cost you any more or less. And that’s a nice place to be.
Con: But if you’re not at the top, don’t bother
Of course, pushing yourself to the top of a search page is not easy. And there is no prize for an also-ran. A 2013 study reveals, the first option gets 33% of the traffic, second place gets 18%, third place about 11%. If you’re not on page one? Then you’re competing for just 5% of the search traffic. And that will only get worse as Google continues to improve its algorithms so that searchers get exactly what they want at position number one when they type in their search.
In other words, if you’re not serious and aren’t going to put in the leg work to push up to the top of the mountain, then don’t bother. You either have to aim for first place, or find some other strategy to find your customers.
Pro: They convert
But when you do have them, boy, you’re in a good place! You see, these people are actually actively looking for your product. That means that the conversion rate of people that come to your site can be a whopping 14.6%, which is a heck of a lot more than the standard 1.7% that you get from other sources, such as newsletters, print advertising and the like.
And ultimately, as the conversion is what we’re after, that means that having a good SEO can make you a great deal of money indeed.
Con: It is neither easy nor quick to get to the top
SEO is no quick fix if you’re not getting enough customers and are at risk of going under. It takes time for search engines to index you and then to change their index as you work to improve your position. Therefore, if you’re bleeding cash and need some way to draw in people that convert, then do not look to SEO. This is something that you do if you’ve got time, patience and the wherewithal to pull this off.
In other words, this is something to look at when you’ve got revenue and are looking to improve your position. If you’re struggling to keep your head above water then you should definitely consider reaching for a different life line.
Pro: It can really help your business grow
If you play the SEO game correctly and do manage to establish yourself in your industry, then you can reap the rewards for a long time to come indeed. What’s more, once you’ve established yourself at the top of the search list and people become familiar with your brand, it becomes self-reinforcing.
This is because as people publish reviews and articles about your product, the search engines take note of that and weigh your pages more heavily. And that will boost your traffic both by way of keeping you well established at the top of the search hierarchy, as well as by making certain you receive more referrals.
Con: You never know what they’re going to change next
The landscape of SEO is changing all the time, with Google releasing lots of new tweaks and changes that can lead to people who ranked highly before the change suddenly not ranking at all anymore. That isn’t just frustrating, that can be devastating as your main source of traffic suddenly dries up.
Fortunately, you can make some predictions about what they’re trying to do at Google – they’re trying to improve their service, by making certain people find what they’re actually looking for, rather than what companies pushing products want them to find. To that end, the company is constantly looking to close hacks and tricks down and open up more ways to measure what searchers actually want.
To that end, if rather than steering hapless searchers to your page instead of other people’s pages, you’re striving to make your page deliver what people are actually looking for, you should be okay. Of course, that that is assuming the people at Google actually don’t screw up. And that is not always something you can assume.
SEO is worth it if you can reach the top. That means if you’ve got a niche that nobody else has discovered yet, or you’re willing to put in both the money and the time to climb the ranks.
If that’s not something you’ve got either the resources or the patience for, then this might not be for you. In that case, perhaps stick with more tried and tested methods and perhaps revisit the subject when you’re in a better position to do so.
They always say a shot not taken is always missed. No doubt that’s true. But shouldn’t they also include something done half-assed is nearly always cocked-up? And at least if you haven’t taken the shot, you haven’t wasted the resources.