Eric Caldwell is the owner and CEO of WebJIVE, a leading digital marketing agency based in Little Rock, Arkansas. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Eric has become a seasoned expert in web design, eCommerce solutions, SEO, and other digital marketing services.
This post will talk about some of the primary factors driving organic growth, as well as the resulting outputs. Investing in SEO, in particular, is critical to ensuring that websites are optimized for search engines.
Investing is an everyday occurrence in any business. Investments are made in order to fund something now in order to receive a return later. Why is there no investment in an acquisition channel like SEO?
The results of SEO investments compound over time, so it can be difficult to “see” or “quantify” increases in traffic and revenue. The increase is, however, much more visible when measured over time, often a year later. However, who wants to return to leadership 12 months later and brag, “Look what we accomplished!”
Unfortunately, that’s the nature of organic results. They take a while to produce. In this post, I will cover some of the key inputs affecting organic growth as well as the resulting outputs.
SEO is not “free.”
There is no such thing as “free traffic.”
Quality, consistent web traffic is not free. It never has been. No matter whether you’re a startup, enterprise brand, or a company of some other type or size, it doesn’t matter.
SEO – The long game
An SEO initiative is fundamentally a long-game strategy. You must maintain a sustained commitment to SEO. The amount of improvement compounds over time. Simply having a website full of content or products to sell won’t make organic traffic magically materialize.
There is one particularly disheartening aspect to any approach to gaining traffic—especially one focused on generating organic traffic—and that is the discovery that it requires funding.
Every group in an organization must be knowledgeable about how to help contribute to SEO efforts (and not inadvertently damage them). An investment in people, content, and tools are necessary for delivering SEO that has real business value. An organic flow of visitors is a sustainable method of attracting new customers 24x7x365.
Once your website outstrips its rivals, SEO turns into an unfair competitive advantage that’s hard for competitors to overcome.
Good content is a key SEO driver
Investing in content can take several forms—from employing an in-house SEO content strategist, to supervising a team of writers to outsourcing the job to a firm or specialist. No matter how SEO content teams are structured, the key to success is publishing optimized content on the website.
Businesses operating online need great, relevant content to rank well. This type of investment is critical to ensuring that happens.
Investing in SEO is not a now or later question.
It’s astonishing to me that firms are willing to spend millions of dollars on paid advertising each month, yet find $10,000 for SEO to be a bit too much
— Eli Schwartz (@5le). January 9, 2022
People, content, and tools are among the two biggest traffic acquisition investments, paid search and SEO (earned media). Many believe that investment in multiple channels should be distributed more evenly.
SEOs don’t give immediate results like paid search, but they can deliver a lifetime of fruit if properly maintained year after year.
SEO is worth investing in.
More than 5,000 searches were altered by Google in 2021. Having an experienced team overseeing every aspect of SEO is reason enough to have one. Since SEO is a long-term investment, hiring talented and experienced individuals, or an outside firm to oversee and improve the content and technical architecture of a website, is an investment that requires upfront funding and pays dividends later.
Setting aside a budget for home improvement projects and general upkeep of their property is similar to investing in SEO. When the house is on the market, it will be attractive to a buyer to pay top money–resulting in a nice return for the owner–if the proper repairs are made over time. It is more fiscally responsible to maintain a property over time than to perform a full rehabilitation, and the same logic applies to maintaining and enhancing a website.
Investing in SEO can result in a profitable return on investment.
Traffic and revenue are the main SEO KPIs. There are a number of factors that determine how much SEO can boost traffic, and that is difficult to estimate because it depends on the quantity of traffic desired.
To start, you can approach this calculation in one of two ways:
- use the baseline of your current organic traffic (from sources Google Analytics) or
- ask ‘what would a 1% increase in traffic look like?’.
Subsequently, ‘what would a 1% decline look like if we did nothing?’ would be the answer. You can use your site’s +/- 5% variability to estimate site visit increases or decreases.
An SEO investment can sometimes be less costly than doing nothing!
How to measure your SEO investment.
SEO should be viewed just like an investment; it does not provide direct returns immediately after spending dollars.
Investing in a 401K account is financially sound because the money is expected to grow over time, producing larger funds when you need them in the future. That is because of continual investment in the fund and compounding growth. The same concept applies to SEO.
Marketers who are smart know that Search is an attribution channel that becomes more effective with improvements over time to the website.
According to KS Digital Founder & Principal Consultant Krista Seiden, Organic search is a crucial part of most Google Analytics accounts. Because organic search drives a large portion of businesses, it is an important reason to invest in the channel itself. Whether we look at last-click attribution or a multi-touch path to conversion, organic search is a key driver for many businesses, and therefore, we must invest in it as well.
Creating high-quality content that attracts and retains customers is one of the best investments you can make for SEO. In order to reap the rewards, though, you’ll need to invest upfront.
Suppose you conduct a content audit on your site and determine you don’t have any how-to content. It might cost $500 to $1,000 to publish a 1,500-word article on your site so that when people search for terms like “how to replace an LG water filter,” you can have an article appear at the top of the SERPs.
Well-done articles can accomplish the following:
- Articles are expensive to create, but the one-time cost contributes to multiple sales thereafter.
- Content optimization, in a nutshell, is how investing delivers value year after year.
SEO provides a lot of advantages.
Even a minor investment in maintaining a website’s performance, content, and user experience can yield a return year-after-year.
Humans are always interested in finding new places to eat or directions to where they are going; we are naturally inquisitive and always ask questions. We are always looking for ways to solve our problems and are constantly looking for answers to our questions. A mobile device that is always connected to the internet and ready to answer any question is helpful in our daily lives.
The following SEO statistics are important:
- Search isn’t going to disappear anytime soon.
- Another advantage of investing in SEO is that it addresses many of the same problems for making websites more accessible to the disabled population. This procedure is known as accessibility.
- Although it is not a 1:1 match, there are many technical SEO principles that can be used to improve the user experience for individuals who use screen readers (8.1 million Americans have vision problems).
- Furthermore, using SEO with accessibility labels in QA automation makes things even more efficient since those labels make testing automation simpler. That’s a great outcome for multiple in-house teams working on SEO and generating business value.
Website speed is crucial to a good user experience.
By 2022, Google’s Core Web Vitals (CWV) will measure investment in website speed and performance. These aspects help websites load quickly for both search engines and users.
Many teams are being organized around the following:
- Speed is what users expect from your website pages, but it won’t increase traffic without other things being right.
- Speed became a ranking factor in July 2018 and it’s what users expect.
Technical SEO activities
Collaborating with engineering and product teams to fix the technical aspects of the site is faster than working with SEO teams to improve the site’s rankings. Working at a consistent level of output will help build a strong, healthy technical foundation.
In general, if a site fails to release any technical improvements for six months or more, it risks losing significant rankings and therefore traffic, because it is not able to remain as competitive online against other teams who are seeking to improve their SEO results as a result of testing and learning.
SEO ROI requires an investment
Every human on the planet searches for products, services, and information to make their lives easier. Your business should be at the top of the list of customers’ considerations. It’s crucial to invest in SEO because it allows companies to fine-tune their websites to make them easier for consumers to find.
SEO optimizes websites for search engines in order to connect them with real individuals. The return on investment from SEO occurs slowly over time, unlike paid search, which is either on or off.
When your paid search budget runs out, what then? You must keep investing.