Search Engine Optimization: Understanding the Return on Investment
If you want to grow your business, you need to be where your customers are. And according to a recent survey by Yelp, approximately 85% of consumers are using search engines like Google and Yahoo to search for products and services. In addition, 92% of users click on results in the first page. That means to compete, you need to be found in the search engines, preferably in the top 10 spots – for the right keywords. And rest assured, if you don’t stake your claim now, your competitors will take the lead.
SEO (search engine optimization) ensures your website is well-ranked in search engines. It puts your products and services in front of potential customers in all stages of the buying cycle, resulting in higher brand awareness and more sales/leads.
However, like other marketing initiatives, SEO is an investment of your time and money. How does it stack up in terms of return on investment when compared to other marketing tactics?
What does the ROI look like if I invest in SEO?
SEO is one of the most cost-effective forms of digital marketing. Although there is a cost associated with SEO, its benefits are exponential – meaning that you can often experience a snowball effect. In addition, SEO provides significant long-term benefits. It generates traffic, sales and leads after you’ve paid for it.
Because SEO sends people to the proper page of your site at exactly the right time, it also results in higher conversion rates. For example, if you design custom retail displays, you don’t want to send a potential customer to your homepage when they search for “metal counter displays.” This will not give them the information they want. You want to point them directly to the type of display they’re looking to find. This way, they don’t have to waste time determining if you offer the service or product they need – and SEO can do just that.
In comparison, you could also use Pay-Per-Click (PPC) techniques, such as Google AdWords, to improve your search engine visibility and drive people to specific pages of your site. However, this model forces you to pay a specific amount for each click. PPC traffic also disappears when you stop paying for your ads, so there’s no residual benefits. The end result is that it’s almost always more expensive per lead than SEO. Of course, PPC has a place in a digital marketing strategy, but SEO inevitably provides better ROI.
Does My Business Need SEO?
In short, YES. No matter how large or small your geographic customer base might be, you still need to do some SEO work to ensure your website is found online by your target audience. It’s also important to understand that SEO is a long-term, ongoing commitment. It can take up to 90 days to realize benefits from your initial efforts. And due to the changing search engine landscape and competition, you can’t just “set it and forget it.”
Of course, a solid SEO program is only one step of making sure that you’re website is working as a sales tool for your business.
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