What is the ROI of SEO?

March, 26, 2015

Did you know that approximately 93% of B2B purchasing decisions start with a search? And did you also know that roughly 83% of consumers do research online before buying online or in a store?

The implications of this research are clear: more than ever, our society leans on online search to decide which businesses and companies to support. And it’s for this reason that search engine optimization (or SEO) is so important.

You may already know, as a business owner, that SEO is important for the success of your business. But what you may not know is what investing in SEO will get you. You may think that spending money on SEO is like throwing it away — that all you’ll ever see are tiny gains, or that it will just give you a few improvements in how you rank on a few keywords. But with the right digital agency as your partner, nothing could be further from the truth!

Let’s explore the true ROI of SEO a little further.

Why the Right Agency Matters

dollars-426023_640 When you start working on the optimization of your website, how you go about it matters quite a lot. If you do SEO yourself, or partner with an experienced agency that doesn’t know much about SEO, the results you get will probably be less than stellar. But what happens if you partner with an experienced SEO agency?

Agencies that have a lot of experience with SEO — that is, who have done SEO work for hundreds of clients before — know all the tricks of the trade. They’re probably also familiar with your industry, your competition, and your needs. So they’ll be able to get right to work and start optimizing your website immediately.

The right agency can give you solid SEO based on years of experience and knowledge instead of just guesswork and best practices they may have just read about online. That serves as the groundwork for optimization with a very high ROI.

Why the Right Keywords Matter

A big mistake that many people who are new to SEO make is putting all their money on the wrong words and phrases, or keywords.

Let’s say your website sells pet supplies. You could certainly spend all your time and effort trying to rank #1 for “pet supplies.” However, there are hundreds of other pet supply websites out there, and you might never reach #1 without significant time and money spent. This is why so many people think SEO’s ROI is low: they try to rank solely for highly competitive keywords like this!

Instead of aiming for this keyword, you could instead try to rank for the words and phrases related to the products you carry instead. For example, if you stock a wide line of adjustable collars for dogs, you could aim to be #1 for “adjustable dog collars.” This is called a “long-tail keyword,” and it’s where all the money is in SEO!

Yes, the traffic on this long-tail keyword might be lower than it would be on “pet supplies.” But think about it this way: if someone searches for “pet supplies,” what are they looking for? A store online? A store nearby? Supplies for cats, or for dogs? Or even parakeets? With this keyword, you’re getting closer to the end of the customer’s buying process — and closer to getting a sale.

The ROI You Should Expect

The return on investment of your SEO depends on a number of factors:

  • The amount of time you spend optimizing your site
  • How your site is optimized (e.g. are links built? Is your site fast? Are you targeted the right keywords?)
  • The quality of work performed
  • How well your SEO is implemented
  • The improvements made over time
  • Where your site stood when you started your SEO

If your website was a blank slate when you started your SEO, and you are working with one of our top recommended agencies, the ROI you see is probably going to be enormous. On the other hand, if your site already had some SEO to begin with, and you do the optimization yourself, the ROI might be a little lower.

Having said that, as long as your SEO is done professionally and by someone who understands what should be done, the ROI will almost always be positive. It is very difficult for there to be a negative ROI for SEO. In fact, many clients seem to experience anywhere between a 50% and 100% ROI when they work with the agencies recommended on our list. Sometimes it’s even higher than that!

Have any questions about ROI you should see when you get a SEO package? Let us know in the comments!

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