When asking yourself the question, ‘Is SEO worth it?’, there’s a whole other set of questions to cover off first.
1) Are you prepared to invest time and money?
Search engine optimization is not a quick fix. In fact, it could be 18 months/two years before you start generating good, ready-to-buy leads for your sales team. And that’s if you’re lucky enough to have an existing authoritative website. That’s not to say there aren’t associated KPIs you’ll affect sooner e.g. keyword rankings and organic traffic levels (these enable you to measure progress to that lead gen goal), but it’s a long-term investment.
You’ll likely be investing £3k-£5k per month in agency fees (that’s a midrange estimate) for a content based, sustainable SEO programme. This is worthwhile if you’re looking at transforming your business and you’ve got long term objectives in mind. There is no point in doing this if you want a quick fix (disclaimer – there are no quick fixes in life or business).
2) Are there any keywords to target?
Fundamentally there needs to be keywords related to the different parts of your sales funnel that you’re keen to target. If you’re selling something no-one has ever heard of and therefore no-one searches for, then are there related keywords you’d be interested in ranking for? If the answer is no, then organic search (and PPC for that matter) probably isn’t the right sales tactic for you.
3) How competitive are the keywords?
How authoritative are the sites returned on page one when you search for the keyword you’re interested in? A very simple way of assessing this is to download Moz’s toolbar and take a look at the sites’ domain authority (DA) scores. If your DA is nowhere near theirs, then the competition level is high, and you have to seriously consider is SEO worth it. If, however, you have the same DA or a better DA than they do, then you’ve got a very good chance of ranking for that keyword given a sensible, content-led, strategic approach.
4) Do you have an ‘SEO friendly’ website?
By that I mean a website that’s fast, mobile friendly, and easy to edit.
Here are a few tools to help you figure that out: Google’s mobile friendly testing tool – Google is going mobile first (returning mobile web pages in search results instead of desktop ones) in 2018 so make sure you’re ready. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool – Google (and ever search engine for that matter) likes speedy sites because users like speedy sites – find out how your web pages perform.
Have a chat with your dev team and get a handle on the time it’ll take to make basic changes e.g. adding new pages and redirects, updating sitemaps, metadata and robots.txt files. How much access to the site do you have? If it’s severely limited (most commonly the case when it acts as a SaaS portal for example and minor edits run the risk of destabilising user access) then you need to establish a sensible working arrangement with your dev colleagues before embarking on an SEO project.
5) How do you currently generate leads?
Look at your lead gen channels. How effective are they? Lots of companies I speak to have been doing lead gen the same way for years, with dwindling rates of success as they run out of leads and find it harder and harder to generate new ones. If that’s the situation you’re in, then invest in an SEO audit and business case before you start looking for ongoing SEO services. A decent agency will help you build this and assess organic search’s potential to help you grow your business.
6) What are you selling?
Some service based businesses in particular find it very difficult to approach prospects at the right time. Is SEO worth it in this scenario? Definitely. The beauty of SEO is it captures prospects when they are ready to buy, making them easier to sell to.
There you have it. Six decent questions to ask yourself before committing budget to an SEO campaign. If you want to explore any of them further then drop our SEO head honcho Luke a line. He’ll be happy to chat! (He loves talking.)