Where will we rank? When will we rank? If I spend this money, what can you guarantee me? On their face, these are reasonable questions from someone whose about to invest in SEO help to enhance their search traffic. The answers, however are a bit more nuanced than what most consumers want, and that creates a gap of trust between SEO firms and their clients.
Business owners and C-level decision makers want expected results, quantified in digestible numbers, that enable them to impose a pass-fail environment. If these numbers aren’t hit by a certain date, then the initiative failed, and money should be allocated to other streams.
However, these same executives never assign such a rigid understanding of other long-term investments, such as the stock market. They understand financial advisors can’t guarantee that an investment will yield a profit, and if they do, these executives know they better run away faster than Forrest Gump at Bryant Denny Stadium.
Data, Data, Data & SEO ROI
Financial advisors don’t control the stock market and they aren’t expected to. We expect them to provide insightful information, rooted in quantitative data. They then leverage that data to provide a more refined metric, deemed to have more value than simply throwing money at popular companies. Financial advisors are trusted, based off their track record, and are allowed time to see results.
It’s an SEO consultant’s job to align this same stock market mentality, with investing in SEO help. The benefits of SEO can be immense. Data shows, on average, SEO ROI is greater than any other form of marketing. It accesses people in critical moments when they are actively seeking a company’s product or service. That doesn’t just happen by chance.
Can you catch lightning in a bottle and see results right off the bat? Of course, but that isn’t a long-term investment strategy, not to mention, most of those fast results can be attributed to black-hat techniques, putting your company at risk of being penalized or even banned from Google. Would you risk all your money on an insider trading tip for a chance at a quick return? No, which is why you shouldn’t risk black-hat techniques to fool Google and get a jump in traffic for a few days or weeks. Trust me, they will figure it out.
Taking the “Leap”
It’s not easy to view SEO help through this lens of long term investment. In-fact, for most, it’s uncomfortable. We typically make business decisions like these in response to expected ROI next week, next month, or, on occasion, as far out as next year. SEO ROI requires us to get out of this comfort zone and start thinking towards the future. That means taking the time up front to build trust with your SEO firm. Do they have good data? Do they understand and align with your goals? Are they ethical? Do they communicate their plan without ambiguity? Are they within your budget? These are some of the key questions to ensure you’re making the right investment.
Once you’ve chosen your firm, now it’s time to pick your “stocks” or in the case of SEO, keywords. Some keywords which generating more or better targeted search traffic, are more competitive and need time to produce results. Other keywords are less competitive and will yield rankings much faster. Sometimes you pick a bad keyword, just like a stock, but that doesn’t mean you quit investing altogether and stop believing in the system.
SEO Benefits, Search Traffic & The Long Play
SEO requires patients and builds momentum, like a flywheel, organically. Once a foundation of optimization is built within your website you’re ready to start dominating your market and capturing more search traffic. But it doesn’t work the other way around. For example, expecting to make a million dollars off your first investment in the stock market is silly. Then again, if you put an investment strategy together, build off strong previous investments, and have a strong foundation you can easily see a return of $1,000,000 over time.
SEO works. We know it works. Even common sense tells us the same thing. I’m sure a few of you out there will disagree when you read this, but I ask all of you, when was the last time you went to the second page of a Google search? Never? Rarely? You can’t remember the last time? You’re not alone, only about 2% of all users goes to that second page. 98% of us will either formulate another search, click on a result on the first page, or give up all together.
Investing in SEO and You
If you are headstrong, have a long-term business plan, can handle the ups and downs of rankings and algorithms, and are committed to your goals, SEO is perfect for you. SEO help will position you in a prime location to capture revenue escaping to your competitors through SERP pages. It will enhance your traffic, enhance your brand, and provide you with the ethos of industry leadership, which your company may never have had before. And oh by the way…..It will make you a ton of money!!!
SEO is not a quick fix and it has never been designed as a short-term investment strategy. It’s a process based on repeatable actions, requiring its investor to hold the course through storms and times of decline. But just like the market, the ones who remain steady will reap the rewards of their efforts and rein king at the top of their organic rankings.
I’ll leave you with three relevant quotes from arguably the greatest investor of all time, Warren Buffet.
- “Successful Investing takes time, discipline and patience. No matter how great the talent or effort, some things just take time: You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”
- “Someone is sitting in the shade today, because someone planted a tree a long time ago”
- “Time is the friend of the wonderful company, the enemy of the mediocre”