It can bring about illuminating discussions on the viability of this traffic generation channel and how saturated it is, for example.
There are some who feel there is little left in SEO and it is time to move on.
Many others see the power of search, and include and recommend its use in any marketing effort.
SEO is not dead and those who feel this way are not looking at how things are shaping up in the world of digital marketing. And, Google still owns ~90% of the search market globally, and ~80% of US based searches. With over a 100 billion searches per month, and mobile outgrowing desktop searches, opportunities are massive for SEO!
There are still many sites who are coming out of nowhere to rank well and are seen gaining massive amounts of traffic (and growth). It is one of the highest converting traffic mediums online.
Let’s take a look at ten key signs it is time to invest in SEO. (List not built by order of importance).
#1 – Budget Constraints Are In Place
Running on a low budget? Don’t have enough money to just keep tossing away at paid marketing campaigns?
This might be the number one sign that looking into SEO is critical for your success in the long-term.
You need to make sure SEO is being considered because it will ensure you save money in the end.
(Based on various studies over the years, a top SEO listing gets approx. 42% in click-through rate from SERPs. Each industry is different, and brand terms versus plain keyword terms vary too. Paid ads receive much less of the click results, but each market is different and needs to be tested for yours. NOTE: If none of your clicks convert, it’s worthless to use these stats, work on your conversion strategies! And, tools should be used as a guide, not exact science either way.)
Let’s use an example: For a search term like “beverly hills dentist”, Google Keyword Planner yields 19 searches per day, and that would result in (42% of 19) 8 SEO / organic clicks from a top ranking. And, at about $20.00 (Adwords) per click, the total daily SEO value (what the keyword is worth) is around $165.00/day.
Depending on several factors and the procedures sold at the dentist + the lifetime value of the customer, the math turns in your favor over time with SEO. Remember to test this.
While it’s true as the slogan goes: “nothing is life is really free” – SEO can provide the biggest return on your investment … over time.
It is free advertising in essence once you have ranked and if maintaining and improving, will last for a long time.
You might have to pay those who are going to help get you there, but after that point, it is all free value and that is hard to beat.
What other method is going to give you this kind of quality results in the modern age of marketing?
#2 – Need An Upgrade Of Quality Web Traffic
Is the conversion rate starting to plummet?
Is the traffic just not rolling in as it used to in the past?
Are visitors bouncing (leaving your pages) fast?
This is a common occurrence and you need to have a diligent approach to what you will do next.
Focusing on SEO traffic in the long tail of search has proven profitable and highly converting for businesses over time. Think about the 80/20 rule in the head vs. tail keyword game.
There are so many factors to consider when put in this position, but the best idea is to consider search engine optimization based on quality keyword targets for your market. Less competitive searches, but highly converting.
It will help you gain that new quality level of traffic that is going to help raise the quality of visitors to the site. It is going to help you gain the ability to convert better leads.
#3 – Users Are Not Finding The Website
There are many web sites that don’t get found at all, or are ‘impossible’ to locate online.
The website owners are not building and running promotional strategies either, and that is hampering results.
There is no value in having a great product/service if you are not able to let people know about it, and have them easily find you.
This is why ranking in search engines for main keywords is so valuable.
They will be able to find your site with relative ease and that is when you are going to get established as a ‘go to’ option when you create engaging and authoritative copy.
They are going to be able to find you as needed and that is going to intrigue them like never before.
#4 – People Don’t Trust The Site And/Or Business
This is a major sign.
If people don’t trust your business, it is time to change things up. You need to invest in SEO to get people to trust who you are as a site and brand.
They need to understand what you bring to the table and why you are good at what you do. There are a lot of sites that are not doing this.
When you are ranking high in search engines, it is assumed you are approved by Google, Bing, or Yahoo and have been vetted, essentially.
This is something that will resonate with the target market and they will begin to automatically trust you.
#5 – Need Help Building A Brand
Don’t have the ‘brand’ recognition yet?
It is one thing to have a good business, but do you have a brand? Ever looked at those who are proven in the world of business? What do they have going for them?
They have a trusted brand. They will also rank high in search engines because of this. Brand favoritism is unfair perhaps, but Google loves brands.
You need to build a brand and SEO will help. It is going to enable people to find & relate with what you are about.
Plus, allowing reviews to flow from local & national feedback sites will help the brand. Your domain and pages strength will elevate in search results too.
#6 – Lacking Quality Relationships In The Market
Link building is a big part of SEO work and that is only going to happen when you develop relationships.
Yes, there are some who are going to spam for links and that is a very short-term strategy. When you want to get it right, you want to build links the right way. Close relationships and trusted authority domains can help.
When you do this, the results are going to come and the traffic will grow.
#7 – Want To Be An Expert In The Niche
Who doesn’t want to be an expert in their niche?
Let’s imagine you want to lose weight.
Wouldn’t you want to go to those who are experts in their industry and have been doing it for a long time?
It just makes sense to pursue the ones who went before you, yet there are many people who don’t for one reason or another.
You want to come across as this person in your niche and that will get a BIG boost when you rank for your top terms in search engines.
It is all about building trust, authority and that you are seen as an expert by both users and search engines.
Check out the updated search quality rating evaluator guidelines from Google for insights on how to build deep trust factors for your search programs.
Your competitors are applying SEO strategies, but you are going to do it better, right?
Become an authority in your field!
#8 – Require Relevant Traffic
The next sign it is time to consider SEO would have to do with the type of traffic you are getting.
Most online campaigns can bring in new traffic, but it is not always going to be targeted. This means they will come onto the site, take a quick look, and then hit the dreaded “back button”.
They are not going to stick and that is what selling is all about. You want the leads to stick and convert. It may not happen on “first touch”, but the relevancy matters, and many more will buy over time.
SEO is only going to bring those who want the information that is being provided. It gives you the power to make a difference.
#9 – Measurement, Tracking & Changes
Web analytics is here to stay and big data is the way of the future.
If you are noticing how making new changes on the site is hard, it is time to look at SEO metrics.
Not being able to make changes on the site could come down to just not having enough data to work with.
What are you going to change, if you don’t even know what is wrong?!
We know that SEO and website traffic drivers are valuable in this context.
SEO data with regards to the visitors, user behavior, time spent, where it is coming in from, and how it is converting (landing pages) can help guide your content (page copy) update strategy.
These are stats that can make a difference and will tell you a lot about your site in general and what needs changing.
It is these details that webmasters tend to ignore and it is a major sign with regards to what you need to do and how soon it should be done. Don’t trust your website designer to do this for you.
#10 – Require A Hands-Free Solution
Yes, there are certain aspects of running an online site that are going to get stale and/or time consuming.
It can be a challenge to keep up in such situations and that is why people move towards SEO.
As long as you are going with those who are vetted and proven to do a good job, you will be able to let them take over and get going towards ranking, copy/page updates and conversions. (We focus on the last latter most of the time!)
SEO is all about getting to the top and those who have done this before will be able to guide your site in the right direction. That includes Local SEO.
If you feel burdened by other marketing approaches being used, this could be a great way to not only get new quality traffic but remove tension and stress about other marketing projects you may be working on. A natural, white-hat SEO approach will ensure that you sleep well at night, even when Google makes updates (which they do daily).
A proper SEO plan is required in order to maximize the value of an SEO campaign. Those who are sure about what they are doing will get fantastic results.
Getting results from SEO is not going to happen overnight. It requires a long term view.
These are the main signs to consider for those who want to understand why investing in SEO is critical for their business.BONUS: Get the free lead generation guide that will show you how to quickly get more leads from traffic. Includes 2 bonus strategies not found in this post.
Jon Rognerud and Chaosmap work with Fortune 500 companies, small business and entrepreneurs to create digital traffic strategies that scales up customers, leads and sales. Mr. Rognerud wrote a best-selling book (Buy On Amazon), “The Ultimate Guide To Optimizing Your Website” (Entrepreneur). Connect directly here.