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7 things business owners fear (but shouldn’t) about SEO
From concerns about scam artists to misconceptions about measurement, the typical reasons for fear of SEO are many. But contributor Pratik Dholakiya contends there's much to gain by getting past your doubts.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the many aspects of digital marketing that can seem like a foreign concept to a lot of business owners. For that reason, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding it.
However, upon closer examination, there is really no good reason to avoid incorporating SEO into your marketing strategy. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why business owners are hesitant to embrace SEO.
1. It’s too complicated
SEO is by no means a walk in the park. But at the same time, it’s not rocket science. Digital marketing is a constantly evolving entity. A strategy that works one week could very well be obsolete the next.
The truth of the matter is that there’s a lot of misinformation about SEO out there. The best strategy for a newcomer is to follow blogs online and read posts regularly to keep up. Here are some useful links — besides Search Engine Land, of course — to get you started:
- Latest Search Engine News: SEO Round Table & The SEM Post
- SEO Blogs: Moz & Ahrefs
- Marketing: Marketing Land & MarketingProfs
- Conversion Rate Optimization: Conversion XL and Unbounce
- Follow SEO Experts on Twitter: Search Engine Watch’s Editorial List & Most followed SEO Experts
It might take a few months, but you will soon wise up to the ins and outs of SEO and what it can do for your brand.
The landscape of digital marketing is moving at light speed. Embracing SEO could very well be one of the best business decisions you will ever make.
2. It’s a scam
Truth be told, there are low-life scammers within the digital marketing realm that prey on the fact that a lot business owners are not very familiar with SEO. When dealing with an SEO agency, one of the biggest red flags to look out for is a guarantee of any kind.
Google is constantly changing with algorithm updates. If anyone guarantees you a top spot in SERPs, they are more than likely trying to steal your money. While an SEO campaign will certainly not require you to rob the neighborhood bank, as with all good things in life, SEO doesn’t come cheap. Be wary of getting greedy for links while you plan and execute your campaigns.
Educate yourself as much as possible before deciding to move forward with SEO. There are a lot of free resources, webinars, hangouts and blogs out there to give you the information you need to get the ball rolling.
3. The SEO specialist could ruin my business
It’s true that a constant flow of bad SEO decisions can wreak havoc on a website’s organic search rankings. But this would only happen in a situation where the business owner blindly goes all-in right away, which is rarely the case.
It’s wise to start with baby steps so that, in addition to getting an idea of your potential ROI, you will build a relationship between the SEO agency and your marketing team prior to making any giant leaps.
4. It’s too expensive
The beauty of SEO is that you can start small and take your time in deciding whether or not to make big moves. Let’s take a look at a hypothetical example from One Thing Marketing.
Say there’s a business that starts small with a $1,000 monthly investment. With research, they find several relevant keywords that yield more than 35,000 searches per month. If their website appears on the first page of the search results for these keywords, the average click-through rate (CTR) would be 2 percent. If they convert 5 percent of visitors, their average sale value would be $100.
Based on the equation, their SEO ROI was 250 percent.
You can see why 72 percent of business owners feel that a good SEO strategy drastically improved their marketing efforts.
Traditional forms of marketing can be very expensive. For example, an average TV spot — from production to media buying — could cost around $3,000 to $25,000, and the ROI can be difficult to track.
The decision to invest in SEO should not be taken lightly. However, regardless of how big or small you start out, more than likely, you will see a strong data-driven ROI.
5. I won’t be able to quantify spending
This is a very common misconception. Using tools for lead generation and landing pages is a great way to bring quantifiable traffic to your website. Regardless of how big or small your project is, impressions, clicks, keywords and traffic sources can be tracked in a detailed record. Dashboards in your Google Analytics will give you a comprehensive snapshot of where your site stands.
In addition, custom analytics can shed granular light on demographic information and engagement metrics on everyone that interacted with your website. This is prime information that can be used to optimize for the future.
6. Creating content is a waste of money
This could not be further from the truth. SEO and content go hand-in-hand. Simply creating website traffic is one thing. Investing in high-quality content is the key to creating value and encouraging users to stay on your website. A study conducted by Ascend2 and reported by eMarketer found that 72 percent of marketers believe that relevant content creation is the most effective tactic in their SEO efforts.
Traffic is basically useless if the reader has no reason to stay on your site. This is why the phrase, “content is king,” is so prevalent and will continue to be for years to come. When creating content, ask yourself whether it is unique material that readers cannot get anywhere else.
7. Results won’t come quickly enough
They won’t. But keep in mind that if they did, you’d be thrown off your perch just as easily when a new competitor came along. It’s clear what you need to do: just stick around and be consistent.
How long does it take for SEO to start working? Answer: it depends. Most SEO agencies will tell you it takes about four to six months to start seeing results. However, the results you see at six months will most likely be considerably inferior to what you will see one year in.
The key is to keep at it. If you decide to invest in SEO, be prepared for the long haul. You’ll be thankful in the end.
Over to you
At first glance, SEO can look like a complicated mountain to climb. Companies everywhere would be wise to look at the big picture and learn how SEO can benefit them throughout the age of the internet.
Perhaps the most important thing to take to heart when considering SEO is that it helps to level the playing field. If done well, it can provide the smaller companies with as much opportunity to get noticed on the SERPs as the bigger enterprises.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.