Unsurprisingly, content providers and website owners have been optimizing their websites for search engines since the early days of the web in the early and mid-1990s. Despite this nearly thirty-year history of constantly evolving search engine optimization, much of it remains a bit of a dark art for small, medium, and large organizations. That’s why many businesses hire in-house specialists or third-party SEO agencies like LRO Solutions to ensure their content rises to the top of search engine results.
But before your organization embarks on the often long journey of developing and ranking content that outperforms your competitors, there are some key considerations to take into account. In this article, I will illustrate some essential factors to consider before your organization makes a serious investment in SEO and why making that investment is perhaps more critical than ever.
Is SEO Worth Investing In?
In a word, yes. But there’s more to it than that. Whether SEO is worth investing in for your organization depends on how you answer some of the following questions. For example, suppose your entire business is predicated on B2B sales with specialized buyers over the phone, and no other sales channels exist for your product or service. In that case, your business may not benefit from investing in an SEO effort.
However, if your business sells a product or service that potential customers search for using Google or other search engines and increasingly social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok, you’re likely to benefit from an investment in a solid SEO strategy.
What Are Your Business Goals?
The reasoning behind deciding whether to invest in an SEO campaign should be intricately linked with your business goals. Many of these goals can be closely aligned and benefit from pursuing a thoughtfully planned and carried-out SEO strategy. Here are a few examples:
- Increasing leads from digital channels such as your website
- Improve the quality of leads
- Improved customer service through content on your website
- Improved industry and sector reputation and authority
- Improved brand credibility and affinity
- Improved brand recognition
- Increased e-commerce sales
- Improved marketing ROI
- Develop a cost-effective way to engage potential customers at various parts of the sales funnel
SEO is a worthwhile investment if any of these business goals resonate with what your company is trying to accomplish.
Can You Dedicate the Necessary Resources?
Having worked on hundreds of SEO campaigns for nearly three decades, my experience with clients of all sizes has led me to a firm belief surrounding a client’s willingness to commit to the necessary resources. If a company is not willing to dedicate the resources needed to execute an SEO campaign, it’s likely to fail.
The reality of SEO in 2022 is that it has become an all-encompassing arms race. Aside from having to worry about ever-evolving search engine algorithmic changes, which can throw rankings into chaos, a company’s most significant obstacle to SEO success is what its competitors are doing. Many of them have hired talented SEO specialists, just as your organization is considering doing. Then it becomes a matter of who is willing to dedicate more resources towards enacting a superior and long-lasting SEO strategy. This last point leads nicely into the next consideration.
Unfortunately, too many digital marketing and SEO agencies have over-promised and under-delivered in years past. Some of them, to this day, continue the practice of promising guarantees about ranking or setting unrealistic timelines for SEO results, often with promises of massively improved rankings in under three months.
And while there are sometimes quick gains and ranking improvements from easy technical fixes, a well-thought-out SEO strategy is a long-term investment whose efforts will bear fruit for years to come. In our experience, clients that treat SEO as an ongoing investment, instead of setting artificial term limits on the effort, are the ones that see the best results. This, of course, makes sense given that SEO is highly competitive in nearly every industry and that search engine optimization specialists like those that work for LRO Solutions are constantly revising and updating their strategies and tactics in response to changing algorithmic environments.
If More Immediate Results Are Needed
Now that we’ve established that SEO is a long-term investment, we can talk about the reality that small businesses or startups sometimes need results quickly. In this case, I often suggest that our clients begin with a PPC (paid advertisement) strategy that is a quicker and more direct way to increase sales or qualified leads. And while the results may be faster, they can be fleeting if the direct cost of acquiring a customer through Google Ads or any number of other social platforms becomes unprofitable.
Depending on budgetary constraints, I often tell clients that the best approach is to invest in a healthy mix of PPC and SEO, the former being best at providing immediate results while the latter being a better long-term investment.
Google and other Search Changes are Changing – SEO is Changing Along With It
For those that pay close attention to the industry, you won’t be surprised to learn that the pace of Google’s algorithmic changes has accelerated. But there’s more to it than that. To the dismay of many content producers, in the last few years, Google and other search engines have continuously expanded a three-prong strategy to increase their profits from their core search business.
First, and particularly visible in mobile search experiences, the percentage of screen space taken up by advertisements has grown significantly. This means that organic search results have steadily declined clicks per page impression.
Second, Google, in particular, has moved towards a business strategy of scraping content from third-party providers (websites not owned by Google) and presenting it in various “cards,” “snippets,” and other newly formatted content directly on the search results page. All this has resulted in fewer clicks to third-party websites as Google attempts to surface the information immediately without losing that user to a third-party website they cannot profit from.
Third, many search engines have adopted an increasingly visible strategy to surface content from their content aggregation platforms, such as YouTube and others. And anti-trust considerations aside, this practice has resulted in fewer clicks to third-party websites and emphasized the importance of an effective video marketing strategy for most organizations.
All this to say that in today’s modern SEO environment, you need an SEO professional on your side to help your business navigate the choppy waters of search engine chicanery.
What is Your Area of Content Authority?
The best way to think of Google and other search engines is that they are increasingly seeking the most authoritative answers and information to commonly asked questions and queries.
So what makes you the authority? And what is your business a leader in? A credible SEO strategy requires that you expose your organization’s authority in various aspects of your sector and the individuals working for you. Perhaps you have an incredibly talented and experienced artisan making fine-leather shoes for your company that has been doing it for 20 years. The type of authoritative content this shoemaker can produce for your company is the kind of content that search engines crave. Giving it to them by crafting a superior SEO strategy around your organization’s collective authority is one of the keys to outranking your competitors and skyrocketing to the top of search results for highly profitable queries.
Understand Your Customer Journey Funnel
One of the underappreciated benefits of planning and executing a great SEO strategy is that it offers businesses a method to meet their customers along various parts of the sales or marketing funnel. But before you can begin producing content to target potential customers, you must gain an intimate and deep understanding of your business’s sales funnel.
The funnel may differ from product to product or service to service, depending on what you offer. Still, to target customers at various points of those funnels, you’ll also have to engage in customer psychographic profiling, all of which a high-quality SEO agency can provide. Once you’ve completed your customer sales funnel research, your SEO strategy will be much more informed and likely to succeed.
Hiring an SEO Professional is The Best Way to Go
By this point of the article, I’ve hopefully convinced you of the intricacies involved in planning and investing in an SEO strategy for your business. It’s no small feat, and the sooner you start, the quicker you’ll get on the road to long-lasting, highly profitable, and organically produced customers and leads. Of course, the best way to achieve this is to engage a local SEO specialist like LRO Solutions to help you navigate the often tricky world of hyper-competitive search engine results.
If you feel your business could benefit from an investment in SEO, get in touch with your Ottawa SEO specialists today.