What is the business value of SEO?
Understanding the true impact of SEO on your bottom line
Let’s kick off with some stats because we love starting with research and strategy
- 68% of all online experiences begin on a search engine (BrightEdge)
- 4 in 5 consumers use search to find local information (Google)
- 80% of local searches convert (WebFX)
- 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results. (SEO Expert)
- 86% of people ignore paid banner ads, choosing to only click on organic SEO driven results (UserGuiding)
92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results
Okay so SEO is good for business but what exactly is it?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is the process of optimising your website to improve your online visibility and increase visitors to your website. The better your SEO, the more people will find you when searching online.
A great way to understand SEO is that without it, your business storefront is hiding in a back alley of the internet somewhere, without any foot traffic. The only way to get customers in the door is by word of mouth or paying for advertising.
By adopting effective SEO strategies, over time, your business ‘storefront’ moves from the back alleys to one of the main streets with plenty of daily foot traffic. And as we all know, more traffic equals more sales.
How does SEO work?
When someone uses a search engine like Google, Google responds by flicking through millions of potential results, selecting appropriate websites, and displaying them in order of most relevant.
The problem with the internet is that anyone can start a website and claim to be something that they’re not… So you can’t just trust any old website.
How does Google rectify this? It has a selection criteria to guarantee the greatest results. This selection criteria is determined by evaluating the SEO score of a website.
Your business website might be the sexiest most user-friendly website in the world, but without SEO, it’s pretty much invisible.
SEO specialists understand these criteria for a living and know how to improve your SEO so your website is visible when a potential customer is looking for a product or service like yours online.
What factors determine SEO?
Good SEO doesn’t happen automatically. Each website needs to be manually optimised in order to improve website visibility. There are multiple factors that, when put together, make effective SEO.
Some factors that influence SEO include:
- Keyword Research and tracking
- Page Load Speed
- The average time people spend browsing a website
- The quality of the website content
- Links from other websites
- The number of words on a web page
- Well-structured Data
- User-centric web design
Optimising these factors, or investing in services that will do it for you, help your website rank higher on Google.
What is the ROI of investing in SEO?
- Profitworks estimates the average ROI of its SEO services is $2.75 for every dollar spent, or a 275% ROI.
- FirstPageSage calculates its average ROI for SEO at 748% from campaign data over three years.
- Terakeet shows the SEO ROI is between 5x and 12.2x (500% and 1,220%).
Based on these three studies, it’s fair to expect an ROI of 200% or a return of $2 for every $1 invested. Let’s investigate an example to see how this might work for a local business in NSW.
Pretend you own a pub in the city of Tamworth. Through some SEO research, we discover that approximately 1600 people search for ‘pub tamworth’ every month.
We know that the top 3 Google search results get 75.1% of all clicks (Backlinko.com). So we can assume that ranking in the top for this search is going to bring in about 20-25% of clicks.
With that in mind, with quality SEO services, you could expect to increase your monthly web traffic to approximately 400 (25% of 1600 monthly searches).
SEO-driven traffic converts at a higher rate of up to 14.6%, versus just 1.7% for outbound advertising, like social media or google ads.
It’s reasonable then to assume that for every 100 web visitors, you can expect approximately 10 successful conversions/bookings/sales etc. so 400 monthly website visitors = about 40 SEO driven customers/month.
Keep in mind, this is only the results for one search phrase but SEO campaigns always target multiple search phrases at once.
So now let’s imagine your website was ranking for 3 similar search phrases and triple those monthly customers… That would be about 120 SEO driven customers every month.
Now, if your average pub goer spends $50 that’s 120 customers x $50 = $6000/month or $72,000/year in added revenue from SEO driven traffic.
If the average gross profit margin (GPM) for a business is about 30% of revenue then 30% of $72,000 equals $21,600 in profit.
In this example, say you spent $21,600 building your website’s SEO over 6-12 months and as a result, for the next 3 years your business brought in an extra $64,800.
Your ROI = 300% or $3 return on every $1 invested.
Now double these figures if you are ranking for 6 similar search terms instead of only 3 and… well…you get the point by now.
SEO is an excellent way to invest in your business but, like all good things, it doesn’t come easy, it takes time (minimum 6 months), and it can get expensive.
How much should I pay for SEO services?
What works for one business will not work for the next. After all, businesses are customer-driven, and it’s those customers who determine the optimal path to take. A good marketing agency will assess your target customers and their online behaviour to determine your SEO campaign.
Still, there are some things for you to take into consideration and we’ve listed them below.
A good rule of thumb is don’t pay less than $500/month if you want to see results.
It’s difficult to make any real influence on your website traffic at only $125 per week because the time and effort to do quality SEO work just isn’t feasible at that price.
We can assume that no business is trying to run at a loss so it’s likely that lawless shortcuts are being used that will negatively impact your website. Once a website is flagged or penalised for malpractice, it’s difficult to repair the damage.
Some factors that determine what you should be paying for SEO:
- Your industry
- Your target customers
- How much SEO work has previously been done
- The quality of work that has previously been done
- How difficult it is to rank for your relevant and optimum search phrases (also known as keywords)
- The level of competition (how many other businesses are trying to rank for the same keywords)
- Target geographical region —the larger the area, the more competitors, the more difficult.
This will influence the number of hours and people required for your SEO campaign.
A monthly retainer is the most common pricing model and allows your chosen marketing agency to dedicate time each month to commit to the following:
- Develop and optimise your SEO strategy and research
- Launch and monitor your SEO campaigns
- Review your rankings
- Produce quality content for your target customer profiles
- Make on-page SEO adjustments
- Generate backlinks
- Develop progress reports
For a local SEO campaign to achieve the visibility required to see a return on investment you can expect to pay between $750-$2000/month.
For national or multi-regional campaigns, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2000 to $6000 per month. Paying less will likely mean you won’t reach any real targets and it might even damage your website if cheap and nasty SEO shortcuts are adopted.
Start Understanding your Website as a Business Asset
You own your business website. In the future, when you decide to sell your business, a website with well-executed SEO increases the overall value of your business.
So, when you spend money on quality SEO services, you’re not only increasing revenue, you’re increasing the estimated value of your business.
Alternatively, you don’t have true ownership over your business social media accounts. If one day your social media account gets hacked or flagged and deleted (it happens more than you’d like to think) it’s gone for good. All of your invested time and money into gaining your community and audience is gone and you have to start again.
Although there are opportunities to include social media into your marketing strategy to help boost your visibility, these are not crucial to a successful SEO campaign. That’s the real beauty of SEO, it suits most businesses and budgets, you’re investing in your own asset and it can work on its own (as long as your website isn’t terrible but we can help with that too!
To put it simply, invest in quality SEO if you want a cost-effective way to boost your website visitors and increase the overall value of your business.
If you’d like to learn more about how your business can benefit from SEO services, contact the team here at Vivid Thinking.
Digital Marketing, Content Creator and Producer
Co-Founder Braindrops Digital