Is SEO Worth It?

Is SEO Worth It?

You have a limited budget and a long to-do list.

Is SEO worth the money or should you spend your marketing budget somewhere else?

 

With more than a billion active websites today, competing for the top spot on Google is harder than ever.

That’s what makes it so tempting when a smooth-talking SEO company comes along and claims that they can work magic for you overnight.

Do you know what your site ranks for?

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We all know that Google is the king of search engines. They’re constantly working to improve their algorithm so it can return better search results. That’s why everyone uses and loves it. (Sorry, Bing.)

For every year that passes, Google does their best to make it impossible for lazy SEO and digital marketing tactics to work.

Which is good!

No matter how much you’re spending, you want to make sure that you’re truly getting your money’s worth. But is SEO worth the money? How do you ensure that you won’t be wasting any of your precious digital marketing budget on bad SEO?

 

Is SEO Worth the Money?

Before we can even talk about the difference between good and bad SEO, we need to talk about its purpose. Why should people care about SEO in the first place?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is anything you do on your website to get it to rank higher in Google search results. And when you put it that succinctly, it’s easy to see why SEO is definitely worth the money it takes to get it…good SEO, that is.

When done right, SEO can put you on the first page of Google for a keyword that thousands of people are searching for. It can increase traffic while decreasing bounce rates, deliver expert information that builds trust, and creates the kind of brand strength that empires are made of.

It’s a beautiful thing, but it takes a lot of work. And anytime a beautiful thing that takes a lot of work exists, you’re guaranteed to find plenty of cheap imitations on the market. So how do you distinguish the cons from the real thing?

 

What Is Bad SEO?

Bad SEO doesn’t care about about your customers. Bad SEO doesn’t care about your business. It doesn’t even care about money. (If it did, it would give you the type of results that make you rich.)

Bad SEO just wants to do the least amount of work possible.

gold rings on stalks of straw
There’s gold in them thar straw!

I’m sure you’re familiar with the story of Rumpelstiltskin. In this classic fairy tale, a strange little man had the ability to spin straw into gold (but would only do it in exchange for a firstborn child.)

Well, lazy web guys have figured out that they can spin that gold back into straw by doing SEO so improperly with such little understanding of it that they might as well have just set fire to your budget.

A few years ago, we published a blog post called “Shady SEO Practices to Watch Out For” (now titled “What To Watch Out For In an SEO Company“). In it, we listed SEO tactics that we swear by: content marketing, pay-per-click campaigns, and tracking your site’s analytics.

When done the right way, these methods work. We’ve seen the results for ourselves. But when done the lazy way, they’re nuttin’ but a waste of money, honey.

 

Good vs. Bad SEO

Just like jewelry, luxury cars, and brand name soda, it’s hard to be content with fakes once you’ve experienced the real thing.

There are lots of differences between the two, but let’s go over three main areas that set lazy SEO apart from great SEO.

1. Content Marketing

Content is king. It’s been that way for a while, and it doesn’t look like the tide is going to turn any time soon.

But Google doesn’t just accept any ol’ content. Nuh-uh. Only the finest content will do.

sad soup and sandwich next to gourmet soup and sandwich you versus the content she told you not to worry about
Spoiler alert: You should be worried.

Every word, video, podcast, or image on your site needs to provide quality information that will be helpful to your reader. The more, the better. In fact, Google’s algorithm tracks your site’s bounce rate and visitors’ browsing activity to make educated guesses about how useful your content actually is.

If visitors leave your site too quickly, Google assumes your content wasn’t up to par. Meager 300-word articles and duplicated content aren’t up to snuff either. Instead, create original, comprehensive (between 800-1000 words), quality content that aims to help your readers.

2. Digital Marketing

Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaigns are one of the best things you can do to get your name out in front more eyes. But there’s one caveat: those eyes have to be interested in you.

closeup of eye
Tell me more, O Wise Business Owner!

For instance, dropping a bunch of flyers out of a plane might get your name in front of a lot of people, but it would also be a complete waste of time and money because you’re not targeting your demographic in any strategic way.

Lazy SEO likes to say things like, “I can get you a backlink from a site with a high domain authority!” or “I can get you on the first page of Google!” And the worst part is that they’re claims are often true. But the backlinks and keywords they have available have nothing to do with your business and they couldn’t care less.

Is that the kind of SEO that you want to pay big bucks for?

3. Holistic Approach

It sounds “hippie-dippie,” but a holistic approach to your website—one that sees it as a singular digital presence rather than a single piece—is what really sets apart a high-quality SEO expert from one of the money-wasters.

Female office worker meditating on her work place
“My website and my business are one…”

The lazy guys are focused on short-term results. They like to make you happy right away so you’ll give them money and they can be done.

But good SEO doesn’t work that way.

Building domain authority (i.e. the score that gets you a better Google ranking) is a marathon, not a sprint. In order to get the amount of staying power that will keep you in the game for the long run, you’re gonna have a slow start.

The lazy web guy doesn’t actually care if you’re successful. He wants you to be happy just enough that you’ll shut up and leave him alone. These guys aren’t interested in getting to know your business or building a relationship with you.

More importantly, they won’t be around when you get penalized by Google.

 

Good SEO is User-Focused

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

It’s known as the Golden Rule for a reason. Treating others the way you’d like to be treated is the ultimate exercise in selflessness. And it’s not just the right thing to do…it actually works!

hand extended for handshake
As new SEO practices pop up (and there will always be more), put them through the Golden Rule test. Is this something your readers and site visitors would be happy seeing? Or will it just piss them off?

Pleasing the algorithms is an important part of doing business online. But it can’t be the only thing.

After all, computers don’t buy from you, people do.

Just continue being awesome at what you do and focus on quality over quantity. Because, when it comes down to it, if you are truly focused on doing your job well and making your customer experience better, the rest will follow.

 

Is SEO Worth It?

So how do you know that SEO is really worth it? For that, you have to look at your long-term ROI.

Don’t just listen to what the SEO guy tells you about his results. Investigate it for yourself with a big ol’ grain of salt. Sure, you might be on the first page of Google for one keyword, but are you making more money? Are you getting more leads?

Or are you just writing more checks?

 

Clarity Creative Group is a digital marketing agency located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. What was Rumpelstiltskin anyway? A troll? A gnome? One of the fae? Somebody get on this!

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