Is the cost of SEO worth it?

As a small business owner, you likely know about SEO and have thought about investing some money in it. But will you get your money’s worth?

The short answer is it depends, and requires tracking and calculating your return on investment. As a web designer, I hear stories where someone spends thousands on an SEO company each year, then could not tell if they received new business or clients as a result.

I have also heard stories where small business owners have spent money on Google or Facebook ads and they have no idea if they have gotten business from these ads.

My philosophy centers around adding SEO to a website as I design it and then teaching clients how to do their own SEO (as much as possible) going forward.

Sometimes, their website needs more content, more citations, a fix in website speed or SSL, or suggestions on quality backlinks. Whatever my suggestions, I explain them to the business owner, but always suggesting they ask all new incoming clients where they found your business. My website contact forms always require this field because this vital information will aid you in discovering your streams of revenue or your best referral networks. Without this data, you are blindly shooting arrows into the air around you, not knowing if they’re hitting your mark (new revenue).

Everyone needs a specialized assessment of where they are combined with a plan to improve. Because you can always improve from where you are currently.

So how do you use SEO to its best advantage?

Don’t use boilerplate blog posts and keyword targeting. Here is the thing: Google rewards (ranks higher on searches) UNIQUE content. If your blog posts are the same as everyone else in your industry, with the same backlinks – they will not benefit you being found by clients. In other words, your search engine optimization isn’t…well, optimizing you.

How do I know? I’ve observed the results my business owner clients receive. Many come to me for a website, and aren’t convinced SEO will make a difference.  

How do they know it mattered? When new callers respond to “how did you hear about our business?” with I found on you Google. Alternately, when someone fills out your contact form or opts into your freebie, then buys from or hires you. These count as a client brought to you as a direct result of your SEO.

Everyone should try SEO before doing Facebook or Google ads, to test out if your wording and text garners positive attention.

And you can test this for free! Once you have great SEO (which words and phrases induce your ideal clients to contact you), and Google analytics for tracking client engagement, you will have a clear strategy for better ads, if you even need them.

Did you know that digital marketers overwhelming say that SEO gives business owners the highest (ROI) Return on Investment? 
Data from Statista
 put SEO on top with 32% of marketers worldwide saying it offers the highest ROI;

Just to emphasize this:

SEO has a better ROI than ads.

I know Small Business Owner’s who have thrown money away on ads because they think they need “brand recognition” just to be seen.  But they don’t think about ROI. Dollars spent on ads may be a missed opportunity on spending the same money on SEO with a better ROI.

So, Laura, how do I calculate my return on investment from SEO?

I’m glad you asked! Here’s my formula: 

ROI Calculation for SEO (One-Time Sales)

Monthly quantity of new customers acquired via SEO (counting only those which converted into a sale)5 
Average net profit on each customer sold to (total revenue on sale, then subtract fees or costs)$1,000 
Total net profit from newly-acquired organic customers (New customers multiplied by net profit: 5 x 1000)$5,000 
Monthly marketing expense (budget)$2,500 
New customer profit divided by SEO marketing budget (1000 / 2500)ROI = 40%

The limitation of this calculation is not considering the customer lifetime value (CLV) of a new customer/client, but this is a great place to start.

If you are getting negative ROI on your marketing and SEO investment, let’s talk. I have strategies to address it and turn this into a positive.

Did you know I am certified in SEO?


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