Know this: SEO is not a walk in the park. There are a couple of SEO checkpoints that must be considered and learn before putting SEO into your plans.
Search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, is all about marketing — content marketing, that is. This means, among other things, that one must have many, if not tons, of ideas and strategies because the competition is fierce. Unfortunately, having as many ideas can make entrepreneurs overwhelmed, burned-out, and frustrated, not to mention the balancing act one must master when choosing between strategies. Needless to say, each has its own pros and cons.
Startups suffer the most from this marketing conundrum because of their limited budget, deadlines, and competition. However, this does not mean that established businesses should take SEO planning for granted. If you don’t plan well, your SEO expenses will run out of control and eventually, fail.
Remember that you don’t have to make a James-Bond-worthy planning: simple but careful planning is just enough.
We’ll discuss the planning stage on a different time. For now, we’ll have to discuss 4 things that entrepreneurs must know even before the planning stage and even before you spend any amount of money on your SEO strategies.
This is not a special police force that comes crashing down doors and pointing guns; SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Analyzing and understanding these things is not just for SEO campaigns, but for every business as well.
SWOT represents your business, competition, and the environment on which it operates. This helps to identify how you fare against your competition, and which areas must be improved. Do not proceed with your SEO campaign without SWOT because you will only be lost, and you will waste money, time, resources, and opportunities.
# THE PRICE TAG
Aside from the time that entrepreneurs will use on their SEO, they will also spend money — and, depending on their strategy, it may cost north of $4,000. This is not a small sum for start-ups, but it’s not as expensive as other marketing tools. SEO usually ranks as the second cheapest tool, next to email marketing.
Not so cheap, is it?
Most companies, if not all, want to make the most out of their hard-earned dollars. And when it comes to SEO experts, quality comes with a hefty price tag: normally, they would charge somewhere between $800 to $2,000 per month, or up to $24,000 a year. But note that it may be a better idea to spend money on good to great services that can have a positive effect on your business, rather than spending money on some crappy SEO experts that may do more harm than good. And this makes you spend some little more to fix the damage.
Expensive but great, or cheap but harmful?
# COMMITMENT AND TIME
While many believe that SEO doesn’t need a ton of time to get the most out of it; this is, indeed, the opposite.
SEO activities (take note of the plurality) consist of many different steps that are coordinated and timed well. Every post that you make will have to undergo SEO. Startups and even older websites that were never optimized for search engines will take a hefty amount of time for optimization. Most CMS-based websites will have to install SEO-plugins, like Yoast’s for WordPress.
Aside from the time that SEO takes up, it is also worth noting that it takes some time before results show. It may take a few months before drops of results appear. Trickling drops of tiny results. However, don’t be discouraged as quality SEO activities will give complete results after around 6 to 8 months.
ROI, or return on investments, usually comes within a year after your SEO strategy. So be ready to set a budget for a minimum of two years. Between days and months, you will have to do audits, re-planning, and re-optimizations — and again, these require budget and time.
After clearing and understanding the 3 points above, it comes down to how you measure your success.
So, how do you measure the ROI of your SEO campaigns?
So far, many entrepreneurs only use SERP rankings as the ultimate measure of their success. But, don’t fall into this trap. Don’t be misled by the rankings you get, unless you only want to brag about being on the front page.
Although being on the front page of SERPs is a huge advantage, sales leads, conversion rates, repeat and loyal customers, and traffic are still the top priority, especially the repeat customers. Businesses thrive on making sales and leads, and this should be the ultimate measure on your SEO campaigns. Online tools like Google Analytics are well-equipped to help you determine how successful your SEO strategies do.
Now, your turn
Dig deeper into the key points above to help you with your SEO marketing campaigns. Remember, it is not easy — it takes analysis, time, commitment, money, and a handful of metrics to get a chance to succeed. Plan well and use ample amount of time before starting on your SEO.