Is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) valuable for your business in 2022?
This is a question many Australian business owners have been entertaining as we get into the swing of 2022. This is especially the case for business owners for whom marketing budget efficiency is a key priority.
According to Semrush, the exact phrase “is SEO a waste of money?” is googled a hundred times a month, with 20 per cent of the volume coming from Australia.
While some may be suspicious of the SEO industry as a whole, either due to prior unpleasant experiences or from hearsay, it is still worth considering the kinds of tangible benefits that search engine optimisation might bring to your business.
Let’s consider first the logic behind SEO and the reasons behind its popularity. Simply put, online search is still the primary way that people interact with the web. In fact, 68% of online experiences begin with a Google search, surpassing all digital channels combined. Millions of these search queries will then find their way to convert into online purchases. This is a simple way to consider the importance of optimising a website’s Google ranking.
Immediate sales and conversions are important measures of SEO success, but there are other important metrics to consider. Raising traffic volume to your site slowly but surely raises your site’s visibility for long-term success. The importance of a site’s longevity is evidenced by the fact that:
- 60% of all high-ranking websites that are seen on the first page of Google are at least 3 years old.
- The top site among these Google results then takes around 32% of all clicks.
- Finally, 49% of marketers claim that SEO has the highest return on investment of any marketing channel, perhaps validating the value of competing to the top.
Each business adopts a strategy to outplay its competition. In the world of SEO, it is about generating greater traffic through market analysis, branding, keyword research, content creation, digital PR campaigns and technical optimisation.
In other words, you need a tailored SEO strategy that works for your business. SEO can indeed be a waste of money. It will do no good for your business if it is executed poorly. In fact, an ineffective optimisation attempt may even drive traffic and leads away from your site to that of others. It’s a harsh truth that marketing agencies must be aware of.
This means that the clear benefits of SEO can only be attained by an effective and well-executed SEO strategy. This might make you wonder, how do you source the best talent for your SEO? You may be able to glean something from customer satisfaction reviews, but the value of any particular agency will only be truly known by engaging them and seeing the results for your own particular business.
Where does your business rank on Google? If you haven’t tried it yourself, go on Google and search for one of the products or services your company provides right now. The race to the top may seem daunting, but the payoff can be priceless.
Choosing your best SEO option
If you are now convinced that SEO offers value to your business in 2022, the following breakdown of the three major options at your helm can assist you to determine the next step for beginning or improving your SEO strategy. Consider the pros and cons of each model to see which is most suitable for your business.
This acronymous title aptly reveals the mix of simplicity and complexity in attempting to conduct an SEO strategy all by yourself. However, budget constraints and a frugal attitude may make this the best option for you. It also happens to be the best option for those who have never desired for their business to be more than a one-man show, or a one-woman show for that matter.
|No upfront cost||Opportunity cost||Solopreneurs|
|Complete control||Stifled growth potential|
Pros: The idea of being in charge of your SEO may be appealing to some people thanks to these benefits:
- No Upfront Cost
Handling your SEO is a cost-saving opportunity, especially at the first stages of your business. Not much more to add here except to advise that you consider all the points that follow.
- Complete Control
The ability to do it all yourself means that you have complete control over the SEO strategy. You can directly apply your vision and have nobody counter your ideas.
- Instant Flexibility
Being the person in charge of SEO enables you to tweak and redesign your strategies at any point in time. As you are the person in charge and the person who executes, you can always adapt your strategy without having to make a call.
Cons: Consider the following problems that come with DIY SEO:
- Opportunity Cost
It’s for you to decide what value your time brings to your business. Committing your own time to understand the ins and outs of SEO and actually implementing what you have learnt bears with it a level of commitment that may also represent a huge opportunity cost for you and your business.
- Stifled Growth Potential
You would need to spend many hours researching just to understand the basics of SEO. Moreover, even the best SEO articles and case studies cannot replace the value that comes from experience. Unless you’re actually an SEO expert who happens to be running a business, conducting your own SEO means limiting your online growth potential.
- Little Accountability
We all have blind spots. Conducting your own SEO strategy may lead to gaping holes that everybody but you can see. If you are still keen on doing it all yourself, Digital Treasury provides a detailed tutorial on how to go about optimising your online presence in Australia without the help of any professional specialist.
Work with an SEO partner
Working with an SEO partner means that you have the presence of an expert, someone who can reduce uncertainty and also assist you in weighing up the risks inherent in any strategy.
|Expertise in SEO||Limited understanding of your product||Partnering with an agency is suited to most businesses|
|Efficiency||Lack of visibility|
|Many options||Limited flexibility|
Pros: Here are the benefits of outsourcing your SEO needs:
With an agency, you can find yourself an expert team that has both the knowledge and experience to design and deliver the appropriate strategy for your business. You wouldn’t have to spend too much of your own valuable time researching the strategies, nor would you have to worry about updating yourself on new methods.
SEO agencies are designed to be efficient in generating leads and driving sales for their clients. As we mentioned, SEO is not a quick fix solution. An experienced agency will help your business establish a long-term advantage over your competition, but you may also see immediate results.
- Options Galore
Variability in cost exists due to the level of experience and manpower that each agency can provide. There are more than 35 000 SEO agencies in the world, which means you have options.
Cons: Despite the benefits of SEO agencies, it remains an option with multiple risks.
- Limited Understanding of Your Product and Business
It must be conceded that SEO agencies may have a limited understanding of your business. Being outside your team implies separation from the organisation and a certain disconnect from your business’ vision.
- Lack of Visibility
The more successful the agency, the more clients they serve. In other words, choosing the most visible agency may mean you compete with all their other clients for the agency’s service. Indeed, you may not be their highest priority, and in the worst-case scenario, you may end up with a cookie-cutter solution that does little to help your business stand out in the sea of online competitors.
- Limited Flexibility
Working with an agency generally means leaving an important aspect of your business in the hands of the agency. You don’t have many options when it comes to work orders because agencies typically take on all SEO obligations at once. Indeed, that is what you’re paying them for, but it also means you have limited manoeuvrability when you wish to exercise a strategy according to your own liking.
These are some of the factors that should be considered when deciding upon engaging an SEO agency. A competent agency can play a pivotal role in establishing positive momentum early on, which, in turn, would give your business the potential to benefit from compounding growth over time with continued optimisation.
The final option you have when it comes to SEO is to hire an expert or a team of experts.
|Aligned long-term incentives||Slow adjustment time||Enterprise companies|
|Team Synergy||Potentially higher costs|
|High level of Control||HR difficulties|
Pros: Having a person or a team of SEO specialists may give you the advantage that puts your business head and shoulders above your competitors.
- Aligned Long-term Incentives
A full-time employee has skin in the game. He or she is visibly responsible for the company’s success or failure. The same applies to a dedicated SEO team. Furthermore, an in-house SEO typically understands the business product and vision better than an agency. This could be the difference between a hugely successful SEO strategy and a mediocre one.
- Team Synergy
An SEO team that regularly works and meets with other departments means that your product and marketing goals will be better integrated. The vision of your enterprise will become more transparent to all your employees. Ultimately, this may lead to a more productive and effective work environment that provides added benefits to your business beyond SEO.
- High Level of Control
While you won’t be in total control over the SEO strategies, having an SEO team lets you oversee the whole operation and approve or reject different strategies without having to negotiate your vision.
Cons: Despite the advantages of having an in-house SEO team, it remains an option with various risks involved. Hiring can be a complex process and has its pitfalls.
- Slow Adjustment Time
Even when you hire a well-versed SEO specialist, it is still going to take them time to get accustomed to your business, your vision, and your work environment. On the other hand, an agency can hit the road running, although it may be the wrong way.
- Salaries and Extra Costs
Having your own SEO team can be financially burdensome. There’s the variability of course, but we’re talking an outlay of hundreds of thousands of dollars for a substantial team. Needless to say, beyond the salaries, you are also covering various leave payments and bonuses. Again, you have to do the cost-benefit analysis. Hiring an SEO team might not make sense for a new business. Indeed, it could even hinder the company’s growth potential early on.
- Barriers to Finding the Right Personnel
As with all things HR, it’s not easy to find the best candidate for your business. It may take months to land your dream SEO specialist. By then, you may have walked down the wrong path for a significant period. Finding a team of SEO specialists requires a competent HR department which may be beyond your business budget.
Hiring a well-seasoned specialist or building a team to handle your SEO can be expensive, but also definitive in accelerating your business growth to new highs. We would recommend considering your options and getting some experience working with SEO specialists in agencies so you know what you’re looking for when you hire someone.
The value of SEO for your business in 2022 can only be determined by your action regarding the above choices. Choosing the right option requires a deep understanding of their benefits and risks according to your business and product. We’ve outlined some of these for you to consider, but we’d also like to remind you that 2022 is well underway. Whether you opt for doing it on your own, outsourcing to an agency or hiring a team, the important thing is to know that you are on your way to finding a strategy that works wonders for your business.