In the same way you don’t need to be a plumber to know when your washing machine is overflowing, you don’t need to be a web expert to know when your website isn’t performing well in the search engine results. Luckily, a poor performing website won’t leave you with a flooded kitchen, but it could waste your web design investment and a valuable opportunity to generate constant leads.
There are tonnes of signs that it’s time to invest in SEO but these may be hard to acknowledge as you’re too busy running your business, so here are 7 signs that indicate the time is right to start investing in SEO.
Your qualified leads are close to zero
Is there anything more disheartening as a business owner? You put your finances in a brand new website, thinking it will revolutionise the sales process, only to see your sales team bored with a lack of leads...
There could be two issues here that SEO could help with;
1) Your simply not driving enough people to your website to fill up your inbox or make your phone ring with leads. An average conversion rate is around 5%, so if you want the phone to ring just once every 15 mins you need over 600 people visiting your site every day.
2) If your site stats show a considerable amount of traffic, it means people are not getting what they expected after visiting your website, i.e. there has been a disconnection between what was advertised and what was eventually delivered. A situation like this is where a combination of SEO and PPC can really help you: by creating a campaign using varied keywords via PPC, you can pinpoint and monitor the terms that generate the most leads (i.e the best converting keywords). With this information you, or your SEO provider, can optimise your website with the most relevant and effective keywords.
Google suddenly stopped ranking you
If you have read recently about any of the high-profile declines on Google, you now know it could happen to anyone who has been utilising questionable SEO tactics. These tactics are usually used by SEO agencies at the lower end of the market, where you have taken a punt on SEO, rather than making a real investment. The impact can be devastating, all the more so when you might not know the cause. These ranking drops are common after algorithm updates, such as Panda or Penguin. Some sites suddenly lose their position or are banned after receiving a penalty from Google.
Link-building schemes, spammy keywords, scraped content and hidden text are just some of the many negative practices that will send your website to the back of the line, and your customers landing into the nest of competitors. So if this has happened to you, consider investing in some quality SEO.
Your PPC spending is getting harder to control
Many people like to pit PPC and SEO against each other, but it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. In fact, they are meant to complement one another other. The knack is knowing when to use which.
Firstly, a distinction: while SEO can be seen as boosting a site’s position in the search engines organically, PPC is the equivalent of pushing straight to the front of the queue. You pay to position your ad on the 1st page of the search engine for certain terms. Every time somebody clicks on that ad and is directed to your website, you pay a fee. This is not a sustainable solution for a lot of business owners, think of the analogy; SEO is like buying whereas PPC is like renting - over time buying will give you a better ROI.
Even though PPC can offer instant gratification, it’s an expensive solution and becomes even more costly if keywords are competitive or the ads are generating an over-abundance of unqualified leads. Basically, SEO is a long-term strategy. You won’t receive instant results, (even if someone says you will) but when you invest in SEO you are investing in the most valuable lead-generation and marketing tool: your website. It works constantly, and its SEO strength can be carried on through repeated website redesigns.
Your site isn’t ranking for your brand
Despite what you might hear, ranking well for your own brand name isn’t a sure thing in the complex world of search engines. There is however, a logical explanation for this one. For a start, your brand name might strike a too similar resemblance to other popular search names or terms. If Google can’t separate your company from more established companies (even if it offers a completely different product to an entirely different market, you’re already working to a disadvantage).
You could attempt to win the popularity contest, but that’s usually only worth investing in if that gap is marginal. A multi-faceted approach will aid you in building your brand and your page authority. This is a key metric for search engines and will see your site rank higher for searches implementing your company name.
Ranking for your own brand name is a minimum and if you are not doing that then SEO help is a must.
Your competitors are also doing it
You are very fortunate if you occupy the only market without competitors. For anyone else, competition goes with the territory and to be frank, it’s as good a reason to invest in SEO. While we would normally say don't do something just because your competitors are doing it, after all you have no idea if it is working for them, SEO is an exception. Being the last person in your industry to invest in SEO makes life very difficult. Making up ground takes a lot of time - it's like giving someone a 10m head start in a 100m spirit, you have got to work so much harder to get level before you even start racing with them.
As extensive studies show, the very first page in a search engine means absolutely everything. Up to a staggering 92% of traffic comes from listings on the 1st page in average searches.
Nobody can find your business in Google Maps
Now, people search for and find information in an incredible variety of diverse ways. A jump towards more localised search in Google has significantly improved opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses to get recognised.
As Google grabs location data from various sources, it is possible for your company to appear to people searching for a solution in your area. For companies with a local offering these searchers could be easy to convert customers.
So to wrap up, savvy businesses never invest in anything that can’t be measured, thankfully SEO can be tracked back to the penny giving you an exact ROI. Hard numbers and key metrics are there to provide you with an accurate picture of ROI and show you exactly why SEO is a worthwhile investment for your business. Before you can see this ROI you need to take the first step and invest.
The harsh but sensible reality is that SEO is a hard slog, and it’s designed to be a long-term strategy, not a short-term solution. If you're asking the question "When should I invest in SEO?" and are wanting to grow your business over the next 6, 12 or 24 months then now really is the time to take investment in SEO seriously.
Make sure you get your 10m headstart in the 100m race- download our Competitor Comparison tool for FREE today: