Data Science

How much should I invest in SEO

Post by
Steve Bambury

Search engine optimisation. You know you need it, but for many people, that’s where their knowledge begins and ends.

There are a lot of vagaries in SEO. Google and other search engines keep their algorithms a closely guarded secret, to ensure no one games the system. Working out the most effective strategies is a matter of using trial and error to gain a deep understanding of the field, which is why almost every organisation seeks professional help.

But while much of the confusion surrounding SEO can be handed over to your preferred digital agency, one question will remain: how much should I invest?

To find the answer, we must first look at the factors that will drive the decision.

How much can SEO increase traffic?

The overall goal of SEO, as with almost any business activity, is to increase your company’s bottom line. By investing in SEO you’ll move higher up the rankings, which will see you attracting more website visitors, who will ideally be converted into paying customers. But how much can you reasonably expect that traffic to increase?

This is one of the many ‘how long is a piece of string’ questions in SEO. In some cases traffic can increase exponentially. In others it may not move much at all. There are no guarantees, and in this way SEO could be seen as a calculated gamble.

But when done properly, SEO is no gamble. It isn’t even an expense. It’s an investment. This is a long-term play that offers continuous, cumulative gains over time. It’s not like paying for a Google Ad, where you stop appearing as soon as you stop spending. The best SEO will see you slowly rise up the rankings and maintain a high position over time, without needing to give a cent to Google.

How many hours does SEO take?

‘How long does this process take to play out?’ you reasonably ask. In a frustrating sign of things to come, the answer is again ‘it depends’.

How optimised is your current website? Does it run quickly and smoothly? Is it user-friendly? Does it feature content that has been created based on the things that your target market is currently Googling? How competitive is your market? What are your competitors doing within it? What is your current ranking?

If you can answer all of those questions accurately, we’re on our way to understanding how long the optimisation of your site will take.

On a broader level, SEO isn’t measured in hours, days or even weeks. You can instead expect to see the results of the process over the course of months.

How much does SEO cost per month?

If you think of SEO as a cost, it is destined to cost you. A lot of businesses underestimate the appropriate spend – many see the spam emails saying ‘get on the first page of Google for $99/month’ and feel as though that’s an appropriate price to pay. But when that promise turns out to be hollow, or you’re put on the first page for terms that will never result in conversions, you’re flushing that money down the drain.

If you think of SEO as an investment, it’s far more likely to pay dividends. You then don’t think in terms of spending $X per month, but rather enjoying a return of $X per month. And with almost all of your potential customers now using Google to find what you’re selling, this is arguably the most important investment a modern business can make.

The Growth Partners Digital Enablement Program (DEP) seeks to quantify your SEO investment. Using proprietary technologies like GrowthCast, we work to forecast future revenue streams, set expected ROI, and measure progress. This arms you with a far clearer view of both SEO investment and returns.

What is the ROI of SEO?

If you’re investing money, you’ll understandably want to know the prospective return. But in the murky world of SEO, where vagaries can surround algorithms and competitor activities, this can prove difficult for digital agencies, many of whom don’t project SEO ROI at all.

Unlike most providers, at Growth Partners we lean on the insights drawn from our DEP to give you a tangible idea of what to expect from your SEO investment. As a general rule, you can expect your returns to look like this: modest to begin with, but rising over time.

What is a good return on investment in SEO?

Most people have a simplistic and somewhat old school view of SEO returns, believing that a higher ranking is proof of a good investment. But that’s not quite true. The effectiveness of SEO shouldn’t be measured on how high up the rankings you get – it should be measured by the money that it earns you.

Rankings can be deceptive. You may well get to the number one spot on Google, but if it’s for a keyword that your target audience isn’t actually using, this result is meaningless.

As part of the Growth Partners DEP we conduct deep keyword research to ensure that you rank for the most meaningful queries, that you convert that ranking into website visitors, and that those visitors are converted into customers. A quality SEO partner like Growth Partners will also offer you a clear idea of expected ROI from the outset.

What other metrics should be considered when determining success?

Sales/conversions/leads are the most important metrics, and keyword rankings are the most obvious, but what else should you be tracking within SEO? There are a number of other KPIs that can indicate your efforts are paying dividends, and help to light the path to SEO success.

  • Organic sessions: Website visits from search engines that are earned, not paid for.
  • Bounce rate: If a large number of visitors leave your site without interacting with it, it may be a sign that you’re targeting the wrong keywords.
  • Exit pages: What was the last page a visitor was on before they exited your site? Look for trends and improve or remove offending pages.
  • Pages/time per session: The larger the number, the better your site.
  • Load time: Site performance is a key measure that Google uses to rank results.
  • Crawl errors: Web crawlers are tasked with collecting and indexing your site’s data. You need to ensure they can do that efficiently and effectively.

Does SEO increase sales?

When considering investing in what is an often vague, complex and difficult to understand world, one question matters more than the rest to business owners: does SEO increase sales?

The answer is yes, when done well, SEO does increase sales. But ‘when done well’ is an incredibly important condition to enforce. You should be wary of digital agencies who promise the world, either in terms of ROI or the speed of results. Your chosen SEO partner should offer a clear plan of attack, based on the analysis of hard data, and be able to back up every claim they make.

At Growth Partners we have built a reputation of doing just that, a task made far easier thanks to the innovative technology utilised within our DEP.

What have we seen from our clients?

Why talk about ourselves when others can do that for us?

Growth Partners constantly looked for the next opportunity to improve our organic rankings across a range of verticals, often finding small, undiscovered issues & opportunities that made a significant impact. - Mark Dawson, Senior Manager of SEM/SEO at Qantas

The advice provided confirmed and or added value to our continuity plans. The team were empathetic, professional and genuinely wanted us to succeed. Highly recommended. - Zeprina Fale at PolyX

You enlightened us to a new way of looking at our business, and provided us with new skills with which to advance its development. – Kiwi Simulators

At Growth Partners we bring unique technology and deep expertise to the field of SEO, using it to drive better online results for a long list of New Zealand and Australian businesses. If you’re ready to make the most of the opportunities presented by Google, we’re ready to help. Click here to book a 15-minute consultation with Growth Partners Director Steve Bambury today.


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