SEO: You’ve heard about it. You know what it is (search engine optimization), at least on some level. And you’ve probably been advised at some point to pursue it as a marketing strategy. But for some reason, you haven’t yet pulled the trigger.
Related: Companies Will Spend $65 Billion on SEO in 2016, Much of it Will Be Wasted
Maybe you aren’t sure about SEO's effectiveness, or perhaps you think there'll be a better time to get started with it. But it’s likely that you’re either procrastinating or have just written it off altogether.
I’m here to tell you that you need to start investing in an SEO campaign, and right away. I’m more than a little biased, having been an active member of the SEO community for the last 10 years. But if you can't take my advice at face value, at least take these five important considerations into account:
1. The ROI takes time to manifest.
When executed effectively, SEO is a popular strategy: In a recent survey I conducted, of 357 online marketers, 94 percent of respondentssaid they planned to increase their SEO budgets or keep them the same. However, it takes some up-front costs to get going, and thethousands of dollars a month most professional agencies charge may seem intimidating.
But don’t let these “expenses” fool you. Instead, consider the benefits you’ll get from SEO, from search traffic, to referral traffic, to increased brand visibility and reputation -- and then consider the fact that all of these values multiply over time (a principle I’ll get into in a moment).
The longer you invest in SEO, the higher returns you'll see, and those higher returns will translate into direct revenue for your business. The only hiccup here is that your execution has to be effective -- which demands experience and knowledge.
2. We’re in a ‘golden age’ of SEO.
Some people might consider the “golden age” of SEO to be the era before the Panda and Penguin algorithms launched -- when "black hat" tactics and strategies bordering on manipulation were still possible and quite effective.
Honestly, though, I love what the modern SEO era has to offer: tons ofpotential search visibility, approachability and the elimination of dirty techniques that competitors might have used in the past to displace you. Search engines are only going to get more effective at evaluating things like content quality and user experience. But potential search visibility may also soon start to experience a decline, as immediate answers and digital assistants move in on traditional search engine territory. Getting involved now gives you tons of resources and tons of potential -- so don’t miss out.
Related: Decoding SEO: Understand What Your Consultant is Telling You
3. Compounding returns means higher eventual ROI than other tactics.
I alluded to this earlier, but keep in mind that SEO offers compounding returns over time. Why? Because every piece of content you create, every link you build and every action you take is permanent. Your domain authority and search visibility will continue to increase, your social followings will grow and you’ll continue reaping more referral traffic and conversions the longer your content strategy goes on.
Additionally, you’ll eventually develop enough of a a reputation that you'll earn certain benefits as a result (like inbound links and mentions) just by having one. Because this compound interest growth escalates over time, the sooner you start, the more you stand to reap.
4. Your competitors are pulling away.
There’s a significant opportunity cost in waiting to get involved in SEO, especially if your competitors are already pursuing an SEO strategy. They’re doing two things of special importance: First, they’re cementing their ranking positions on highly lucrative keywords; so, the longer you wait, the more time they have to build defenses for their position.
Second, they’re targeting new keywords and establishing that territory. The longer you wait, therefore, the more of these new keyword opportunities you’ll miss out on. Getting involved sooner opens you up to more potential opportunities for visibility before they’re captured by your competitors.
5. You can’t go wrong, even if you just dip your toes in.
Finally, there's no reason to be intimidated here. Some SEO agencies may attempt to contract with you for six months, or a year or longer, because seeing results takes time. However, you’ll have other options. For instance, I don’t require any time commitments from my clients, and you can always increase or decrease your investment according to your comfort level. With SEO, your options are limitless, and it’s pretty much impossible to paint yourself into a corner.
The point is that if you’re going to do SEO, the sooner you start, the better. You’ll get to a positive ROI faster, you’ll earn more money over the long haul, you’ll claim opportunities as they come up and you’ll prevent your competition from beating you to the punch.
Related: SEO Is Now 'Search Experience Optimization'
The longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be to break into the game, and you’ll stand to lose a lot if you put off SEO indefinitely.