Search engine optimization involves improving web pages to rank high on the SERP. SEO is critical as consumers turn to the internet before purchasing anything. Many businesses miss out on the benefits of professional SEO when they optimize their websites.
Long ago, SEO focused on keywords alone to rank a website. Google updated its search engine to consider more than just keywords in 2013. Now, SEO involves backlinking, user experience, and optimizing on-page elements. The marketing strategy demands an expert to keep up with the competition.
This article will detail why paying for SEO services is a strategic investment. We will also outline the cost of SEO to help you budget if you choose to hire an expert.
How much does SEO cost?
Before we answer the question, “Why should I pay for SEO,” you must know the associated costs. Budgeting for digital marketing is a critical factor in a company’s success. To emphasize the significance of SEO, the Business Research Company estimates the SEO industry will be worth $86 billion in 2023.
The SEO service market is segmented into agencies and freelancers. Businesses retaining an SEO expert monthly will pay between $500 to $1,500. An hourly expert will cost between $75 to $100. To use an expert’s services once, you will pay $2,501 to $5,000 per project. Agencies charge more than freelancers on average. These costs are based on a study by Ahrefs.
Why should I pay for SEO?
SEO’s benefits are significant to a company’s marketing. An SEO strategy means a company enjoys the following perks.
- Increased visibility.
- Targeted traffic.
- Long-term results.
- An increased brand authority.
- An enhanced user experience.
- A boost in PPC campaigns.
1. Increased organic visibility
Search engine optimization aims to rank your website higher on the SERP. SEO convinces search engines and your audience that you’re a relevant solution. How does this work?
SEO specialists will include relevant keywords in your content. Doing so shows web crawlers that your website answers search queries. They will also optimize on-page elements such as header tags and meta descriptions. This optimization makes it easier for search engines to index your website.
The top three Google search results get 54.4% of all organic traffic and paid SEO makes your website one of them.
2. Targeted traffic
Targeted traffic includes visitors with a goal in mind. They are more willing to convert to customers. General traffic has users who browse the web without intent. For example, someone searching for “black electric blankets” is ready to buy from your textile brand.
SEO optimizes websites with a target audience in mind. An SEO specialist will optimize your web pages to make them relevant to specific demographics. You get to enjoy more qualified leads and increased sales.
Did you know that 88% of people visited a store within a week of doing a local search? SEO ensures you get online and in-store traffic by appealing to the demographic your brand serves. An SEO specialist will make your content appealing and persuade people to check out your physical store.
3. Long-term results
SEO benefits your web pages long after you publish content. While it may take time to see significant outcomes, your organic traffic grows once you establish an online presence. Unlike PPC, where visibility ends when you stop paying, SEO is long-lasting.
A specialist monitors website metrics and makes changes as needed. Once you achieve higher rankings, it becomes harder for competitors to surpass you. Paid SEO gives you sustainable visibility in the long run.
4. Cost-effective marketing
SEO is an investment whose ongoing costs are lower than other marketing strategies. Once your website is optimized and ranks well, you can generate organic traffic without spending on advertising.
PPC marketing costs you money for every click. With time, paid advertising proves to be an expensive alternative to SEO. SEO is perfect for brands with limited budgets seeking long-term results and organic traffic.
5. Increased brand authority
Brand authority is the extent to which customers and search engines consider you an expert in your industry. Paid SEO has a significant contribution to building your brand’s image. Here’s how.
- A higher SERP ranking shows that your brand is reputable and trustworthy. Users often prefer top-ranking websites and think they provide more credible information.
- SEO creates valuable and relevant content that answers specific search queries. By delivering high-quality content, readers think of you as an expert in your industry. Your audience trusts you to provide authoritative information.
- When other trusted websites link to your content, it acts as a vote of confidence and validation for your brand. Backlinking shows search engines that industry experts and trustworthy sources recognize your brand’s expertise.
- An SEO specialist can optimize websites to influence online reviews and ratings. Positive reviews contribute to your brand’s credibility by showcasing customer satisfaction. 76% of people read business testimonials. They are more willing to trust a brand with a positive reputation.
- Continuously optimizing your website and creating valuable content demonstrates your brand’s commitment to delivering quality information. An SEO expert will update old content and fix broken links to ensure web crawlers index your pages. With time, search engines will consider your website as an industry authority.
6. Enhanced user experience
At its core, SEO aims to improve user experience (UX). A good UX improves traffic, engagement, and ranking. These metrics inform search engines that you are a relevant solution to search queries.
There are many aspects of user experience tied into SEO. Let’s look at some of them.
Page speed optimization
A slow-loading website frustrates visitors and increases bounce rates. 32% of people will bounce from your website if the load time increases from 1 to 3 seconds. A fast-loading webpage improves user satisfaction, encourages extended visits, and reduces bounce rates.
A web page’s weight is responsible for its load time. Use Google PageSpeed to learn your website’s load time. To hit the right speed, keep your website under 500KB. How do you achieve this?
Optimize your images because pictures and videos are the biggest culprits behind slow load speeds. Choose an appropriate format and compress it using these compression tools. The image types to choose from are JPEG, PNG, and SVG.
In April 2023, 54.7% of internet traffic came from mobile phones. Your audience makes up this percentage. Optimizing your website for mobile users is an excellent way to drive up your organic traffic.
We have the answer if you’re wondering how to make your site mobile-friendly. Use responsive web design elements. Responsive design allows text, images, and videos to rescale to fit phone screens.
User-friendly website structure
A cluttered web structure repels users and ensures they never return. SEO ensures your website is pleasant to scroll through, thus increasing your click-through rate (CTR). CTR is a vital metric that influences ranking.
Here are some elements that improve your website’s structure.
A user-friendly web structure has a straightforward and intuitive navigation menu allowing visitors to find information fast.
From an SEO perspective, straightforward navigation helps search engine crawlers understand the hierarchy and organization of your website. This makes it easier for them to index and rank your pages.
A user-friendly web structure involves organizing your website’s content in a logical hierarchy. You can use header tags to format headings and sub-headings throughout your website. They appear as H1, H2, H3, and so on. They make your website easy for web crawlers and humans to scan.
Internal linking is a crucial aspect of a user-friendly web structure. Linking relevant pages within your website provides additional information and pathways for your audience to explore.
From an SEO perspective, internal linking helps search engines discover and index more of your website’s pages, thus establishing information hierarchy and distributing link authority across your site.
A user-friendly website is accessible and provides an inclusive experience for everyone. Accessibility focuses on people with physical and cognitive limitations on your website. Check out these tips to get started from the Web Accessibility Initiative.
Enhanced website security
One of SEO’s principles is improved web security. This principle maintains your audience’s privacy and prevents hackers from accessing sensitive information. Google search crawlers prioritize secure websites and rank them higher.
How does SEO improve website security?
Implementing an SSL certificate
This SSL certificate establishes a secure encrypted connection between the website and its visitors. This encryption ensures that sensitive information, such as login credentials or personal data, is transmitted securely.
Regular website maintenance
SEO practices involve regular website updates, content updates, fixing broken links, and resolving technical issues. Keeping your website updated reduces the risk of security vulnerabilities from outdated software or plugins.
Relevant and valuable content
Relevant content plays a critical role in enhancing the overall user experience. Audiences appreciate original information that provides new insights. It’s even better when research backs up your content.
Search engines also prioritize relevant information that answers search queries. In addition to new content, an SEO specialist also updates old content. New and updated content keeps readers and crawlers longer on your page, thus making you rank higher.
7. Boosts PPC campaigns
While SEO takes time to gain momentum, you can use PPC to drive immediate traffic and fill the gap until your organic rankings improve. This combination can provide a balanced approach and maximize your ROI.
PPC relies on keyword research since you bid to appear on the SERP of specific words. SEO optimizes content around a keyword, ensuring your website provides relevant information to an audience.
How to find an SEO specialist
These benefits require a skilled expert to achieve. The SEO specialist you hire can make or break your marketing efforts. That’s why we highlighted six steps to find the right one.
1. Identify your goals
Are you seeking an overall SEO strategy, on-page optimization, link building, content creation, or technical SEO? Understanding your needs will help you find an SEO expert with the right expertise.
You should also determine whether you want to increase conversions or attract traffic to your website. Each objective influences the expert you will choose and the target they will work towards.
2. Determine your marketing budget
Budgets guide every business decision, including the SEO expert to hire. Allocate a certain amount of finances and resources to hiring, paying, and rewarding an expert. Some specialists cost more but yield better results, while others are affordable, but their effects are gradual.
3. Seek referrals
Ask for recommendations from colleagues or industry professionals with experience working with SEO specialists. Referrals from trusted sources can help you find reputable SEO professionals with a proven track record.
4. Research online
Use search engines and online directories to find SEO specialists in your area or globally. Look for experts or agencies with positive reviews and a solid online presence. To determine their expertise, you should also examine their websites, portfolios, and content quality.
5. Interview potential candidates
Avoid picking the first expert you see. A lot more goes into working with an expert than just their experience. Shortlist a few possible SEO specialists and schedule interviews. During these conversations, ask about their SEO strategies and how they plan to address your needs. Discuss their communication style and how they measure success.
6. Request an audit
As a preliminary exercise, request an SEO audit to gauge their approach to optimizing a website. Afterward, request a proposal outlining their services, including pricing, timelines, and deliverables. Review the proposition to ensure it aligns with your goals and budget.
Paid SEO benefits businesses looking to improve their visibility and attract organic traffic. SEO professionals use their expertise to position your business for long-term success. Additionally, SEO is a cost-effective marketing plan that maximizes your ROI. This strategy also boosts your paid advertising campaign to ensure rapid traffic growth.
The cost breakdown in this article will help you budget your resources, whether you’re a small brand or a large corporation.