Is SEO worth it in business? The honest truth 2021
Is SEO worth it for a business? Get the straight talking truth
- Is SEO worth it?
- Is SEO free?
- Is SEO dead?
Watch two of our SEO specialists, Katie and Hannah, talk through the nitty gritty answers.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the process of driving more quality traffic to your website with the aim of increasing organic leads or revenue. This process encompasses lots of different techniques, but it does involve off and on page changes to a website in order for it to appear higher in the SERP listings.
Who are we?
The Kaweb team celebrated the company’s 20th birthday in 2020. We’re proud to have a development team of over 15 highly skilled developers and another team of 7 digital marketing experts who’re passionate about bringing clients results!
For example, we worked with Budget Campervans, a client starting in 2019, on their SEO strategy. Over 6 months, we’d boosted their keyword rankings by 910 positions. That resulted in 418% increase of organic traffic, and a 250% increase in organic revenue. You can find out more about the case study here.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some of the most common questions that get asked in the SEO world. Click for the answers.
- How does SEO work?
- Does SEO work for small businesses?
- How long for backlinks to take effect?
- Why does SEO take so long?
- How do Google algorithms work?
- How do I know if my SEO is working?
- How long does it take for keywords to work on Google?
- Is SEO easy?
How does SEO work?
SEO involves multiple different processes that includes adding changes and different edits with the aim of getting Google to rank you higher in the SERP listings.
The general rule is: the higher you rank with Google, the more clickthroughs to your website you will get.
That means more traffic, which, if done correctly, will mean more organic revenue for your website.
So, how do you ‘optimise’? Trust us when we say there is an awful lot involved.
Here’s the very tip of the iceberg:
- Ensure your website has a correct sitemap setup – plus a Google & user-friendly navigation
- Avoid duped copy – find out why duplicate content is a no-go
- Fix all of the technical issues – that’s anything that’s broken and going to affect rankings or user experience
- Add the right keyword(s) to your pages – naturally, don’t keyword stuff, and do your keyword research
- Get your site running fast – don’t forget mobile, here’s why site speed matters
- Link to your other pages – it helps Google understand how your pages relate to each other
- Work on having a great DA to help you rank – learn how domain authority (DA) works
What is SEO? Get more info here, and learn why and how to implement it.
How long does SEO take to work?
Some companies say 4-6 months.
But it’s super important to take this with a large pinch of salt.
Firstly, this can hugely depend on your budget. As we’ve described above, the manual process of ‘doing SEO’ goes much further than this list.
If you decide to jump in, make a rough guess on your keywords and take a stab in the dark for a few hours one month, this won’t work.
Search engine optimisation requires time and commitment to:
- research the product or service in hand, properly.. so you can get in the mindset of a potential customer
- know your competitors, both big and small.. and especially the ones who are performing well in the SERPs, so you can target the space they take up in the listings
- find out what’s been done before on a given website… so you know what works (so you can trial it again, and adapt it), and what doesn’t (so you don’t waste your time, or money)
- understand how a website works.. to find out what the user journey is, whether it works, and if there are any changes to make it work better
- pinpoint the user’s intent when they get on priority pages… to buy straight away, to ask a question, or to land on reliable information?
- analyse the authority of a given domain compared to its competition… because lower DA can affect where you rank
In fact, giving up a strategy too early is often one of the most common reasons it doesn’t work, as explained by Search Engine Journal.
SEO is a longer term investment and it can take months for those results (be it revenue or leads) to start increasing.
But it’s far better to invest the time and build a successful long term strategy that gets results, than to rush, panic and throw the towel in after 2 months if it doesn’t work.
Having said that, Google is definitely getting quicker at reacting to new content being published live.
It used to be the case that new content would take months to start to rank. But there have been occasions where fresh copy has been written and optimised so well, so that Google notices it much quicker and ranks it highly. But this doesn’t mean you should expect your pages to suddenly get a boost if you make a tweak though.
Why does SEO take so long?
Because there’s a sheer amount of work involved is the simple answer. Depending on your budget, you’ll get ‘X’ amount of changes and tasks done each month. But it then depends on how well researched and strategic those edits were, how competitive your industry and keyword is, and how quickly Google re-indexes your affected page.
Does SEO work for small businesses?
Yes. Plenty of businesses are implementing SEO into their digital marketing strategies and moving up the SERPs. It does depend on your budget because it is such a long term game and SEO needs time. But organic search can often be a case of starting from scratch and building your visibility over time to reap the benefits later on.
How long for backlinks to take effect?
Roughly 10 weeks is the answer that lots of agencies can find. But this hugely depends on the quality of your backlink, how many backlinks you’ve gained in that timeframe, when Google notices it and the competition of that keyword.
For example, if you’re implementing blackhat SEO and suddenly get a high number of backlinks that Google classes as ‘spammy’, you might not see a reward necessarily. Or, if you’ve built a high value backlink from a site with a much higher DA, this is likely to have a better impact on your rankings than a backlink with a lower DA than your website.
Another factor is that Google might be slightly slow at getting round to reviewing your backlink profile again. If that’s the case, you might not see a change in your rankings for a while. It might take a few months.
The next factor to keep in mind is how competitive that keyword is that you’ve got the backlink for. For example, if you’ve gained a backlink for a highly competitive keyword, it might take longer to see an impact.
But if it’s got low competition, the backlink (with your target keyword in) to your page might cause you to see a rise in that keyword’s position quicker. You can monitor this really easily with a keyword ranking tool.
Whenever you’re building a backlink the whitehat SEO way or adding internal links, don’t make the mistake of not including the target keyword for the page you’re optimising for, otherwise Google won’t pick up the ranking signal and it won’t make a difference. Find out more about internal linking for SEO.
How do Google algorithms work?
Google has an algorithm which is a set of factors that it takes into account when it’s deciding where to rank any page on the internet for a particular keyword. Those factors are incredibly fluid, so they will change their levels of relevance and importance over time.
So when Google tweaks something, that means your rankings might see a change.
It’s thought that if you’re regularly (on a month by month basis) working on your website with the earlier list in mind, Google will reward your hard work. But this isn’t always the case because organic search changes so often and so quickly. Let’s not forget how quickly new content can enter the SERPs and shift existing listings or how a new competitor in the industry can do the same.
Information on Google core updates is easily accessible. It’s best to get as much information as you can, where possible, to allow you to prepare and run checks in advance. After the update has happened, check in on your rankings to see if there are tweaks you might need to make on any of your pages. That’s why regular keyword monitoring is so important.
How do I know if my SEO is working?
You’ll know SEO is working when your organic traffic or organic revenue has increased, and you can hold the work that’s been done prior to that accountable for those results.
You’ll need to measure these results using a reliable tool like Google Analytics. You can pinpoint results over a timeframe that works for you, be it monthly, every 3/6 months or yearly. Set it to Ecommerce or by the number of Goal Completions, and make sure you’re set to ‘Organic Traffic’ so you exclude any referral or paid traffic too.
How long does it take for keywords to work on Google?
3-6 months is a common answer in SEO. But this really depends on a few factors, including popularity and competitiveness of the industry.
If your plan includes targeting highly competitive keywords, don’t be surprised if this takes longer to rank for it. You might need to review your backlink profile if your competitors have a high DA, or assess your quantity and quality of internal links. But if you’re targeting easier keywords, it could be a much quicker turnaround in your rankings. In fact, some cases have been known to take less than that 2 month time period.
Is SEO easy?
There are some practices and processes in SEO that are easier than others. But it takes time and effort to do, and you should always allow extra breathing room. For example, the process of keyword research can be time consuming, and even more so if it’s a niche industry.
The whitehat way of the skyscraper approach (researching and finding great content and then revamping it to make your own better, more valuable version in attempt for a link) to try and build backlinks can take research time, and isn’t always successful.
The saying “you only get out what you put into it” is true when it comes to SEO. There are plenty of free or paid for courses for individuals to learn SEO. However, because organic search can constantly change and there is more to it than meets the eye rather than just being ‘about keywords’, it takes time and expertise.
A basic course in SEO is likely to teach some foundation knowledge of what on page and off page SEO relates to.
But practical good-practice SEO involves being able to conduct the right research at the right time, put together a suitable website plan to increase organic traffic, and know when and how to implement those changes. That’s something that can come much more with experience.