When it comes to your health you have two options – in the UK, at least. You can rely on the National Health Service and hope that the free resources of your local doctor will keep you healthy, or you can pay to go private. Either way, you need to know someone is looking out for your health. Generally, if you pay, you get a better quality of care, you are more likely to use the services of the medical profession and you will get access to better specialists.
Search engine optimisation is a bit like that. If you think of SEO as a doctor, rather than as a sales person, you start to realise it brings benefits that are often unrealised.
SEO doesn’t come in a box
There is a common misconception among marketing managers that SEO is all about lead generation. “I pay you X, I need to see X in return.” This thinking is short-sighted. Some clients believe that SEO companies are simply agents for Google – client pays the SEO company, who then pays Google for rankings.
Search engine optimisation is not something that can be delivered in a box, or created in isolation. If so, you can bet that Amazon would be all over it.
You can’t call the doctor and tell them you are ill and expect them to fix you over the phone. Neither can your doctor send you happy thoughts each day in the hope that you will stay in peak physical condition. He needs to work with you, to keep an eye on your vitals and to help you look after yourself.
Gardens need tending, or they wither
Let’s think of another analogy – is it possible to leave a garden unattended? Can you throw down some seeds and then just wait to see what happens, enjoying the result of your action for years to come?
Weeds grow, bugs infest and plants become unruly and entangled until, instead of a horticultural heaven, you end up with a tangle of overgrown confusion. If a public park is untended, it will become an eyesore and people will stop using it.
Think of SEO like the doctor who keeps you healthy or the ground keeper who keeps you weed free and tidy.
The long term benefits of SEO
SEO does bring short term benefits – the kind that allow marketing managers to measure SEO. For example, if you pay £3,000 per month* to a search engine optimisation company over a period of six months, you can measure the traffic to your website and how many leads or sales this traffic generates.
That kind of ROI is absolutely valid, but if it is the only measure by which you judge the value of SEO, you are missing some vital elements in the health of your website.
The graph above shows the organic search traffic for a website where Vertical Leap performed SEO for 12 months. The orange graph is the year prior to our work starting, the blue is the graph over the year of our activity. This was a 51% increase.
In the year after we stopped working on the site, you can see further gains happening, even without much else being done on the site.
At the end of the second year, organic search traffic was 172% higher than the year before we worked on the site.
Other SEO benefits that last
- Keeping an eye on your site quality, eliminating errors like broken links, dead pages or speed issues, can make a general difference to the way search engines rank the site.
Read: Five things you can test on your own website
- Some people believe SEO is something you do once, when you build a site. Also, you can’t perfectly optimise a site – the strive for perfection and ultimate traffic is never ending. The game is changing all the time and you need to change with it.
Read: Perfect SEO is an oxymoron
- Making basic and obvious improvements to your website could bring amazing improvements to your visibility in search results.
Read: How to improve your website in one hour
*£3,000 is below the average range paid by companies with a £10m turnover, according to data compiled for our Search Marketing Budget Estimator.