Is SEO an Investment or an Expense?

Is SEO an Investment or an Expense?

It depends on how you choose to see it!

This question still haunts businesses and sparks debate to this day.

Some view SEO as a long-term investment in their digital success, while others see it as an expense that weighs on their shoulders and budgets.

However, in reality, SEO is what you choose to see or not see.

If You Choose to See It as an Investment

Think of SEO as your garden. The more seeds you plant, the more flowers will bloom.

  • Seeds

The seeds are your initial efforts.

Think of them as audience research, keyword research, quality content, and optimised website structure.

  • Planting

Planting is implementing SEO strategies after thorough research and planning.

Some examples include optimising meta tags, acquiring quality and trustworthy backlinks and mobile optimisation.

  • Blooming Flowers

The results may not come after a day or two, but they will be there in time and with patience.

This translates into increased organic traffic, higher rankings and better visibility. All leading to higher conversion rates.

Why Should You Invest in SEO?

  • Quality Traffic

SEO done right will bring in quality organic traffic. This means that if you attract the right audience, your chances of dealing with low conversion and high bouncing rates will be low.

When you invest in SEO, you have higher chances of knowing your target audience, their behaviour, preferences and what is relevant for them.

Knowing your audience will help you adjust your strategies and use relevant keywords to help them discover your products/services.

  • User Experience

Also, SEO involves optimising your website, content, and design for user experience. The more intuitive and faster your website is, the more users will enjoy their experience.

  • Digital Presence

SEO helps you build brand awareness.

Building brand awareness means that potential customers know about your existence, values, mission, and expertise while also knowing that users will not instantly buy from you.

Instead, investing in your digital presence is more about putting your business out there for people to know about and return when they are ready and need your services.

If You Choose to See It as an Expense

People who see SEO as an expense are more likely to be uneducated on what it is and how it works.

Also, there are some common misconception about SEO:

  • SEO is a one-time strategy

Once completed, SEO will continue to provide results forever. No!

In reality, SEO is a continuous effort and investment in people, tools, and content:

People: Building teams or hiring professionals to create and oversee your SEO strategies.

Tools: Using the appropriate tools to monitor metrics and improve strategies.

Content: Creating relevant and high-quality content to build trust and demonstrate expertise.

  • Keyword stuffing is effective.


Keyword stuffing will do more harm than good, as search engines are great at understanding content and its relevancy to the keywords you’re trying to rank for.

Your content will look spammy and unnatural.

Our advice: focus on creating high-quality content from unique perspectives and personal experiences and research that.

  • SEO will cause immediate results.

Wrong again!

Some people expect immediate results from their SEO strategies. As we already said, SEO is a long-term effort that takes time.

Why Does SEO Take Time?

It can take a few weeks to months to see improvements in rankings and organic traffic simply for a few reasons:

  • Indexing: search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) are constantly crawling web pages to update their search results. This process takes time, especially for competitive topics, industries, keywords, and constant content updates from other websites.
  • Competition: some industries are more competitive than others. For those highly competitive industries, ranking improvement will take time as the crawlers have more pages to scan and rank.
  • Algorithm Updates: Quality and relevance are top priorities for all existing search engines. It’s only natural that updates are frequent. As a result of these updates, your SEO strategies may need adjustments to be on the same page and respect the latest changes. Meaning that SEO is a continuous effort.
  • Low Domain Authority. Domain Authority is a ranking factor. Some websites are not putting enough effort into their authority. As a result, their other efforts are overlooked by search engines, losing rankings and traffic.

What is The ROI of SEO

The ROI (return on investment) of SEO measures the earnings your SEO strategies have generated for your business compared to their cost.
This measurement helps put your efforts into perspective and adjust them accordingly.

How to Measure ROI of SEO

To measure your SEO ROI, follow these steps:

  • Calculate your SEO investment

For this step, you’ll add up the salaries of your employees who work on SEO and the cost of the tools you’re using. Additionally, if you work with a marketing agency, you’ll add their compensation to this formula.

  • Set up conversion tracking

After adding up your SEO budget, use Google Analytics to set up and track conversions generated from organic search traffic.

  • Calculate your SEO ROI

Once you’ve got your numbers, you can start calculating.

Use this formula to determine your ROI from SEO:

SEO ROI = (value of conversions – cost of investment) / cost of investment)

The result will show how much you earned per £1 invested in SEO.

For example:

£5,000 from monthly revenue from organic search
£2,100 monthly SEO expenses
£5,000 – £2,100 / £2,100 = 1.38

For every £1 spent on SEO efforts, you’ll get £1.38 back.

If you’re getting less than £1 for each £1 you spend, it’s time to rethink your strategy and expenses. Then you will be able to identify areas of improvement.

Make the necessary changes, which might involve refining keyword targeting, content improvement, technical SEO improvement, or adjusting your overall SEO strategy.

The Benefits of SEO

If you’re still not convinced that SEO is an investment, here are some other benefits of SEO for your business.

To further put into context, SEO is always a great investment because people are naturally curious and always use the internet to search for information, solve problems, find services, and so on.

What’s more interesting is that our phones are always available and ready to help us find any information we need.

Here are some statistics to back up our claims:

  • 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
  • 58.67% of all website traffic worldwide comes from mobile phones.
  • In 2023, experts said that quality content, backlinks, and search intent/relevance were the most important ranking factors.
  • Around 60% of the global population has access to the internet, which means there’s a high chance they are using search engines to find information.
  • Prioritising SEO and content marketing is 13 times more likely to generate a positive return on investment


So, is SEO an investment or an expense?

We think that it’s definitely an investment!

SEO plays a big part in how users organically find you online and how successful your website is in organic search.

It improves user experience, builds brand awareness, and helps you build your digital presence.

SEO is not a one-time strategy because it requires time and continuous efforts to keep up with the latest changes.

Resources & Statistics

Check out our blog for more articles about SEO or related topics.

60 SEO Statistics For 2024

26 Key SEO Statistics You Need to Know for 2023

The ROI of SEO

SEO is an Underpriced Asset

See How We Can Help

If you’re looking for SEO services and consultancy, get in touch and let’s see how we can improve your online presence!

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