Affordable SEO, Cash Flow, Capital, and RoI

Let’s start out with a simple, hopefully inarguable premise: SEO is a marketing expense. If your business isn’t treating SEO like a marketing expense, you will have to get very lucky to stumble upon a system that makes it affordable. SEO has a single purpose: to bring customers to your web presence (where, if your site is doing its part, they will end up buying, signing up, donating, or doing whatever you want them to do.)

Marketing And Money

As with any other marketing expense, when your business spends money on SEO, it expects to get more money in return than it spent. If there’s no RoI, there’s been a marketing failure: either the SEO didn’t produce that anticipated number of visitors, or your website didn’t convert enough of those visitors (or your price point was set too low.)

Also identically to any other marketing venture, even the most talented experts can only estimate what your RoI might be at the beginning of an SEO campaign. That’s because marketing is inherently competitive: people only have so much brainspace, and if one of your competitors manages to outmaneuver you and get in there first (or more ‘stickily’), you can be assured that your marketing campaign won’t do as well as you would have in a vacuum. Similarly, if a competing site manages to nail that #1 spot for your choice keyword, it can take months beyond the anticipated timeline to dethrone them, especially if they’re conscientious.

So How Do You Recognize Affordable SEO When You See It?

Here’s the real rub: the word ‘affordable’ is a very tricky one, because different businesses have different resources. If your business is a high-cash-flow business, that moves money in and out constantly but never has a large buildup, you might not be able to afford a massive effort that establishes a long-term web presence. If your business is a high-capital business, that isn’t moving a lot of money right now but has a solid startup fund, you might not be able to afford the continuous mid-sized flow of money that it can take to climb up to the top of the SERPs over 6-18 months.

Both of those circumstances can still result in great SEO — by which we mean “they can produce a great RoI” — but not all SEO companies can handle both situations. So you might be theoretically able to get affordable SEO, and simply not have a company near you that offers the kind of SEO your business would find affordable.

Fortunately, this being the Internet, you can always search for SEO companies a city over or a few states away. There’s no reason you should ever be entirely without an affordable SEO option that will bring in the RoI you need.