Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a daunting concept for anyone who is unfamiliar with it. While the vast majority of society use search engines on a daily basis, that same vast majority have no idea of how search engines actually work. Having said that, particularly during the Covid-19 Pandemic, more and more people are learning how crucial SEO can be for businesses looking to both grow and sustain. At the same time, it’s imperative to understand that SEO shouldn’t be seen as the “silver bullet” that’s going to solve every problem your business has. Before beginning an SEO campaign, it’s important to understand both the advantages and disadvantages behind it to make sure it is the right choice for your business.

Disadvantages

In terms of disadvantages of SEO, they’re generally far outweighed by the advantages. Here are a couple of biggest:

Competition

SEO is a highly competitive strategy for businesses looking to climb in the rankings on Google. While some industries are less competitive in regards to SEO, others are extremely competitive. For example, everyone by this point is used to seeing personal injury attorney advertisements on billboards and television. The same can be said with SEO. You’ll find that if you type the keyword “personal injury lawyer near me” you will almost surely find the same attorneys that you see on television. That’s because businesses such as these know that by pumping large amounts of money into each type of marketing they’ll reach the largest possible audience. The point is, with SEO in many competitive industries, it’s a “pay to play” game.

Slow Results

Unlike other forms of digital marketing, such as pay per click (PPC), SEO is without a doubt a long term play. PPC campaigns are a great way to attract new visitors/customers to your website by paying for (often expensive) ads that show up at the top of the first page of Google. At Firestarter SEO, we generally find that most websites won’t begin seeing major results until about 5-6 months down the road. However this makes sense when understanding the way Google operates. Google and other search engines require time to process the changes you’ve made to your site. Over time, they’ll see that you’ve been maintaining an active approach toward your site and as a result you’ll slowly begin earning authority and trustworthiness. In time, you’ll begin seeing your rank climb.

Advantages

Localized Web Traffic

One of the main reasons why SEO has become so popular over the years is that software such as Google My Business has allowed businesses to localize their efforts. Nowadays, everyone knows the most basic Google tricks to find the results they want. For example, if you live in the Denver, Colorado area and are looking for a personal injury lawyer, you probably won’t type into google “personal injury lawyer.” Instead, you’ll likely type in “personal injury lawyer Denver” into Google because you know that this will bring up a number of firms located in the Denver area. If you had not entered “Denver” you would likely receive a list of national firms and even some explanations into what a personal injury lawyer is. This is exactly why so many businesses have grown in their local markets over the years.

Long Term Sustainability

As mentioned previously, SEO is a long term play and it can take a considerable amount of time to see the results you’re looking for. Still, once you’ve found the success that you wanted, keep in mind that it takes much longer to decline in the rankings than it does to climb. Generally speaking, this usually happens around the 1-1.5 year mark after beginning an SEO campaign. By this point your site is like optimized to a point where you shouldn’t have to worry too much about technical errors (on-site optimization) harming your ranking. Also by this point, you should have hundreds of links from more authoritative websites pointing to your site as well. From this point on you’ll probably stay in a “maintenance mode” where all it takes is some simple easy to do tasks such as content creation, often in the form of a blog.