What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of SEO?

Time: 5:42 am

SEO Pros and ConsAs your business looks to grow and scale up to realize the vision you had when you started, there will ultimately be a crossroads in your marketing decision-making that poses the question, “Should I start investing in my own SEO?” While we will undoubtedly make the argument that in most cases the answer should be yes, there are advantages and disadvantages to SEO that can help you make the most informed decision possible. 

Advantages of SEO

SEO can be an extremely powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. Some key advantages of SEO can include a very high Return on Investment, expanding your reach to hundreds or even thousands of searchers outside of your normal client network, and results that last beyond your scope of SEO service.

High ROI

Historically, SEO has performed very well in terms of ROI. In fact, a 2018 study found that Google was the single-largest traffic driver to websites, far outpacing social media channels and cementing the importance of showing up on Google searches. A big reason SEO produces such a high ROI is because it attracts high-converting traffic. The purpose of SEO is to show up when people actively search for your products or services. In many cases, a customer is ready to purchase when they perform the search, so when they find your website at the top of the results the chances of them converting into a client skyrocket.

Expand Your Reach

Word of mouth referrals constitute a major portion of a business’ growth, and it isn’t going away any time soon. What many companies don’t realize is that SEO allows them to tap into a vast network of potential clients far greater than the network of word of mouth clients can reach.  Whether on a local or national level, your website can exponentially increase the number of people who learn about your business.

Lasting Results

Another major benefit of SEO is the residual benefit you’ll see from it. SEO isn’t as volatile as a service like PPC, for example. With PPC, it’s as simple as flipping a light switch – fund the account and get leads. However, as soon as it turns off your leads dry up. With SEO, you may reduce your monthly budget into a maintenance mode, but still enjoy full-scale rewards with the visibility you’ve established. While these results usually aren’t permanent, they are certainly longer-lasting than many marketing channels.

Disadvantages of SEO

While the advantages of doing SEO are clear, there can be downsides that will play important roles in your decision-making process. These include looking at SEO as a long-term investment & not a short-term solution, no guarantees in results, and the risk of playing in a highly competitive SEO market.

Long-Term Play

One of the biggest disadvantages of SEO is the time it takes to produce results. SEO is truly a process of accumulation and there are many factors to consider before giving someone an estimate on how long it will take for the campaign to get traction. Google themselves say to give an SEO company 4-12 months to produce results.  At Firestarter SEO, we usually see campaigns get their first real success between 4-6 months, with improving results accelerating from there. If you are in need of a fast solution to boost your sales, SEO probably isn’t the right answer.

No Guarantees

Another downside to pursuing SEO is that there really are no guarantees it will work. In fact, Google specifically warns businesses against companies that offer guaranteed 1st-page results. The fact is, the algorithm is constantly changing, with rankings fluctuating on a daily basis. Additionally, months of work and progress could be negated by a major change to how Google evaluates a website, as some businesses have experienced first-hand with a variety of algorithm changes over the years. 


We occasionally encounter businesses that compete in a space that is truly saturated with competition. With a limited budget, it could potentially take years to catch up. Or, a company that was once the top dog in the rankings suddenly finds themselves behind the 8-ball, as their competitors grew wise to the power of an effective SEO strategy and leapfrogged the former leader. SEO needs an almost constant investment in order to maintain its effectiveness and positive ROI. 

While any marketing investment takes serious planning and consideration, SEO is no exception. Understanding the potential pitfalls of an investment is crucial to success. However, in spite of the disadvantages one may encounter with SEO, more often than not the advantages far outweigh any potential risk. If you need help understanding the pros and cons of doing SEO for your business, contact one of our experts today.

Request A Free SEO Analysis

Latest Tips, Case Studies
& Blog Posts

Search Engine Optimization

What To Do When A Page Isn’t Ranking

You've checked all the boxes for good SEO practices—cleaning up technical errors, building robust links, and crafting content that's both valuable and…

Learn More

Technical SEO

SEO Audit A Business Owners Guide

SEO can seem like the Wild West for business owners. And of course, you can find 20-step guides to everything you need…

Learn More

Conversion Rate Optimization

How To Track SEO ROI

Are you one of the many business owners who roll their eyes when they hear “SEO”? Maybe in the past, you’ve been…

Learn More