Investing in SEO can be a daunting subject. Often, business leaders will spend days, months and maybe even years debating whether there’s any real value in SEO, especially for beauty brands.
With such high potential, SEO is often fraught with concerns around budgets, expectations and the marrying of those two things.
Often, we’ll receive questions from clients asking what results they should expect for SEO, how much money they should set aside, and when they will see a return-on-investment.
Unfortunately, such predictions are incredibly difficult to make. However, there are some factors that you can break down to help make the picture a little clearer.
While the benefits of SEO are applicable to every type of business, I strongly believe there to be some critical reasons to start investing in SEO. In this piece, I’ll walk through the considerations your beauty brand needs to make when budgeting for SEO, the reasons why SEO can be so valuable in the beauty industry, along with some examples from clients we’ve helped grow.
Investing in SEO: Some Considerations
Before we get to the core points of this article, we first need to discuss some considerations:
What Are Your Competitors Doing?
First, draw your attention to the rest of your market. This ultimately dictates how much catching up you have to do.
While you may go into this with a set list of competitors in mind, you may sometimes find that you’re not even competing against them at all. Instead, you’ll be going head-to-head with business that have much more content, backlinks and brand presence than yourself.
We often start this work by establishing a list of keywords that are commonly associated with your industry. From that, we can see who is ranking at the top, how much interest there is in those keywords, and how difficult they can be to rank for. The higher the difficulty, the longer it will take for you to move up search results.
With these initial observations in mind, you should then look at how the top-ranking websites got to those positions. What types of pages are ranking? Are they blog articles, or landing pages? The outcome of this ultimately dictates the approach needed, and the level of work becomes much clearer.
How Is Your Website Performing?
One major cause for frustration with SEO is the improper targeting of issues. You could spend hours focusing on creating really well written content, but if your site isn’t structured properly, you’ll likely never see the results.
All SEO work falls into two categories:
On-site SEO refers to anything to do with your actual webpages, including things like URL structure, content, keywords, etc. Whereas off-site refers to supplemental activity that has SEO benefits, and includes backlinks (links to your site from others), brand mentions, click-through-rates, and more.
From this, you now need to consider what parts of your site are and aren’t performing well:
Technical: Almost all projects start with a quick technical review to spot-check commonly-overlooked issues such as wasted code, page load times, and indexing problems. If these issues aren’t addressed from the outset, all subsequent activity will be, in a word, pointless. Remember, the job of search engines is to serve up the best user experience possible, and if your website isn’t capable of that, it won’t rank well.
Content: With a technical review completed, now comes the time to assess your content. When it comes to rankings, search engines particularly love content that is relevant to user searches. This means that when a user has a question, is looking to buy a specific product, or simply needs more information on it, the best-written and presented pages usually win.
So, do you have a content plan? If not, you’re missing out.
Backlinks: Having a well-structured, fully optimised website isn’t enough to satisfy search engines or set it apart from competitors. To fully establish yourself as a trustworthy outlet, search engines also consider how many other websites are citing yours through backlinks.
These can be secured through targeted digital PR efforts, whether that’s reacting to existing stories, or sharing unique stories of your own.
What Is Your Timeline for Success?
Others have said it in the past, and we’ll continue to do so. SEO is a long-term marketing activity, and results aren’t usually present from the get-go. So, if you need results right away, SEO might not be for you.
There can be some short-term successes, such as an increased number of pages ranking, or more backlinks being added to your repertoire, but for the most part, SEO takes a great amount of time to perfect, and even then, there is no such thing as an end goal. There are always new keywords to rank for. Or, even if you’re at the very top of the tree, you want to stay there.
Decision Time: SEO Investment
Now comes the time to answer the main question of this article: how much is SEO worth to you?
While we can’t give a universal answer, I can give some considerations for you to take into your decision making:
Where Are You Selling?
The main thing to consider when deciding on how much to invest in SEO is where your products are primarily being sold – and where your shoppers are coming from.
For instance, if you have an established brand and website, with a community of people who already love your products, but aren’t ranking for many relevant keywords, investing heavily in SEO can provide huge returns, as you’re investing into a strong position. Google’s algorithms tend to prefer websites and brands which have strong user sentiment behind them, as those websites usually tend to have stronger link profiles and better on-site engagement.
However, if the bulk of your sales happen in-person with a local customer base, competing nationally (and internationally), making a splash may require more effort and a longer time frame.
How Much Time Can You Devote?
We’re sure you’ve heard this before, but hang on; it’s true. SEO is not a short-term endeavour. It can take many months of trial and error before you get a success story with SEO. If you’re looking for something quick, SEO might not be for you. In which case, I recommend you explore some paid advertising efforts.
You also need to invest time and money in making your SEO move – whether that’s developing an internal team to do the work, or buying in the time of an external specialist. The best scenario, in my opinion, is a combination of the two: the expertise and direction of an agency, coupled with the staff getting things done internally.
What Other Marketing Activity Are You Undertaking?
SEO works best when it’s complemented by other digital activity. There are numerous other marketing avenues you can explore to promote yourself, all of which will help your SEO efforts directly or otherwise:
- PPC: Although paid and organic clicks are different, there is research that shows that the two can exist together. After all, you’re giving users two options to visit your site and find what they’re looking for.
- Social Media: As the saying goes, content is king. But if you’re not shouting about it, why bother? Social platforms are an excellent way of adding an additional boost to your site content, helping push it to the rest of your audience and potentially even beauty bloggers who may take inspiration from you. This may leave them more inclined to leave a link back to your site when they post, adding another entry to your backlink portfolio.
- Above the line activity: Getting your brand known is a challenge in and of itself, but did you know that it can help your SEO efforts, even when done offline. Better brand awareness and affinity means that users are more likely to click on your content from search results and last longer on your website, which in turn is a trust signal to search engines.
So, Is SEO Worth It?
If there’s one thing worth taking from this, it’s that accounting for SEO isn’t straightforward. There are many variables to keep track of, both in performance and time expectancy.
Whether you’re still on the fence, or just about to jump off it, I hope this article has given you some ideas to help decide just how much budget you set aside for SEO. For those who aren’t sure, consider reaching out to one of our team. We’d be happy to chat more about your circumstances, goals and see if and how we can help.