Blue and red pens representing pros and cons, respectively

What are the Pros and Cons of SEO?

Diana Aghumyan

Table of Contents

SEO is a real game changer in the realm of digital marketing. SEO is a keystone in changing a business’s route and leading it to succeed. The practice of search engine optimization is taken to increase website traffic and engage with audiences through organic search. The statistics show that 53.3% of the overall traffic comes from organic searches. Without any ads involved, the lead players are quality content and robust backlink profiles.

With all the benefits of search engine optimization, some downsides might not be advantageous for a business. That’s why we will look at the pros and cons of SEO in detail. After considering the inputs and outputs, you will be empowered for beneficial decisions.

The Pros and Cons of SEO You Should Consider

Before jumping into the attraction SEO pool, familiarize yourself with the benefits and drawbacks first.

The Pros of SEO

An illustration representing SEO benefits

Increased visibility

The primary purpose of optimizing a website for search engines is undoubtedly to get higher exposure. SEO helps a website rank higher on the SERP, ultimately increasing visibility to potential customers. Visibility increase is not limited to being known by prospects; it can lead to greater brand awareness and recognition. Yet, name recognition is only part of the final result. It ultimately translates into more traffic, leads, and sales. Visibility on search engines creates further visibility on other online platforms, such as social media pages. The name is known, it is spread and acknowledged across the web.

By focusing on SEO, you can ensure that your website is visible to those who will most probably be interested in what you have to offer, which can help you grow your business in the long term.

Increased website traffic

The result of the first benefit, increased visibility, implies increased website traffic. When you position your business attractively on the engines, searchers become prone to click through your intriguing content. SEO can help attract more organic traffic to your website.

Increased website traffic is another critical benefit of SEO. Optimizing a website means targeting those looking for your offer. Consequently, the traffic from search engines is often highly targeted. Here comes the next plus of optimization. With SEO, you can continually target specific keywords and phrases relevant to your business, which can help you attract even more traffic. 

As your website’s visibility increases and you attract more visitors, you may also see an increase in social media shares, backlinks, and other forms of online engagement, which can further boost your website traffic. So, by shifting your focus to SEO, you can attract more high-quality traffic to your website.

Improved user experience

SEO provides two-sided outcomes – optimizing websites for search engines and users. The core of optimizing a website is provisioning a good user experience. It means ensuring ease of use and navigation for the website visitors. And throughout this process, you ask yourself:

  • Can they find the bars and sections? 
  • Is the information accessible? 
  • What is a challenge on the website? 
  • Does the website have a logical flow?

Improving user experience on the page includes:

  • Improving the loading speed of your pages.
  • Making it mobile-friendly.
  • Being sure the content is easy to read and understand.

These are the primary components of on-page SEO. 

A thorough on-page optimization will bring user satisfaction, longer visit durations, and a lower bounce rate. Thus, you will have visitors who will convert into customers, improving the chances that they will return to your website. In the long run, you will have developed a loyal customer base who will see your brand as a trustworthy and reliable source of information in the industry.

Cost-effective

Many companies choose SEO as their digital marketing strategy, mainly for its cost-effective nature. SEO is relatively cheap compared to other forms of online marketing, such as paid advertising. Once you have optimized your website, you can continue to reap the benefits of SEO for a long time without additional costs.

Compared with the advertised form of website exposure, that is, SEM (Search Engine Marketing), SEO comes with little to no cost. According to the statistics, this is also beneficial when we consider that about 80% of paid ads are ignored by users. Well, it can be free if you know and utilize the main SEO principles with your team. 

While ongoing maintenance and updates may be required to keep your website optimized, there are no ongoing costs associated with ranking in organic search engine results. This can be especially important for small businesses or those with limited marketing budgets.

SEO is a good choice among the other costly marketing practices. Additionally, SEO can help attract highly targeted traffic to your website, leading to a higher return on investment. 

Long-term results

The results of SEO implementation can be long-lasting. Once your website is optimized, it will continue to rank well in the SERPs, which can lead to sustained traffic. All the points discussed above prove that SEO holds lasting promises. The benefits come and stay if you keep watering the right strategic approach.

Once your website is optimized, it will continue to rank in search engine results pages, provided that you maintain your efforts and keep your website up-to-date. 

On top of that, as SEO is a data-driven process, you can continually monitor and refine your efforts. You ensure that the right keywords are targeted, your website provides the best user experience, and you are ahead of your competition. All the benefits compiled promise a steady stream of organic traffic and leads over time.

Competitive advantage

High visibility, exposure, and traffic combined make the business more competitive. You’ll ask how? Imagine a potential customer searching on the engines. They are shown several results on the first page, and hundreds of others appear on the second, third, fourth, and so on pages. Who cares which page? Since no one ever visits those pages, they will not bother themselves with its results. So, you or your competitors might be on those lists; whoever is on the first SERP will win the competitive edge. 

Thus, you make an optimized website, ensuring your business name appears at the top of search results when potential customers search for products or services related to your business. Since you are on the first page and searchers don’t visit the other pages, they visit your website and engage with your offers.

The Cons of SEO

An illustration of the amount of work involved in SEO

On the list of the pros and cons of SEO, the benefits must be present in the drawbacks. After discussing the SEO benefits to businesses, there are also some potential drawbacks. Let’s peer into those.

Time-consumption 

SEO is a long-term strategy that takes ongoing effort and investment. Achieving and maintaining high rankings in search results can take time. It requires significant keyword research, content creation, and link building. This all does not happen overnight. SEO strategies implementation results need patience to be noticed.

Achieving and maintaining high rankings in search results can take significant time, effort, and resources. This is because SEO is not a done-once-and-forgotten process. You deal with ongoing optimization and refinement concerning content, keywords, and backlinks. Let alone content creation requires you to conduct keyword research, analysis, and output quality content.

Thus, if you are tight on time and resources, you will have to reconsider your options for digital marketing utilization.  

Uncertain results 

One thing that keeps people aback by SEO is the uncertainty involved. Though it drives traffic and leads to your website, there is no guarantee that it will work for every business with the same effectiveness. Factors such as changes to search engine algorithms, changes to the competitive landscape, and the quality of your website can all impact the results of your SEO efforts.

What’s more important, the market is always evolving. Changes to the competitive landscape, such as new competitors coming into the market or existing competitors improving their SEO strategies, can impact your website’s rankings and overall performance. Thus the fruitful benefits are there, but with huge uncertainty.

Requires technical expertise

Based on a company’s available resources, like budgets and experts, businesses choose to implement SEO in-house or hire a specialized agency to deal with the engines. It makes SEO a complex process that requires technical expertise and knowledge. It poses quite a challenge for businesses that do not have in-house SEO expertise and may need to outsource these services.

To effectively execute an SEO strategy, it is essential to have a team or individual with a deep grasp of search engine algorithms and the ability to keep up with the latest trends and best practices. Even when working with an external provider, it is important for businesses to have a basic understanding of SEO in order to evaluate the quality of the work being performed. Otherwise, they cannot know if their investment is being used effectively.

Somewhat Costly

You’ll wonder how it is on both the pros and cons of SEO; however, sometimes, everything can be costly depending on the perspective we look at things. In the long-term SEO is inexpensive for many businesses. Yet, there may be important and unavoidable upfront costs. These are associated with optimizing your website and developing a comprehensive SEO strategy. Some SEO costs include:

  • Content creation
  • Link building
  • Technical optimization
  • Regular maintenance and updates

These costs can vary depending on the sophistication of your website, the level of competition in your industry, and the scope of your SEO strategy.

Can be affected by external factors

No matter how perfectly you implement SEO strategies, external factors will always emerge and affect your projects. They can include the following:

  • Search engine algorithms – these are changing over time and are never predictable.
  • Competition – new businesses and competitors can always come up while the former competitors can improve their strategies. 
  • Market trends shift – new trends come while the old ones fade away, and the website’s rankings and traffic may be affected.
  • Technology – with new technological developments, SEO takes up new ways of optimization. It includes voice search, image search, mobile device trends, etc that are now current.

Thus, the effects are inevitable since SEO is the branch of digital marketing that continuously undergoes the quickest and most frequent changes. 

Takeaways from the pros and cons of SEO

To sum up, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical digital marketing practice. There are both pros and cons of SEO that should be weighed before actually practicing it. SEO helps businesses improve their visibility, increase website traffic, and engage with their audience organically. SEO also improves the user experience and provides long-term results, which is why many companies choose it as their primary marketing strategy. Additionally, it is a cost-effective approach and offers a competitive advantage for businesses that rank higher in search engine results pages.

With all of the good sides, it is important to remember that SEO also has its downsides, and businesses must familiarize themselves with both before jumping into the attraction SEO pool. By carefully considering the inputs and outputs of SEO, businesses can make informed decisions that will lead to their success.

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