what is seo graphic

What is SEO (& Is It Worth It For Your Business)?

SEO has been around since 1997 and it’s grown a lot since. Businesses now pay $80+ billion a year to have a piece of the SEO pie. But what exactly is SEO, and is it worth it for the average business?

What is SEO? Once you have a website, you need an engine to drive visitors. That’s where SEO comes in—it’s the process of getting your business to appear when potential customers search on Google, Bing, and other search engines.

Let’s take a closer look at how SEO works and if it’s worth it for your business to invest in.

what is seo graphic

How Does SEO Work?

Let’s say you have a plumbing business in Austin, Texas.

What happens when a potential customer of yours has a plumbing issue?

They typically go to Google for information.

They might use search terms, such as:

  • plumber austin texas
  • leaking toilet
  • water heater installation

And what do they see?

SEO plumbing example graphic

Did you notice it?

Here’s a hint. Look at the search.

The magic of SEO has to do with search intent. That is—what is the reason behind the search?

This is what makes SEO different than social media.

While social media is great for increasing brand awareness, SEO connects you with customers who are ready to buy.

Someone searching for “plumber austin tx” likely has a semi-urgent to urgent plumbing issue, and is ready to put their credit card down.

So, what does this mean for your business?

Is SEO Worth It?

Plumbing Business ExampleReturn on Investment (ROI)
Profit Per Job$300
Average Visitors from SEO*5,000 per month
Sales (1% to 3%)50 to 150
Revenue$15,000 to $45,000
Cost of SEO– $3,000
Total Profit$12,000 to $42,000
*According to our experience. We’ve built sites to between 5,000 and 170,000 monthly visitors from SEO.

SEO ROI Calculator

Of course, the table above assumes the plumbing business has a modest profit of $300 per customer.

But what about if you have higher ticket sales, such as roofing or HVAC? For these businesses, it’s not uncommon to see $500 to $3,000 in profit per customer. And your SEO cost? Likely the same.

But why do those numbers look too good to be true?

If this is the case, then why doesn’t everyone and their cousin use SEO? Why is everyone talking about TikTok when these numbers look so good?

The Problem With SEO

  1. It’s highly technical
  2. It doesn’t always work (even for the top agencies)
  3. It takes at least 3 to 6 months to see results

The large technical barrier and time investment mean that SEO costs between $500 and $10,000 per month.

For example, here at Epic Ranks, we offer SEO services starting at $3,000 per month. While that sounds like a lot, our team spends between 40 to 80 hours per client, per month on SEO.

The Good News

If you divide $3,000 by the hours spent running SEO and digital marketing, you’ll see it’s quite affordable for what you’re getting.

For the same reason, that’s why we can only take on a handful of clients at a time—SEO is complex and time-consuming and we want to make sure it’s done right.

Keep in mind that SEO is free. That is, unlike, ads, you get continued results even if you decide to pause SEO. Assuming you had it long enough to set up and optimize your website. Of course, the longer you work on SEO in general, the more growth you’ll see.

And more good news—your competitors are likely intimidated by SEO, which means much less competition for your business.

Types of SEO (With Examples)

Types of SEOExampleHours Spent Per Client Per Month
On-PageOptimizing Web Pages, Blog Posts16 to 32
Off-PageSocial Media, Online Mentions9 to 16
TechnicalWebsite Speed, Mobile-Friendliness7 to 12
LocalGoogle Business Profile, Reviews8 to 20

I previously mentioned spending anywhere between 40 to 80 hours per month, per client. But what exactly are we spending these hours on?

Let’s break down SEO into its key parts and each of their roles.

On-Page SEO

Epic Ranks how to do on-page seo in wordpress

On-page SEO means making your website more visible in search results. This involves improving elements directly on your site, such as using the right words people search for (keywords), creating helpful content, and making sure your site works well on phones.

The goal is to help more people find your website when they search online.

Here is our typical process for on-page SEO and the amount of hours each task generally takes us each month, per client.

  1. Keyword Optimization (3 to 5 hours)
    • Research and select relevant keywords for each page.
    • Incorporate keywords naturally into titles, headings, meta descriptions, and content.
    • Aim for a keyword density that feels natural, typically around 1-2%.
  2. Content Creation (4 to 15 hours)
    • Create high-quality, informative content that addresses user intent.
    • Ensure content is well-structured with proper headings and paragraphs.
    • Make sure content provides value and answers the user’s query effectively.
  3. Title Tags and Meta Descriptions (1 to 3 hours)
    • Write compelling title tags and meta descriptions that include target keywords.
    • Keep title tags under 60 characters and meta descriptions under 160 characters.
    • Use persuasive language to encourage clicks from search engine users.
  4. Optimized URL Structure (1 to 2 hours)
    • Use descriptive and keyword-rich URLs that accurately reflect the content of the page.
    • Keep URLs concise and avoid unnecessary parameters or session IDs.
    • Separate words in URLs with hyphens for readability.
  5. Internal Linking and Site Structure (5 to 10 hours)
    • Implement a logical site structure that makes it easy for users and search engines to navigate.
    • Use internal links to connect related pages and distribute link equity throughout your site.
    • Optimize anchor text for internal links to provide context to both users and search engines.

Total time investment for On-Page SEO: 16 to 32 hours per month.

Off-Page SEO

BBB example of a off page seo

Off-page SEO involves enhancing your website’s reputation and presence beyond its own pages. This strategy focuses on activities external to your website, such as building backlinks from other reputable sites, engaging on social media platforms, and gaining mentions across the web.

The aim is to increase your site’s trustworthiness and authority, making it more likely to rank higher in search results.

Here’s our process for off-page SEO, and the hours each task generally takes us.

  1. Link Building (4 to 6 hours)
    • Acquire high-quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites.
    • Use various link building techniques such as guest blogging, outreach, and directory submissions.
    • Focus on natural link acquisition to improve website authority and rankings.
  2. Social Media Engagement (2 to 4 hours)
    • Build a strong presence on social media platforms relevant to your industry.
    • Share content, engage with followers, and participate in discussions to increase brand visibility.
    • Encourage social sharing of your content to attract more traffic and potential backlinks.
  3. Online Reputation Management (1 to 2 hours)
    • Monitor and manage your brand’s reputation across the web.
    • Respond promptly to customer feedback, reviews, and mentions to maintain a positive online image.
    • Address any negative feedback or complaints professionally and constructively.
  4. Influencer Outreach (1 to 2 hours)
    • Identify influencers and thought leaders in your industry.
    • Reach out to them to collaborate on content, partnerships, or endorsements.
    • Leveraging influencers can help amplify your brand’s reach and credibility.
  5. Content Promotion (1 to 2 hours)
    • Actively promote your content through various channels such as email newsletters, forums, and online communities.
    • Utilize content distribution platforms and syndication to reach a wider audience.
    • Engage with relevant communities and share valuable insights to attract attention to your content.

Total time investment for Off-Page SEO: 9 to 16 hours per month.

Technical SEO

Before and After roofing mobile website speedtest

Technical SEO refers to improving the website’s technical foundation and performance in search rankings. This includes enhancing your site’s speed, ensuring it’s mobile-friendly, securing it with HTTPS, and making it easy for search engines to crawl and index your pages.

The goal is to create a website that appeals to search engines and also provides a seamless and secure experience for your visitors.

Here’s our typical process for technical SEO, and the amount of hours each task generally takes us each month, per client.

  1. Website Audit and Analysis (3 to 5 hours)
    • Conduct a thorough audit of your website’s technical performance.
    • Identify issues such as crawl errors, broken links, and duplicate content.
    • Utilize tools like Google Search Console, Screaming Frog, or SEMrush for analysis.
  2. Site Speed Optimization (1 to 4 hours)
    • Enhance page load times by optimizing images, minimizing CSS and JavaScript, and utilizing browser caching.
    • Use tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to pinpoint speed issues and prioritize resolutions.
    • Consider implementing a content delivery network (CDN) to expedite content delivery.
  3. Mobile-Friendly Design (1 to 2 hours)
    • Ensure your website is responsive and provides an optimal user experience across diverse devices and screen sizes.
    • Employ Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to identify and address mobile usability concerns.
    • Implement mobile-friendly design elements like touch-friendly buttons and legible font sizes.
  4. Website Structure and Navigation (1 to 2 hours)
    • Optimize site structure for improved user and search engine navigation.
    • Utilize logical hierarchy and breadcrumbs to facilitate clear navigation paths.
    • Deploy XML and HTML sitemaps to aid search engines in discovering and indexing content efficiently.
  5. Canonicalization and Redirects (1 to 2 hours)
    • Implement canonical tags to resolve duplicate content issues and consolidate ranking signals to preferred URLs.
    • Set up 301 redirects to redirect users from broken or outdated URLs and preserve SEO value.
    • Regularly monitor and manage redirects to ensure proper implementation and maintenance.

Total time investment for Technical SEO: 7 to 12 hours per month.

Local SEO

google map pack example

Local SEO is getting your website to appear in search results for a specific local area. This involves optimizing your site with local keywords, ensuring your business is listed accurately on local directories, and managing your Google My Business profile.

The goal is to increase your visibility in local search results, such as when someone searches for “best coffee shop near me” or “services near [location].”

Here’s how we do Local SEO and the amount of time it takes per month.

  1. Google My Business Optimization (2 to 3 hours)
    • Claim and verify your Google My Business listing.
    • Ensure NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) consistency across all online platforms.
    • Optimize your business profile with accurate information, including business hours, categories, and photos.
  2. Local Keyword Research (1 to 2 hours)
    • Identify local keywords relevant to your business and target audience.
    • Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Moz Local to discover local search terms with high search volume and low competition.
  3. Local Citations and Directories (1 to 3 hours)
    • Create and maintain listings on local directories such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Bing Places.
    • Ensure consistency of NAP information across all citations.
    • Seek opportunities to get listed on industry-specific directories and local chambers of commerce.
  4. Online Reviews Management (1 to 3 hours)
    • Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook.
    • Respond promptly to both positive and negative reviews to show engagement and customer care.
    • Monitor reviews regularly and address any issues or concerns raised by customers.
  5. Localized Content Creation (3 to 9 hours)
    • Create localized content that addresses the needs and interests of your local audience.
    • Write blog posts, articles, or guides focusing on local events, news, or community initiatives.
    • Optimize content with local keywords and references to nearby landmarks, neighborhoods, or attractions.

Total time investment for Local SEO: 8 to 20 hours per month.

How to Start SEO in 5 Quick Steps

Want to save money and do SEO yourself? Here are 5 steps we recommend businesses follow when taking SEO into their own hands.

1. Keyword Research

Imagine you’re throwing a party and you need to figure out what snacks your friends love. That’s kinda what keyword research is like. You’re looking for the right words that people use when they’re searching for what you offer.

Tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs are your go-to for finding those popular yet not too competitive keywords. It’s all about finding the sweet spot–keywords that match what your business is all about, and what your potential customers are searching for.

We prefer to use Google Trends, Google autosuggest, and SEMrush. If you’re just starting, we recommend doing SEMrush’s 7-day free trial and following YouTube tutorials.

2. On-Page Optimization

services and locations on one of our websites

Think of your website as your online home. Just like you’d tidy up before guests arrive, on-page optimization means fixing up your site so visitors can find their way around easily.

This includes adjusting your title tags, meta descriptions, and headings, and making sure your content has those keywords you found earlier, but in a way that feels natural.

Plus, you want to ensure your site is quick to load and looks great on any device, so visitors stick around.

3. Content Creation

Here’s where you get to shine and show off what you know. Creating content is about answering your audience’s biggest questions and sharing your expertise.

Based on the keywords you’ve picked up, you’ll know what topics to tackle.

Keep your content fresh and interesting, whether it’s blog posts, videos, or the format that best reaches your audience. It’s about drawing people in with valuable info they’re actually looking for.

4. Link Building

Guest Post & Backlink Costs graphic

Link building is where you get other reputable sites to link back to your business. Whether through guest blogging, reaching out to fellow businesses, or getting listed in directories, it’s all about building relationships.

You want natural, genuine links because they tell search engines, “Hey, this site’s trustworthy and valuable.”

5. Monitoring and Analysis

Screenshot of Google Analytics

Think of this as looking back at your party to see what went well.

Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console help you track how many people showed up (website traffic), what got them to RSVP (search rankings), and how many enjoyed the party enough to take action (conversion rates).

It’s about learning what works, what doesn’t, and adjusting your strategy to improve your business.

Still a bit confused about SEO? Check out this amazing 5-minute video by Simplilearn.

Similar Posts