Theres no quick path to riches in either case. However, over the long term, you can expect to see growth if youre patient enough to stay the course through the ups and downs of the market (or rankings and algorithm fluctuations). Buffett said, Over the long term, the stock market news will be good. Despite world wars, epidemics and the Great Depression, the long-term growth of stocks in the US grew steadily and significantly over the 20th century. Image courtesy of Visualizing Economics This is an uncomfortable prospect for most business owners when it comes to SEO, quite understandably. Were used to analyzing our strategies and investments in terms of how theyll pay off in weeks, months, or at most, a year. The practice of SEO, however, like the stock market, necessitates a forward-thinking mentality; it means not jumping ship when rankings fluctuate, as theyre sure to do from time to time. It means being prepared for dips and even valleys, but committing to holding the course over the long term, regardless, as long as youre doing the right things. Sam writes: If you pick a bad set of stocks, you might lose money. If you sell the stocks too late, you might lose money. If you sell too early, you might lose money or even leave money on the table. You have to pick good stocks and hold them for just the right amount of time, just as you have to pick the right keywords and target them for the right amount of time. Notice were not comparing SEO to the lottery or slot machines. SEO, like the stock market, necessitates a solid understanding of the market and the industry. A successful SEO strategy will mean investigating and researching appropriate keywords based on potential traffic levels, competitiveness, and the potential for conversions. And we know that a successful SEO campaign has great value; value which is, in fact, completely unparalleled. We know, for instance, that achieving the #1 spot for a given keyword means getting about 33% of the clicks. This means that if there are 5,000 searches for a keyword each month, you could reasonably expect to receive around 1650 visits to your site if you hold the top position. This is an outcome worth investing in and waiting for. A Strategy for a Successful Long-Term Investment Savvy investors develop their own strategy (algorithm) for choosing their stocks. This process likely involves researching and evaluating, among other factors, a companys: Financial statements Expert opinions and advice Conclusion When my clients ask me how they can predictably determine the ROI of their SEO efforts, I wish I could give them a cut and dry answer. The truth is, however, that there is no standard x + y = z when it comes to SEO. SEO, like picking stocks, means making decisions based on what we know now, what weve seen in the past, and what we expect to happen in the future. It means staying the course, through the dips and valleys, and holding out for the long-term rewards we know are coming. Of course, these long-term rewards will only come if your SEO strategy is executed well, by a true professional, who understands the industry and how to build a solid SEO campaign. Ill leave you with this thought from Sams article, which I think summarizes the ROI of SEO efforts perfectly: You simply cant approach SEO with a short-term investment mentality.
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