search marketing

Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) an Investment or an Expense?

SEO: investment or expense?
Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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Search engine optimization (SEO) sounds like a great idea. After all, who wouldn’t want tons of visitors coming to their website day and night looking for exactly what you’re offering. Of course, SEO isn’t free.

Whether you hire someone or do it yourself there are costs for SEO – both money and time.

In this Search Engine Optimization Frequently Asked Questions (SEO FAQs) video blog, I address the question, Is SEO an investment or an expense?

(The article below is a summary of the video, but you’ll get more details and examples if you watch the video.)

Is SEO an Investment or an Expense?

It’s an investment!

Now, let me explain…

The key distinction between investments and expenses lies in what we expect back in the future.

Expenses typically cover consumable items like rent or electricity. Once you’ve spent the money on them, it’s gone. But investments involve dedicating your time, effort, or money to something with the expectation that it will yield greater returns down the road.

All marketing is an investment.

Whether you’re promoting your church, school, ministry, or business, the goal is to raise awareness and connect with more people.

If you’re a business owner, you should aim for a substantial return on investment (ROI) in SEO, at least 5 to 10 times your initial investment. We’ve seen numerous clients, especially those in high-end industries like lawyers, home builders, and pool builders, generating significant revenue because they wisely invested in SEO. Their improved search rankings brought more people to their websites, which translated into substantial earnings.

Now, for churches and ministries, the financial aspect might not be the top priority. You’re likely investing in SEO to reach and engage your community, spreading your message, and drawing people closer to your faith. However, it’s still an investment, one that benefits your community, both spiritually and, often, financially. In fact, for many churches, all it takes is one new tithing family to join and offset the cost of SEO.

The Return on SEO is no Immediate

One unique aspect of SEO compared to other marketing methods is that it doesn’t provide an immediate return. When you start your SEO journey, there are initial stages like technical SEO, keyword research, on-page optimization, and setting up your Google Business profile. During this period, you won’t see an immediate ROI, but it’s building the foundation for future success.

The power of SEO lies in its compounding returns over time.

The organization that ranks number one in search results typically receives about 25-30% of all clicks, while number two gets 10-15%, and it decreases from there. So, when you’re outside the top 10, you won’t receive many visitors. But as you invest in link building, content marketing, and optimization, your search rankings improve. Once you break into the top 10, you’ll start seeing more visitors. And when you crack the top five, top three, or even grab that coveted number one spot, your site’s visitors will grow exponentially.

It’s important to note that all of this takes time and ongoing effort. Building links, producing quality content, and optimizing your website are continuous processes. Imagine if you create a couple of dozen blog articles targeting various keywords within a year. With increasing authority and higher rankings for those keywords, the ROI from SEO starts to grow exponentially.

To sum it up…

Don’t think of SEO as an expense but as an investment that will produce a positive return on investment in the future. -Kurt Steinbrueck

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Because SEO is an investment that doesn’t produce an immediate return but provides a return that compounds over time, we strongly encourage organizations to commit to SEO for at least a year. We reward you  for your commitment by waving the  setup fee for our SEO services when you make a 1 year commitment.

If you’d like to discuss church SEO or Christian SEO for your business, school or ministry, with one of our SEO experts, fill out the consultation request form below.

Comment and Discuss…

  • Do you see SEO as an investment or an expense? Why?

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    About the author

    Paul Steinbrueck

    Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.


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