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Is SEO a Waste of Time? Here’s What This New Study Shows

Millions of website owners worldwide are spending money on improving their SEO, and others are taking the time to learn about it as well. 

But there’s been a cloud of doubt looming over people’s heads that has them wondering whether SEO is worth the time and money. 

A common question being asked today is whether or not SEO is a waste of time. Is it still relevant in this ever-changing media landscape? Will it still be relevant 5 years from now? 

Instead of jumping to conclusions, it’s good to properly analyse the concerns and critiques that people have of SEO and ask business owners, media professionals, and bloggers what they think about the relevance of SEO. 

We conducted a careful study to analyse people’s perceptions and opinions of SEO, as well as their experiences with spending time and money on it. Read more to learn about our findings. 

Quick Summary

  1. Thousands of people keep asking questions about the relevance of SEO because improving a website’s SEO is time-consuming, and progress can be slow.

  2. Our research shows that over 60% of business owners see the value in the time and money spent on improving their website’s visibility and boosting its rankings by using SEO strategies.

  3. Business owners and media professionals mostly agree that SEO is relevant in 2023 and may continue to be relevant in the next 5 years.

People Ask: Is SEO a Waste of Time?

On average, it can cost between $2,000-$8,000 per month to improve the SEO of your website. This includes buying backlinks, paying SEO specialists or agencies, and covering content writing costs. 

It can also be costly to learn about search engine optimisation because it is time-consuming, and there’s so much to learn. 

Whether you’re paying with cash or with your time, SEO will cost you

Like most things, people will always analyse whether it’s worth the investment. Some may even go on to say that it is a complete waste of time. Just publish your website and move on with your life. 

But is this realistic, and can it lead to growth without a heavy focus on SEO?

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What Our Studies Show

We conducted an extensive study to analyse what business owners and media professionals think about the relevance of SEO in 2023. The study was anonymous, with respondents only giving us their professional background and information about their SEO knowledge. 

On top of this, we also interviewed business owners who have invested in SEO to share their experiences with this important marketing strategy. 

Here’s what we found: 

Infographic showing statistics about the relevance of SEO
The results of this new study reveal that over 54% of business owners and media professionals took an online course to learn about SEO. This included courses that taught them how to write better blogs, improve their link-building strategies, etc. This statistic shows that a majority of website owners invest their time in learning how to improve things on their own. This is an important thing to take note of because it means that SEO is not only relevant for the work they do, but they are also willing to learn about it themselves to improve their skill sets. Another interesting finding is that 60.8% of the people who took some sort of SEO course thought that it was worth it. That’s a pretty high number of people who are satisfied with their time investment because that knowledge has paid off and helped them in their businesses or websites in some way. Our study found that 82% of business owners and media professionals believe that SEO will still be relevant in the next five years. This can explain why over 50% took the time to learn about it themselves so that they could keep up with the times. Dan Nutter, the SEO Director at the performance brand agency Journey Further, put it best. Mr. Nutter described SEO as “a full-funnel marketing approach with multiple brand and commercial benefits. The three critical pillars of SEO (technical, content, and digital PR) ensure your online presence is optimised for your target audience.SEO has commercial benefits, which is why 60.8% of business owners and media professionals said that taking a course in SEO was worth it. SEO includes digital PR, content marketing, and technical SEO that all fall under one objective: to optimise your brand website to reach your target audience. How can something like that lose relevance? Mr Nutter continues, “Don’t let poor quality examples of SEO fool you into thinking it isn’t worth your time; good SEO will build your brand and is a critical factor in ensuring your success online.”Here’s what else this new study showed:
Infographic showing statistics about the relevance of sEO
More findings in this study show that 78% of business owners and media professionals plan to learn more about SEO in the next five years. And 48% of business owners plan to spend more money on improving their websites’ SEO in the next five years. The next five years will bring new challenges and hurdles in the media landscape, and an overwhelming majority of business owners and media professionals plan to get ahead of that by spending more time learning about SEO and spending money on improving their websites. This can be in the form of improving content marketing strategies, digital PR, and even technical SEO strategies as well. The fact remains that SEO is a huge pillar in this industry, and its relevance is unlikely to wane. Another important finding from this study shows that 78% of business owners and media professionals agree that newly published websites need to focus on SEO to drive growth. This growth can be in the form of inbound inquiries, organic traffic, or high website rankings. Regardless of which one it is, SEO can drive growth to a website and make it more visible to its target audience. Which business owner wouldn’t want that? According to the co-founder of Type Face Group, Natalie Welch, “Semrush estimates that the average business drives 53% of its traffic through organic search.” Ms Welch continues, “While SEO costs money, treat it like a marketing channel rather than some dark magic that happens.”Ms Welch encourages other business owners to consider this: “The real question is can you afford not to consider SEO? This is because, unlike some marketing channels, SEO touches every part of your digital marketing efforts. And with it, you will know where to focus your energy best.”

The Verdict: Is SEO a Waste of Time?

This new study found that 78% of business owners and media professionals believe that SEO will still be relevant in the next five years. 

Billions of websites are being published every week, and it’s almost impossible to get your website ranking on page 1 for your niche without giving Google what it needs. 

Imagine publishing a website, working hard on sharing important information, and not being able to put it in front of your target audience. Doing this is a waste of time. 

The important thing is to stay ahead of the competition. Every industry has competitors, and they’re spending time and money improving their SEO, so you should too. 

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Pearl Kasirye

Pearl Kasirye

Pearl M. Kasirye is the Head of PR at Pearl Lemon Group. She is also a researcher and writer whose expertise in digital marketing, digital PR, and content marketing.