Search engine optimization is constantly evolving. Due to the constantly changing rules of SEO, many people consider it a waste of time, while others spend huge amounts of money to keep up.
This inevitably leads to the question: Is search engine optimization worth the effort, or not?
There are two factors that determine the viability of SEO:
Firstly, it is a matter of potential return on investment. This, in turn, is a complex calculation involving the number of monthly searches for what you have to offer, the number of competing websites and their rankings in Google, and the potential lifetime value of any newly acquired customer or client.
Keep in mind that SEO is an ongoing expense - not only because the rules of the proverbial game keeps changing, but also because your competition may constantly work on improving their websites. In addition to that, the way that people use search engines keep evolving all the time.
A number of years ago, John Doe would go online and search for "second hand cars". Today, however, he is more likely to search for "2012 Corolla for sale". While it means that your content needs to be increasingly specific, it also opens up new possibilities, which in turn reduces costs.
Longer phrases tend to have less competition in the search results, so it will be easier and cheaper to rank your website for a number of longer, more specific phrases than to rank for a broader phrase. While it will attract less traffic, the visitors will be more targeted, and more likely to buy because they already know what they are looking for.
If this is still not worth it, you may want to consider simply using Google Adwords to have your business seen right at the top of the search results. Click here for more information about it.
Secondly, the viability of search engine optimization depends on the techniques you apply. If you employ the wrong SEO company, you could end up with a problem in a year or two - as was the case when Google started penalizing website owners for having spammy and low quality inbound links.
If, however, you choose to rely more on a combination of quality content and on-page optimization, combined with a slow but steady acquisition of quality backlinks and steady social activity, your website will be more "future-proof", and future algorithm changes are less likely to have an impact on your site and your wallet.