The answer is, of course, it depends.
Okay, that was a joke. But several factors have made SEO such a popular tactic for business growth.
It’s also becoming a very desirable career path.
But why is this?
When I first started in SEO, it was a very shady discipline.
There’s a view that most of SEO was black-hat back then, and to an extent, that’s entirely true.
It was very hacky, and there was a lot of trying to trick the algorithm.
Today SEO is incredibly popular. Anyone can learn how to do SEO. Let’s look at why.
SaaS is massive
SaaS has become incredibly big in the last few years. One-person SaaS companies now exist. Larger SaaS companies are more prevalent, and this is having a significant impact on the growth of SEO
The SaaS market is growing by 18% each year.
At its very core, SaaS exists to solve problems simply and effectively.
When people have a problem, what do they usually do?
That’s right. They Google it. This effect has led to many new and existing SaaS companies wanting to be at the top of the search results for these terms.
SEO is a vital part of their user acquisition and other strategies. This has led to a considerable amount of interest in SEO.
Ecommerce is growing, and anyone can do it
I don’t know about you, but since the start of the pandemic, many people have been starting side hustles.
Many of these are in the form of eCommerce. Product discovery through search is one of the critical methods of discovery.
But it’s not just a trend that started through the pandemic.
In fact, the growth of eCommerce can be linked to the growth of SEO.
For eCommerce and DTC companies, it’s been a good few years. Online stores and affiliate sites are all interested in SEO because they know they will generate more revenue if they improve their SEO.
This demand has led to increased sourcing of SEO consultants and other SEO professionals. It’s also led to increased SEO hiring.
The ROI on SEO is insane
One of the main drivers behind the recent rise in SEO is that it’s just incredible from an ROI perspective.
SEO is often said to be free. That’s not true, but you can see why people say it.
It’s by far the most effective cost-per-acquisition channel.
When people say that SEO is free, what they really mean is that there’s no expenditure.
There’s an indirect cost, of course. You need to pay a salary, and there are tools and other small costs.
But SEO doesn’t require vast outlets of capital as, say, paid Ads do.
This makes SEO an incredible investment for a huge range of businesses.
Couple this with the fact that many businesses have been struggling since the pandemic, and you can see why SEO is gaining popularity.
Ads are more commonly seen as ads
The short of ads is this: they aren’t as effective these days.
The cost of ads is so high because there’s only so much ad inventory.
Privacy and other broader issues mean that ads are coming under increasing scrutiny.
But the crux is that users understand what an ad looks like, and many people are now averse to clicking these ads. Or they at least know that it may not be the best result for their problem.
Therefore it makes sense to invest in low-cost channels such as SEO.
So, the reason that SEO is so popular right now:
- The growth in SaaS is driving demand for SEO
- Ecommerce is growing very quickly
- SEO is a low ROI channel
- Ads are less effective and cost a lot
Will we see the continued growth of SEO over the next few years? Only time will tell!
James is an SEO consultant based in London. Working with clients around the world to get more traffic from search.