SEO in 2020

The Cost of Delaying a Modern SEO Strategy

The nature of modern search engines and the rapid evolution of SEO in recent years have made putting off modern SEO a costly mistake.
May 19, 2020

If you’ve been putting off an updated SEO strategy, you may be sabotaging your marketing ROI.

technical seo disaster

Whether you’re leading a marketing department at an enterprise-level organization, or you’re a startup trying to grow a brand, you’re always trying to optimize the marketing budget. You’re constantly weighing options and trying to prioritize.

SEO has the potential be the company’s most efficient, highest-ROI channel—no matter what industry or business you’re in:

  • More than 80% of purchase decisions start with an organic web search.
  • And 45% of searchers click on an organic result. (Only about 4% click on an ad.)
    Because decision makers consider search the most influential resource—even above vendor websites and peer reviews.

But you need to start soon.

Unlike other channels—such as PPC or email marketing—SEO isn’t a switch that marketers can just flip on. And delaying SEO doesn’t lock your target audience out of search in the meantime: They’re still searching. They’re just finding your competitors in the meantime.

Delaying a modern SEO strategy or campaign is costly and risky, because of the nature of machine learning search algorithms and the rapid evolution of SEO.

modern seo strategy

SEO Growth is Gradual

Search engines have always tried to deliver the very best content at the top of organic results for each and every query they process. Over the last 10 years, Google’s machine learning algorithms cracked the code, and rendered all of the SEO quick tricks and one-size-fits-all checklists practically obsolete.

Because search algorithms now rely on user engagement, rather than rote content characteristics, the machine learning process of identifying the best content is a slow, authentic process of gradually adjusting rankings, monitoring behavior, and adjusting more.

It’s a process of testing. Google will elevate your page a little bit for a set of queries, see how users respond, and then—if users favor it—elevate it a little more.

So when you tackle modern (not checklist) SEO, you will see significant growth compound over time—not jumps overnight.

Best-in-class content will start to build momentum and grow faster, but it’s still a gradual process. Thus, top-quality SEO content is primarily measured not by how quickly it spikes in rankings and traffic, but by how steadily it grows and how long it stays on top.

successful seo graph

Warning: This does not mean that modern SEO is about publishing content and then sitting back to hope that it eventually starts driving traffic in a year or so. “Eventually” is too often a cop-out in SEO, and a caveat for trying to avoid accountability. A modern SEO strategy should start to demonstrate movement in two to three months, and you should notice growth by six months.

What it does mean, though, is that the longer you wait to get started, the later that business growth will come. Delaying an SEO strategy or campaign doesn’t force users and search engines to wait: Buyers are still using search and they’re still finding your competitors. Don’t get caught sleeping.

Your SEO Strategy Needs to Shift

Marketers who have not been keeping close tabs on search engines and SEO for the past three to five years will have some catching up to do.

SEO is no longer a simple strategy that a digital marketer can just flip on. That old SEO content checklist that has been gathering dust is no longer effective (and everyone else has it now anyway).

SEO has fundamentally shifted from an inward focus to an outward focus. Working, head down, on the brand’s content, looking at checklists, and matching keywords doesn’t drive organic traffic anymore. Modern SEO requires looking up and out at competitor content, and at how users and search engines are understanding keywords.

Organic search, today, is a competition. There are thousands of contenders, but only a few winners, because earning organic traffic means being one of the top three (maybe five) pages, on the entire web, for any need that a user brings to organic search.

That means most brands and companies need to update their SEO strategies as well—especially if they’ve had SEO campaigns and projects on hold lately.

seo strategy guide

The traditional method of churning out good enough content “optimized” against a standard checklist no longer impacts rankings or organic traffic.

Updating those internal strategies and re-tuning the company’s internal SEO machine may take time. The sooner you start, the better.

And producing “good enough for now,” old-school SEO content in the meantime is nothing but a waste of resources. It’s never going to reliably compete in organic search, and you’re never going to get those hours or dollars back. Outdated SEO strategies are draining the marketing department’s resources for little, or insufficient, return.

Reclaim the Digital Marketing ROI

Any delay in modernizing and launching an SEO campaign is automatically compounded, simply because of the nature of organic search. It also means leaving the competition alone with your target audiences in the world’s most active marketplace.

You need to get started now, because valuable SEO growth takes time (months, not years). And because you may have a bit of a learning curve to get around before you can even start the clock on content growth.

Profound Strategy has the framework and insights that can help you jump that curve and accelerate growth. When a lot of digital marketers were getting out of SEO, because it was getting complicated, our team dug in.

You can start learning with our CMO’s Guide to Modern SEO, or you can get in touch for a free consultation, and we’ll show you exactly how the Profound team can create reliable, even predictable, SEO growth for your brand.

Nate Dame
Nate Dame
CEO and Founder
Nate is the founder and CEO of Profound Strategy, a results-oriented SEO consultancy trusted by forward-thinking companies, including a few of the world's largest B2B and technology brands. Profound Strategy builds holistic SEO strategies, supports internal teams, and offers full-service execution to create an organic search presence that generates significant revenue.

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