One of the least common questions potential new customers of ours ask is whether search engine optimisation is a good fit for their business.

Often, they may have been sold an SEO service in the past that has not lived up to expectation or they may have heard of huge success stories as a result of using SEO from their acquaintances.

Just because one business has seen massive success from using search marketing does not mean that it is suitable for every business and that’s one of the reasons we are so strict about our clients completing our discovery form. It allows us to assess the suitability of an SEO campaign for their business and make estimations as to the expected return on investment.

How Do I know If SEO Is A Good Fit For My Business?

Like any form of marketing there are costs associated with search marketing – and like any form of marketing, you will usually be looking for that marketing to provide a return on the initial investment.

There are three key factors we use to determine the suitability of a business for SEO – and whilst we do consider other aspects, these are the ones that are usually the deal makers or the deal breakers:

  • The number of searches per month and potential for new customers through organic search
  • Lifetime value of each new customer acquired
  • The potential cost and timescale of the campaign

Search Volume

Sometimes our clients will have an idea of what ranking in position one might mean for their business. If it is a local company, they might have an idea of how well a competitor is doing from ranking position one. But we like to back this up with facts and statistics.

We usually operate on a conversion rate of around 0.5% – 1% and although conversion rates can differ hugely from industry to industry and website to website – we use this as a starting point.

So if a search term has 1000 searches per month, position 1 should attract around 40% of that traffic (statistically speaking) which would be 400 hits per month on site. This would equate to between 2 and 4 new customers per month based on the conversion rate mentioned.

We do also have to take in to account search intent and any data the client already has around conversion. If they tell us their site converts cold traffic at 5% then of course the forecast for increased revenue is wildly different. We also know that searches with more buyer intent behind them will convert better.

For example – someone searching for ‘best electrician in Birmingham’ is more likely to convert to a customer than someone searching for the term ‘electrician’. Just the word ‘best’ gives you an idea that they are indeed looking for the best person for the job – right now. The keyword ’emergency electrician in Birmingham’ is also going to have a very high buyer intent behind it and a higher conversion rate.


The lifetime value of each customer is key to making a judgement on whether SEO will work for a business. If each new client is worth £5,000 over their customer lifecycle then acquiring 2-4 new customers per month would be worth £10,000 – £20,000 newly acquired business coming in per month. However, if each new customer was worth £500 lifetime value then the business is going to need 10 times more traffic to generate the same level of return from SEO. How long that lifecycle lasts is another thing to consider as this will impact on how quickly the investment can be recouped.

Essentially, SEO is a long term investment but that doesn’t mean a client should wait 12 months before they see a return. At Rise Online, we attack long tail keywords (or the low hanging fruit as we like to call it) first to allow quicker gains, whilst going after the trophy keywords in the longer term.

Despite this, anyone new to SEO should be preparing for a few months of no to little return on investment. We explain to clients that they should expect to see returns after a set timeframe (although it is often sooner) so they can budget accordingly.

If there is simply not enough search volume to warrant an SEO campaign then we will explain this from the outset.

Cost and Time

The final key factor when assessing suitability for search engine optimisation is how much a campaign will cost and how long it should be expected to run for.

We have clients that range from £250 per month and clients that pay us in excess of £1500 per month. That is a significant investment for any business and it doesn’t suit all business models. If you are an e-commerce store selling penny sweets and very few people are searching for your product then it is not feasible to invest even £250 per month. Although that is an extreme example it illustrates the point well. On the other hand, if you are selling gold bars at £10,000 each and you make a profit of £5,000 on each – then you only need a small number of sales to make it worth investing in excess of £1,500 per month.

Essentially, the cost and time of a project come down to the websites of the competition and the authority your own website already has in relation to the industry.

We always estimate timeframes and give costings from the outset.

Again, the business will need to budget accordingly as it is often 6-9 months before an SEO project will break even – although this is very much dependent on the individual company.

Hopefully that will give you an idea of how we assess suitability for a company to engage in a fully managed SEO service. If you have further questions then please do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call, or fill out our discovery form to find out if your business is suited to SEO – the link is in the menu. publishes all our SEO articles on our Google+ page – for more information please give us a call on 0121 240 3837