Created on May 11, 2022 | Updated on September 15, 2023

When Is the Best Time to Invest in SEO? What to Prefer: SEO or Paid Ads?

SEO Articles
investing in seo

Every company, regardless of its size, at some point in time, wonders when it's the right time to start investing in SEO.

And that's no surprise. We all know that SEO is responsible for your company's visibility online. And without this element, you cannot succeed in today's life. Yet, search optimization has a lot more to offer.

According to statistics, 49% of marketers claim that organic search has the best ROI compared to other marketing channels. On top of that, it cuts customers' acquisition costs and helps achieve marketing goals.

And while this strategy is so effective, today, we'll figure out when you should make some SEO investments.


What is SEO?

Before jumping to SEO ROI, its usage, and so on, let's get down with some basics.

SEO is short for search engine optimization. Basically, it's the unity of strategies designed to spiff up the appearance and positioning of web pages in organic search results.

Organic search is the most common way how people find and access online content. So, as we've mentioned earlier, SEO is a must-have practice if you want to get discovered on the web.

Besides, search optimization is essential in terms of attracting traffic to your website. Also, it can influence traffic quality and quantity.

You should be really accurate and precise with your SEO. That's because search engines will show only those pages that they think are relevant to users' queries.

Of course, there are lots of algorithms search engines use to rank web pages. You can check what SEO specialists think to be useful SEO factors.

ranking factors in google's algorithm


Based on them, you can fine-tune your off-site, on-page, on-site, and also technical SEO.

We advise you to check these beginner or advanced SEO guides to learn more about SEO.

And now, let's move to the next part. There you will learn when it's the right time to start SEO investments.

So when is the best time to start investing in SEO?

1. As soon as your paid ads start to "pay off" with at least -20%

That means you can employ SEO when each $1,000 spent brings you at least $800. This is already enough to start investing in search optimization since SEO return on investment is much better than paid ads one.

Yet, you can do it only if you've got enough budget for both - your business spending and SEO investments - for up to a minimum of six months. That's because SEO is a long-term, not a short-term investment.

investing in SEO

2. If paid ads don't pay off well or don't pay off at all

SEO pays off much better in the long term. And if you do it right, you'll be getting more and more return on investment and spending less and less. Let's calculate SEO ROI real quick.

With paid ads, you can achieve approximately 100%, sometimes 200% ROI, on each invested dollar. Nevertheless, with SEO, you can get something like 1000%, 3000%, 5000%, and more ROI in each invested dollar. And it'll go even more beneficial with time as the power of your website becomes really strong.

That means the more quality backlinks you have, the more pages with unique and well-optimized content you've got, then the more power and trust your website will have in the eyes of search engines.

time to invest in seo

3. If you cannot keep increasing your paid search strategy spending, invest more in SEO

For most businesses in paid ads, there are quite low upper limits that they can afford. That's because, at first, the more the company pays, the more it gets. Yet, it happens only until businesses reach that cost per click or cost per mile (CPM) level that is too high for them.

Once that happens - switch to SEO because in SEO, the more you invest, the more you get - it is a lifetime rule without any limits at all. With any paid ads, limits are reached in the first year for most online businesses.

However, with SEO, there is literally an unlimited market and a list of opportunities for you to keep increasing your traffic for more and more keywords, more and more separate articles, and landing pages. That will also work for totally new websites in your niche, created especially for the purpose of SEO traffic and conversion of that traffic into your customers.

seo investment

What to choose: SEO or paid traffic?

The most important idea - do what pays off faster on a first-to-first basis. Do what's easier to do and what yields results as quickly as possible. It's very important in the early stages of the business so that you don't get blown out from the market. Moreover, it is well known that:

  1. 20% of businesses close in the first year.
  2. Up to 45% of businesses - in the first five years.
  3. All ideas and plans always take at least three times longer and three times more money than you initially think and plan - no matter how much time you spend on planning.
  4. 20% of all your time & money spent gives you 80% of the results.
  5. This means that the rest of 80% of efforts and money invested in the improvement of anything (product, landing page, sales copy, etc.) provides just 20% of results. That’s why don't overpay for this 20% of results by investing 80% of your time & money for at least in the first three years. Don’t do this until you become strong enough to afford that.

So, keeping this in mind, you can compare SEO vs. PPC efforts and decide what fits you better. As we've mentioned earlier, paid ads represent quick results, while SEO is a long-term investment.

seo services


As you can see, you can engage in SEO almost at any stage of your business development. Yet, the most preferred option is to invest in search optimization after you attract the first customers with the help of paid ads.

Search engine optimization gives you an amazing opportunity to make your business visible online. Correct keyword research and targeting ensure your site receives quality traffic. And backlinks will help you rank on the first page of the search.

Now we'd like to hear from you. Do you find these pieces of advice helpful? How do you balance SEO and PPC management for your site? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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