For most businesses in the UK, SEO has the highest ROI for any marketing effort. The revenues & profits it provides exceed the value of other marketing approach including paid search (Adwords), Facebook or using eBay (12%) or Amazon(15%).
Pound for pound SEO provides lasting value and its returns on cash invested can last long into the future. However this does not mean that every marketing pound spent on SEO is a wise investment.
How to waste money
A number of SEO Agencies have strategies that lower the ROI from SEO by adopting strategies that far from improve a client's website actually improve other business' websites.
Example: Benedict runs 22 article submission websites that are built by unique content produced by SEO companies on behalf of their clients. For the price of providing a single back link you have successfully increase the ad revenue we receive.
Common SEO strategies that we are sure you are familiar with in fact mostly depend on adding content and even providing images to websites that the client does not own. Think Facebook; when you add content to Facebook you do still retain the IP rights, however the reality is that you have enriched another company traffic.
The internet is actually a very small place.
In the UK if you wanted a particular domain (radio.co.uk, vcm.co.uk) the vast majority are owned by less than 50 people. In the States the players are larger, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft, however the same companies own parts of each other. Microsoft will take your software budget whilst owning a 2% slice of Facebook. Amazon whilst taking its commission off your product sales is also a seed investor of Twitter and will take ad revenue there.
The point we are making is that to gain the best ROI from SEO take a larger slice of the pie in your market. Focus on building value for the company's overall internet presence.
What about backlink etc. though?
Instead of paying an SEO company to trawl the internet looking for websites to build on theme links, blog posts etc, you might be better advised to spend money on creating your very own part of the internet.
How? By creating new websites on theme, that could target long tail or geo targeted keywords (local search) or international websites to break into new markets. All of these sites could be used for backlink that would not only be on theme, they would be controllable and more importantly create longer term value to the company as an assets not a cost.
But what about the Expense?
What about the expense of NOT doing it. Domains and hosting cost pennies, websites from a £200, content from £10 per page. For a few hundred pounds you put a new website onto the internet. Your core website creates the backlink necessary for the site to rank for long tail keywords.
Making American companies richer, Google, Amazon and eBay!