Advantages and Disadvantages of SEO

Advantages and Disadvantages of SEO10 min read

Advantages and disadvantages of SEO

As your business grows, you will understand the importance of having an online presence and ranking first on Google search results. This is where Search Engine Optimization(SEO) comes in. So now you start asking yourself, “Do I really need to invest in SEO?”. Before making a clear decision, it’s essential to consider the pros and cons of implementing SEO in your Business. In most cases, implementing SEO will lead to positive results.

Before deciding whether you should implement SEO or not in your business, it is crucial to understand what SEO is and what advantages/disadvantages come with it.

What is SEO?

In simple terms, Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is the technique of ranking a website on the first page of Google(or other search engines) search results. This helps the website get more visitors and helps generate new leads. And, any SEO campaign starts with keyword research and finding keywords to rank for.  

To understand SEO, we must understand why users use search engines. There are three major types of search engines:

  • Informational- This is when users are looking for information or more information on a given topic.
  • Navigational: This is when the user is looking for a link to some website or brand.
  • Transactional: This is when the user has the intention of buying some product/service.
types of user search intent

To sum it up, understand the user’s search intent and produce/optimize content according to the user’s needs and provide value to them.

Advantages of using SEO

SEO can be an advantageous technique in your marketing toolkit. The advantages of SEO outweigh its disadvantages. Let’s look at the pros of implementing an SEO strategy.

Better User Experience (UX)

Search Engine Optimization helps improve your website’s User Experience. UX includes providing your audience with relevant information, media to support the content and make navigation easy on your website.

factors affecting user experience

Brings in new leads

SEO is a type of Inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing strategy focuses on attracting customers or leads via company-created content, which provides value to them.

Inbound marketing includes search engine optimization, social media, referrals, content marketing, and many more. 

Lead generation

Higher conversion rates

Top ranking on Google(or any other search engines) search results can ensure high conversion rates. Therefore, your target audience will be aware of the services your business provides.

If SEO is implemented properly, it can increase conversion rates up to 14.6%. For comparison. Traditional methods such as print ads and direct mail have an average conversion rate of 1.7%.

increasing Conversion rate

Promotes better cost management

Search Engine Optimization lowers your advertising costs. When you are dominating Google search results, there is no need to invest in paid ads or advertise your product/services. Your business will be on top of search engine results.

Since search engine optimization is an inbound marketing strategy, it doesn’t need additional costs. In contrast, outbound marketing strategies such as cold calling and direct selling include additional costs.

optimized cost management

“Where to buy” and “near me” mobile queries have grown by over 200% in the past two years.


Nowadays, people search online before going out to buy something. For example: If you want to see the best Chinese restaurants near you.

local search for Chinese restaurants

These are the top Chinese restaurants near me when searching for “best Chinese restaurants near me.” Users are most likely to visit one of the top restaurants. Local SEO can help bring your business to the top of the search results.

Builds brand credibility

Top rankings on Google search results give users the impression that you are one of the top players in the industry. It also shows your popularity. In contrast, if you rank low in google search results, people might think you don’t have any authority and probably don’t have the budget to customize your website.

brand credibility

Establishes brand awareness

Brand awareness is the extent to which customers can recognize a brand. In simple terms, it refers to how familiar your target audience is with your products/services.

Search Engine Optimization makes sure search engines easily find your business/brand. Topping the search results for the services you provide will ensure increased visibility of your brand. Also, users are more likely to click on your website if it occupies the top rankings of search results.

brand awareness

Makes your website more mobile-friendly

Mobile accounts for approximately half of web traffic worldwide. In the first quarter of 2021, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 54.8 percent of global website traffic, consistently hovering around the 50 percent mark since the beginning of 2017. 


SEO improves the user experience, and one of Google’s ranking factors includes mobile friendliness. Therefore, mobile-friendly sites will lead to a better user experience and help you rank higher up in google searches.

Rise of mobile traffic

Improves website speed

The loading speed of your website can affect your search engine rankings. To promote better User-Experience(UX), Google encourages websites to have lower load times. And Search Engine Optimization focuses on increasing the website’s speed and providing the users a better user experience.

Web site load time statistics infographic

Gives you a competitive edge

Your business will grow after implementing an SEO campaign. If your competitors are using traditional methods, you are already miles ahead by using Search Engine Optimization.

Keep up with the changes in the digital world, and you will stay ahead of your competition.

competitive edge

Disadvantages of SEO

Takes time

The biggest problem with Search Engine Optimization is that it takes a lot of time to show substantial results. This is because the process of search engines indexing your website and then ranking it could take days or even months. So if you’re expecting instant results, it’s better if you don’t implement SEO.

Takes a lot of time to get an ROI

If the process of search engine optimization takes time, then it’ll take a long time to achieve a good Return on Investment(ROI). This might not be viable for small businesses that need immediate results; instead, they should invest that money to fund their operations.

Bigger investment is needed in highly competitive niches

Technically, SEO isn’t completely FREE. You might end up hiring external help to build backlinks and other SEO marketing activities, to get substantial results from your marketing efforts. Therefore, the higher the competition higher the investment.

It doesn’t guarantee results(especially 1st-page rankings)

75 percent of users stick to the first page of google results

Reaching the top rankings of Google search results is one of the main objectives of Search Engine Optimization. And, with the introduction of Google featured snippets, most of the time, users get the information without clicking on anything. Of course, SEO doesn’t ensure that you will land on the first page of Google. It can only help you improve your rankings.

Factor of Uncertainty

There are 200 factors in Google’s ranking algorithm that decide the rank of your post and how quickly it gets indexed. What you think matters in search rankings or SEO experts don’t matter because, at the end of the day, Google ranks your website according to its algorithm.

You have no control over how much organic traffic(traffic from search engines) you’re driving to your website from all your SEO efforts. Whereas in paid marketing or SEM(Search Engine Marketing), you get results according to how much you pay.

Risk of being penalized

Google constantly keeps updating its algorithm. For example, below, you can see the volatility of Google’s Search Engine Results Page(SERP) volatility over a period of 30 days. A few years back, Google used to value the number of backlinks, but now it values quality backlinks instead of low quality/spammy backlinks. Thus, websites with spammy backlinks get penalized by pushing them further down the rankings.

Recently Google’s new spam algorithm update was rolled out, which filters out spammy/malicious websites and penalizes them. In the SERP volatility image below, you can see the change in volatility after Google rolled out the spam algorithm update.

Google's SERP volatility over a period of 30 days

Key Takeaways

Summary of pros and cons of SEO

To sum it up, SEO is the top source of traffic for most websites and should be a part of any digital marketing strategy. However, like any other marketing strategy, even Search Engine Optimization campaigns need strategic planning.

To have success, one needs to understand the potential drawbacks of an investment. However, in the case of SEO, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

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