Is SEO really worth it in 2021?

Is SEO really worth it in 2021?6 min read

is SEO worth it in 2021

Of course, it is! Everyone knows the importance of ranking on Google’s first page. But the main question is, is it worth paying for SEO services. Any business owner or business professional should consider the pros and cons of Search Engine Optimization.

SEO has evolved tremendously and now requires more effort than just having great content. Especially in 2021, SEO is more important than ever, as companies and professionals are being forced to move their work/business online. In addition, most small businesses need SEO to improve their visibility.

There are some myths that SEO is some type of magical solution to all business problems. In reality, SEO is all about spotting trends and optimizing according to the change in algorithm of Google.

Introduction to Search Engine Optimization(SEO) and Search Engine Marketing(SEM)


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 search intent

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


Search Engine Marketing(SEM) is the paid form of SEO. It uses paid advertising to make sure your services or products are at the top of the search engine results. When a user searches for a query. SEM ensures your products/services are on top of the search results.

Example of paid ads

Paid Ads use Pay-per-click(PPC) pricing. PPC depends on many factors: where you’re purchasing the ad and which region you are targeting. The higher the price bid for the target keywords higher is the chances of showing up as the first result in Google search results.

Search Engine Marketing can get expensive for businesses in the long run.


Now we know SEO is free traffic, whereas SEM is paid traffic. Also, paid traffic or SEM provides quicker results. Now, you might think SEM is better than SEO because it delivers quicker traffic. Well, it isn’t that simple.

Traffic can be categorized into three main categories:

  • On-site traffic speed(sooner the better)
  • Quality of traffic(more conversions, the better)
  • Cost of traffic(cheaper the better)

SEO delivers slower traffic than SEM

In terms of traffic speed, paid traffic is much faster than SEO. However, when you carry out an SEO campaign on your website, you are trying to gain authority and traffic. So, when more users are aware of your website and the quality of content that you provide, they will become returning visitors.

Is SEO worth it in this case? So, if you want faster traffic to your website, you should prefer paid ads/SEM over SEO.

SEO provides higher quality visitors as compared to paid traffic

irrelevancy of search ads

Looking at the above screenshot, I am searching for SEO tools. Here, most users will skip the paid ad and click on the first search result of Google. And the first result which pops up is a paid ad about project management, which isn’t related to SEO tools. And on top of this, most users have some ad blocking extension on their browsers, which blocks ads. This shows people are fed up with ads.

According to a study by Jumpshot and Moz, organic desktop listings produce 20X more clicks than PPC ads, and organic mobile listings get 10X higher clicks than PPC ads.

Most users scroll past paid ads because organic results convey more trust than paid ads. This trust is carried over to your website, which is visible because of its organic ranking.

At the end of the day, if you are targeting the correct keywords and providing value to the visitors who visit your website, your conversions with organic listings will be more than using paid ads.

So, in this case, is SEO worth it? If you want quality traffic that has a higher rate of conversion. Then yes, SEO is absolutely worth it.

SEO is a cost-effective solution than Paid traffic

PPC means Pay per click. It means if you are running a paid ad campaign, you have to pay for the number of clicks that you receive on your advertised link. These paid ads can be anywhere from Google search, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, or any other platform.

Example of PPC bid pricing

Here the PPC bid range for the keyword insurance is Rs 1681 to Rs 5388; when converted to dollars, it is $22.6 to $72.5. So, you could end up spending $1 or as high as $72.5, maybe even more.

Whereas SEO services are not based on the number of clicks. Once your website lands on the first page of Google search results, you will start getting free organic clicks with high conversion chances. In PPC ads, you pay for every click, and you have no idea about the conversion rate.

Therefore, in this case, is SEO worth it? Looking at the cost of acquisition per lead of SEO, yes, SEO is worth it.  

statistics for SEO vs SEM

So, is SEO worth it in 2021?

If your marketing budget allows, consider investing in SEO services because SEO results take time to increase organic traffic. But, even though SEO campaigns are time-consuming, the results which you get are worth the time. And you will get more clicks than PPC ads. So your business will reap the benefits in the long run.

Combining both SEO and running paid ads will lead to enhanced visibility on the web.

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