Turning Search Engine Optimization into an Investment

When you stop to think about it, search engines, specifically Google, are really amazing things. With the simple click of a button, they reach out into the infinite world of the internet, displaying the most relevant results so that you can get the information you need. And they do this in less than a second. Incredible stuff.

But what’s the value here? This should be obvious. There are countless things people search for when their end goal is to spend money. They might be looking to book a foldaway shovel, buy some product, or sign up for a service. Or maybe they are in search of information that you provide.

No matter the reason, whenever you have a website that drives consistent traffic through search results, you are sitting on a nice source of income, or if you are lucky, a goldmine.

But how can you approach this from the standpoint of an investment? Optimizing pages and sites for search engines is an imperfect science, so understanding how it works is critical to you having success investing in the digital world.

Buying and Selling Websites

There are two main ways to make money when investing in the digital world. Either you generate some sort of day-to-day revenue from your site, or you buy and sell them, taking steps to add value to them so that you can fetch a better price.

Which approach you take depends on a couple of factors. If you are looking for a sustained income, then you will probably want to invest in a website you plan on running and managing. You can set things up so that you only need to dedicate a little time each week to making things run, bringing you a nice income on the side.

The other way you could do things is to try and flip sites. This involves buying a site, revamping it and improving it in some way, and then selling it for a profit. The margins here can be great, but you need to have a strong understanding of what makes a business valuable, and you also need to have the resources to invest in any changes or upgrades the site may need.

No matter which approach you take, SEO will play a major role in determining the return you get on your investment.

Understanding Where Value Comes From

To make money investing online using SEO, you need to understand where the value comes from. There are really two sources: content and links.

For Google to put your site at the top of search results, you need to have quality content that is useful and engaging. This is usually measured with what is called the bounce rate, which measures the amount of time people spend on your site. The idea is that the longer people hover on one page, the more drawn they are to your content, meaning that it is serving the purpose people wanted it to.

The other component, links, is a little trickier. Google basically says that pages and sites that have lots of links to them must have some level of authority, since people are placing their trust in them by exposing them to their readers. The number and type of links directing to your site will be a major factor in determining your search engine results page (SERP) position.

But Google places different values on different links. For example, if you are a small business website, it will look on a link from Entrepreneur much more favorably than a link from Joey’s Business Blog.

So, what does this mean for investing?

Well, when searching for sites to invest in, you’ll want to look for ones that have one or the other component. A site with great content can draw links to it if you market it appropriately, and a site with a strong backlink profile will make it easier to rank for high-value keywords when you optimize its content.

If you find a site that has both, there is a chance it is already making a decent amount of money, and this might not be a great investment, as it will be tough to boost its value and get a significant enough return.

However, if you find a site with only one of these two components, you’ll be able to revitalize it and turn it into something profitable. You can either hire people to manage it and enjoy the steady income, or you can turn around and sell it to someone looking to invest in a highly-functional and successful online business.

Investing in the digital world can be highly lucrative, if you know what it is you are looking for. Focusing in on search engine optimization will help you determine the value and identify potentially very profitable investments.

About the Author: Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, a brokerage service specializing in the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses. He has been investing digitally since the beginning of his career as a way to make money on the side. Now, it is his full-time job.

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