The paid search market continues growing month-over-month and margins are shrinking. However, the majority of companies seem to avoid moving into SEO despite the popularity of the overall market size. Unless one jealous executive decides to react to another company that's doing well in their exclusive space.
SEO doesn't require a huge investment, unless you're working with a top-tier agency that charges an excessive amount of money to have a new hire learn how to do SEO at your company's expense in time and wasted resources.
Have you looked at your paid search bill lately? I've been shocked to see some of the bills that are being paid by many different companies and many different markets.
One option to see where your site lies and to figure out if the cost is too high is to have an audit performed of your site. Many SEO firms don't offer these services, except at a very expensive level. However, you can look at a consultant to come in and provide a one-time audit to help you see where you are and what it will take to get some decent exposure.
Often times, a simple rewrite of your URL structure can be enough to move your site into a position to be indexed by the search engines. Commonly, most front-end Web developers will fix a few sets of page types throughout the site. However, the search engines provide a score to the whole site that will determine what will be indexed due to site accessibility.
Thus, it's important not to just fix a few pages and try to hit up as many pages as possible. By skimping on the complete fix, you can create a large problem. For example, if all of your category pages leading up to your product or service pages are not properly built, but the product pages are properly constructed. The product pages will still not rank well, since the category pages will not allow the search engines to pass enough credit to these end pages in order to push them up in the rankings.
Other small issues that you can look at to see if you're moving in the right direction. Check to make sure that your navigation and pages are properly built with text links and easy to understand text. This can really help improve your site's accessibility to search engines.
Get an overall idea of how hard it is to navigate to pages on your site. Many sites mistakenly think that all users will search to find the pages on your site. In many cases, you're right. But search engines aren't populating your search engine with queries to find data.
They're measuring the experience from landing on the home page and navigating to different parts of the site. Thus, if a user has to click more than six times to find any page, it's most likely that it will never be included in the search results at a level where they can be found.
You may be thinking, "Well, that shouldn't be a problem. I'm putting everything in my Google Sitemap file." Yes, this will expose the page to the search engine, but it won't push it up in the results because they're still measuring the user experience from your home page. Thus, make sure that you are covering all of your bases.