Search engine optimization continues
to be shrouded in mystery,
particularly for small and midsize
have not invested
in it historically.
Enterprises that don’t
have much in the way
of organic (non-paid)
search engine traffic
have an uphill battle
and should be focusing
their efforts on content
production and community
page 37 for one idea).
But those blessed by
the search engines
with even modest levels of unpaid (i.e. natural or
organic) traffic can get even more traffic and further
separate themselves from the competition by
increasing their investment in traditional search engine
However, that’s not always an easy sell to those
One of the misconceptions about search engine
optimization is that it’s free. That is a problem that
frequently influences the people within an organization
who control budgets, leading them simply to
not invest and set aside an appropriate budget.
In reality, however, nothing could be further
from the truth. The reason is that SEO is not one
single activity but a culmination of processes,
skills and techniques — and people — that must
work in perfect harmony in order for an SEO campaign
to be effective. When more individuals and
more resources are involved, as any business
owner can tell you, the more something will cost.
Such is the issue with SEO today.
The problem stems, at least in part, from the
metrics that search engine optimization professionals
have used in the past to indicate success
or failure. Page-specific rank positions on search
results pages were once the standard means by
which you could show the value proposition of
SEO, but over time the industry has learned that
first-place rankings — particularly on obscure
search terms — don’t always equate to conversions
and revenue. The same issue applies for using
traffic metrics alone (e.g. unique visits) as an indicator
of SEO success, when a high volume of
traffic does not necessarily always equate to a high
volume of high-converting traffic.
But when those that hold the key to greater investment
in SEO see that certain keyword ranks
(and improvements to them) equate to some
measurable indicator of business performance,
revenue, for example, you are all but guaranteed
that SEO will have more attention and investment
paid to it — financial and otherwise. So, if you’re
now in the process of making the business case for
a greater investment in search engine optimization,
consider taking a different data-driven approach
and you’ll find your coffers filled to the
brim to use at your own discretion.
In order to properly make the case for a more
significant SEO investment, you will first need
to understand the marketing environment of the
enterprise. Without understanding what constitutes
a conversion (and further, how they should
be prioritized), what the ideal or effective cost per
sale for each product is, and yes, even further towards
being able to track and analyze performance
as related to conversions and revenue, you’re essentially
flying blind. Move forward without this
information at your own peril.
If there is one takeaway from this article, let it
be this: The key to securing greater investment
for the purpose of SEO is in knowing the value of
every visitor that arrives from an organic search.
What you are effectively doing is calculating the
revenue, the actual dollar value, of search engine
optimization efforts. If the paid search community
has done anything well, it is in their ability to
understand what a visitor is worth. They do this
by participating in a market where the value is defined
for them in the bid prices they pay.
Start there. If your enterprise is currently engaged
in paid search advertising, simply use the
cost per visitor values you already know as a baseline.
For example, if you can show that on average
a paid search visitor costs $0.50 and results in 100
conversions, but for the same number of conversions
a visitor from an organic listing costs just
$0.35, you’re building a very strong case.
Those controlling budgets want one thing — return.
When you can apply monetary value to organic
traffic as you can with paid search advertising
spend, people will not only sit up and pay attention,
they’ll smile when doing it and start writing checks
There’s much to know
about website migration
from an SEO
changing URLs, the
myriad CMS requirements
and lots more.
Jessica Bowman, CEO
of SEO in House, on
this topic in advance of
her recent SES New