The Financial Justification For Search Engine Optimization

Every business grows by delivering value through products and services that fill a need, solve a problem or lead to a desired goal. To achieve this, your business must first be visible online to your ideal prospects.

Enter SEO.

Search Engine Optimization helps with this ‘findability’ problem. SEO can ensure that your business ranks high on search engines, attracts the right customers, showcases your value, and boosts profits continuously.

No Business Can Ignore SEO

Your prospects use the Web to research purchases. When a health-conscious family makes decisions worth $10,000 over the next 5 years based on information from a Google search, you need to be ‘discovered’ by that family – and millions like them in your market.

I conceived the term ‘SEOnomics‘ to meld SEO with economics, a process of maximizing profits and generating big business successes through SEO. Effective SEO interweaves technical elements of website optimization with buyer psychology to match a company’s objectives to the online environment.

Before formulating your strategy, ask yourself these questions:

  • Where are your customers on the Web?
  • How can they be reached effectively?
  • What is the least expensive way to impact them?
  • Which areas can be leveraged for synergy?
  • Which ‘tools’ are best? How to use them?

With a strategy harnessed to website architecture optimized for high search engine ranking, your business will be super effective in boosting sales and profits – if it has one more important element…

Understanding Visitor Intent

SEO can steer a business through rough economic seas, staying profitable despite recessions and downturns, if it is rooted in a deep understanding of visitor intent.

Knowing what your prospective customers want helps you deliver solutions they’ll happily purchase. SEO specialists get inside the mind of your typical customers, understand their desires, and craft a winning SEO strategy designed to capture their attention, nurture it into trust, and grow it into loyalty. Your prospect becomes a customer, then a repeat buyer, and ultimately a referrer and evangelist for your brand and business.

In this way, an intelligent SEO strategy will:

  • boost sales and bottom-line profit
  • reduce marketing expenses by enhancing effectiveness
  • increase insight and understanding into your clientele’s needs
  • leverage synergies with other marketing efforts.

SEO Targets ‘Low Hanging Fruit’ For Rapid Profitability

SEO is cost-effective in growing businesses. Many are content with a 2% sales conversion – or less. This means 98% of their marketing is wasteful! SEO can fix that by convincing non-buyers, targeting them at the point of sale.

According to Power Retail, 86% of in-store buyers conduct online searches before purchasing, and 80% rely on this information to make a decision. Even in B2B purchases, 52% of buyers surveyed admitted to researching purchases online. Effective SEO fills the needs of these website visitors and converts many into buyers.

SEO Is More Than A Traffic Machine – It’s A Conversion Crusher!

Tailoring your website to match what is in your prospect’s mind will speak straight to their deepest desires. Your SEO plan should target keywords, yet be powered by buyer psychology, understand buying cycles, and factor in the customer research process.

With this, you’ll skyrocket your sales conversion. Using powerful software tools to pick the right keywords is important. The transformative element, though, is tracking your customer’s behavior to learn what they want. This eliminates guesswork and can turbocharge your sales at low cost.

SEO Can Tell You Why Visitors Don’t Buy

SEO isn’t just about code – it’s about people.

If your business serves a huge market but your visitors aren’t buying, SEO can help you understand why – and show how to mirror their needs better. By creating laser focused landing pages which focus on the issues and problems your audience wants solved:

  • You’ll get accurate estimates of what clients want
  • You’ll identify what works better, and implement it to engage visitors
  • You’ll attract better prospects, sell them more, can price offers higher, and get delighted buyers to refer new business

SEO Is Friendly On Your Marketing Budget

SEO is effective even in difficult economic times because of its longevity. No one pulls the plug on effective SEO. Your efforts can bring in a steady, growing return on a modest investment for many years to come.

We know SEO is great for cost-effective brand building. Smart brand managers use SEO to deliver online ads at just the right time to engender trust and plant a seed that grows into a money tree. The right SEO strategy can even help a business secure funding, find investors, or build recognition for companies planning an IPO.

SEO Can Future-Proof Your Business’ Profitability

Global mobile data traffic is set to explode exponentially in the near future, with projections suggesting 26 times growth over the next 5 years.

While attracting a crowd of new buyers is a goal for mobile search optimization, another is managing brand reputation and controlling PR disasters such as the recent Toyota Camry story that went viral on the Web.

Currently, 91% of all mobile Internet use is “social”. Optimizing your website on the basis of visitor intent can help you win this high stakes battle for a prospect’s mind.

Every Business Needs SEO

The Financial Justification for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)It’s important to recognize, SEO is not a cost, but an investment. An investment in the future of any business. A cost-effective marketing method with high return that extends infinitely. From a purely economic perspective, SEO delivers value for years to come.

In the ultimate analysis, SEO is less about mechanics and has more to do with economics.

It’s about getting more people to your website, convincing them to take action, and turning them into customers, repeat buyers and raving fans. Your profit grows, your brand gains strength and your marketing message resonates in the marketplace, rippling out to reach newer audiences.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: All Things SEO Column | Channel: SEO


About The Author: is Head Of SEO at MediaCom Norway. He has over 10 years of experience specializing in digital strategy, e-commerce and SEO. Trond is the author of the books "Importance of SEO for Your Online Business" and "Power Social Media Marketing". He can be found on Twitter @TrondLyngbo.

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  • Grant Crowell

    “No business can ignore SEO.” True, but there’s another equally important question: Can businesses and consumers trust SEO? With Google pushing out the free organic results, with spam still a huge problem, and the FTC cracking down on backlinking companies – there needs to be more of a push to doing helpful content and engaging with others person-to-person, rather than being so fixated on chasing algorithms named after some exotic animal each new quarter.

  • Neil Ferree

    Nice post Trond. I didn’t coin the phrase but I have seen a spike in visits, mindmap downloads and slideshare views on various iterations I’ve produced for “social shares is the new seo”. Social Proof (ie) +1′s FB Likes, R/T’s etc. are a mild indicator of support for a digital asset, be it a slideshare ppt or a meister mind map or a simple blog post article. Social Shares while not the main metric for seo influence, is certainly picking up steam for growing an audience and being considered a thought leader in a niche market.

  • Sanket Patel

    Every business need SEO no one can ignore it it is true, SEO gives organic and free traffic so every one doing SEO for improving their SERP ranking of website. You said that it is a process of getting visitors and turning them into customers it is true but every business does not trust on SEO. So how we can increase effectiveness?

  • Martin Pezet

    Comments like: “Many are content with a 2% sales conversion – or less. This means 98% of their marketing is wasteful!” make me cringe, it’s just such a naive thing to say.  It’s not wasted as the same person may need to visit a website serval times before they convert depending on what point of their own buying cycle (e.g. the AIDA model) they are at.  You have to optimise for various points of the conversion funnel to maximise revenue and not just assume that someone that doesn’t convert immediately means you have “wasted” your spend.

  • Duncan Heath

    Have to agree Martin. Not to mention those that don’t buy, but do share your site/product, those that arrive accidently and would never have converted – but that you haven’t spent money getting, and those visiting your site for other reasons such as competitors, researchers, spammers etc. 

  • Pravin Kumar Gupta

    Used paid mediaum ! 

  • Pravin Kumar Gupta

    That great article ! Awesome ! Awesome 

  • Trond Lyngbø

    Grant, nice points. SEO needs to be consumer-friendly, for sure – and most forms of effective SEO do tend to be so. While striving to buy or fake back links may be a viable tactic in the short term, it is far better to receive geniune links that point to any content BECAUSE it adds value. The same applies to social signals, which can possibly be skewed through gaming in the short run, but that’s hardly a sustainable strategy over time. Maybe a nice corollary can be that “No business can avoid the style of SEO that’s consumer-centric!”

  • Trond Lyngbø

    Neil, I agree completely with you. Social signals are growing in importance. It isn’t quite as simple or straighforward as, say, back links from authority sites. But having a power-user of Twitter or Google Plus vote up your content will surely raise visibility – and be considered by a search engine to therefore indicate greater value to a target audience, leading it to be ranked higher on SERPs. I’ve written about it in another article too, called “Social Search: Dead On Arrival? Or On Life Support?”. Link:

    Best wishes,
    Trond Lyngbø

  • Trond Lyngbø

    Sanket, you’re right about not every business trusting SEO. Converting visitors into customers is a process that begins with a deeper understanding of what they are seeking at the point when they search online for a business’ primary keywords, and then constructing a landing page that addresses those needs, in a manner that builds trust and encourages them to take the next step. It involves some good old detective work, in the beginning – but the effort pays off in great measure over time.

    Best wishes,
    Trond Lyngbø

  • Trond Lyngbø

    Martin and Duncan, thanks for your comments.

    The “2% sales conversion” is, in many cases, the net result of all repeat visits! And without trust being fostered right from the beginning, it becomes an uphill battle to boost conversion rates, even over time.
    Of couse, fixing this is not easy, and nothing is black and white, or cast in stone.
    Social sharing and other activities enhance brand recognition and extend the reach of your marketing message. This, in turn (and over time), increases sales (or other desired results).
    It certainly is important to optimize different points on the sales/marketing funnel. And this requires that you have a good handle over your Web analytics. Then it isn’t such a big problem. But if you don’t know your numbers, or the path visitors take through your site, or how they behave at various pages or from various entry points to your site, then you’re on a fishing expedition and making wild guesses as to why conversion is so poor. That isn’t quite an enjoyable situation to be in.
    Web analytics alone won’t reveal every secret. But there are other devices (like surveys, asking simple questions at the point of sale or checkout page), tracking clicks and other forms of measurement that will add to the visitor experience, gradually leading them down a path of growing engagement, increasing trust, and eventually a ‘sale’. Just throwing more traffic at a non-performing page by going after a Google #1 ranking by hook or crook isn’t a winning strategy, imho.

    Best wishes,
    Trond Lyngbø

  • Alan

    Google is fixing all this for us. Soon all we will have to worry about as SEO’s is how big is our clients adwords budget.

  • cbarr81

    see below (edited)

  • cbarr81

    Trond – the search engines need to level the playing field so that both small businesses and national chains have access to the same information and ranking potential. Theoretically, every small business starts with an inherent disadvantage that, in some cases, is impossible to overcome.

    Further, in many cases Google keeps business owners completely in the dark as to why certain sites are penalized, removed from SERPs, or performing poorly. There is absolutely no consistency when it comes to indexing or penalizing sites.

    There are no “defense” arguments, these issues are occurring right now.

  • Justin Kofron

    The detective work is the step that is often missed. Seo’s or marketing managers view the analytics and see that a customer leaves the funnel, count it as a loss and move on. The time is not taken to understand why that customer exited, and that there is a correlation between that customer and other customers. Many Google Analytics users can tell you where the pageviews and visits are, but can they tell where to track your conversions?


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