During uncertain economic times like these, our advice is to always stick with the fundamentals to maintain business efficiency and progress. No matter what your business model, performing the fundamentals will keep you on-track and in-line for leveraging future success.
If the C-level executives in your company are having any doubts about the value of SEO and are hesitating to release more funding, it’s time to perform a cost-benefit exercise. It’s your job as an in-house SEO manager to reestablish their confidence in the value of SEO as well as your value and the value of your team.
When funding gets in the way, having a narrow focus, putting it on the table, and describing company goals you are committed to are all very important.
1) Leverage Your Paid Search Data
To demonstrate implicit value for SEO, start with a baseline. Show where your key terms currently rank in organic and multiply by the cost-per-click value. Run the numbers for the value of direct clicks with high search intent.
One way to go about this is to calculate an Effective Cost-Per-Click (eCPC) for your organic listings:
- Access the Keyword Tool within your Google AdWords account.
- Type your best performing (for instance, 20) keywords.
- Select descriptive words or phrases and synonyms.
- Click Get Keyword Ideas.
This will produce a report; select Exact within the “Match Type” field and click on Approx Avg Search Volume.
- Look at the Cost-Per-Click column to acquire the CPC value (let’s assume it’s $2.00).
- Go to your web analytics data and identify the number of organic clicks for these keywords (let’s assume 20,000/month).
- Multiply the two (CPC times the number of organic clicks (in this case $40,000/mo)).
- Create a spreadsheet with your best performing keywords and make the statement, “if we paid for this organic traffic it would cost us $40,000 per month. This is your SEO eCPC.
Our internal research tells us that about 56% of search engine users are clicking on the top four organic listings while about 15% of users are clicking on the paid ads. This means you will also stand to benefit from additional traffic when your organic listings for targeted keywords are in the top four vs. poor organic performance.
2) Leverage Your Content And Social Network
Most businesspeople acknowledge a competent SEO strategy is mandatory to be competitive in today’s online marketplace. A long list of studies we’ve collected over the years attest to this. For instance:
- Search has the lowest cost-per-lead of any marketing strategy (Piper-Jaffray PowerPoint presentation)
- Search marketing is cost-effective in terms of conversions and ROI (Marketing Sherpa)
- Not only does search traffic drive offline sales (Yahoo!), organic traffic yields more conversions (Marketing Sherpa)
- 60% of searchers click on an organic link over a sponsored link (iProspect & Jupiter Research)
- Organic clicks outnumber PPC clicks by 5:1 (Marketing Sherpa)
Most recently, we are seeing third-party surveys record ranges between 56% and 70% of Internet users begin a shopping quest on a search engine before buying a product or service. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, there are 157 million active Internet users in the U.S., and 127 million of them are active search engine users. Let’s spare any more numbers; it’s easy to show your C-level execs that they can’t afford to miss all the potential opportunities with organic links.
Now that we have Google universal search with its demand for the indexing and ranking of vertical content (blogs, video, news, images and products), and all the user-generated content from social computing and networking, search engines are gathering new sources of traffic. So you must continue by optimizing your blogs, press releases, videos, images, and all the content creation that’s relevant for your business and consumers.
Explain to your C-level management that while you are doing this and creating secondary sources of traffic, you are also increasing your visibility in the SERPs. This in itself is cost effective. In addition, you can economize by consolidating your optimization tactics through implementing best practices across all of your content channels (blogs, video, news, images and products).
While the global economic crisis is preying on the minds of both companies and consumers, SEO is a top-performing marketing tactic that has a history of producing large dividends. It’s time to stand behind your SEO strategy so it continues to perform during periods of consumer belt-tightening and waning consumer confidence.
Paul J. Bruemmer has provided search engine marketing expertise and in-house consulting services to prominent American businesses since 1995. As Director of Search Marketing at Red Door Interactive, he is responsible for the strategic implementation of search engine marketing activities within Red Door’s Internet Presence Management (IPM) services. The In House column appears on Wednesdays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.