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SEOnomics: A New Way Of Thinking About SEO For Business
SEOnomics (pronounced ‘see-oh-nomics’) is a term I conceived to meld SEO with economics, but in a style and fashion not usually covered by traditional SEO experts. SEOnomics interweaves elements of SEO (especially Web Analytics), buyer psychology and business administration to positively impact the economics of a business.
When businesses move online, they need to migrate their offline objectives and strategy, adapting them to the unique conditions of the Web. This can be challenging. We behave differently online. What we do can be tracked and measured with granularity. Standard offline marketing may not work.
And so, a lot of research and analysis goes into formulating a Digital Strategy. We ask ourselves questions:
- Where do our customers ‘live’ online?
- How can they be targeted efficiently?
- What is the most cost-effective approach?
- How best can every move be leveraged for maximum impact?
- How to ensure synergies between an online and offline marketing mix?
- Which “tools” will we use – and why?
The answers – along with an SEO/Web Analytics powered strategy – will be super-effective when harnessed to a website architecture that reflects optimized technology, presentation and content. The key, however, lies in the deep understanding of our visitors’ intent, which in turn helps us deliver solutions to their most pressing problems.
Therein lies the real power of SEOnomics, a complex interplay between human psychology, technical SEO excellence, and business strategy.
It’s the process used by every crack SEO specialist who gets inside the head of a typical customer, understands their deepest needs and desires, and then crafts a winning SEO strategy that delivers value.
It’s no surprise that such an approach will:
- increase sales and bottom-line profit
- lower marketing costs by making each component more effective
- make key personnel more efficient through focus on what works best
- increase insight and knowledge of the business’ clientele
- leverage synergies with other forms of marketing
Are Businesses Finally Waking Up To SEOnomics?
As the global financial crisis worsens, companies are trying to squeeze the most from their online marketing expenditure.
Many businesses seem content with a 1-2% conversion rate, tacitly admitting that 98% or more of their marketing spend is wasteful. Imagine taking such an approach to offline marketing. That’s insane!
Why not focus on the ‘non-converting’ 98% and convince them to buy? It’s low-hanging fruit, ripe for the picking.
It has finally dawned on beleaguered executives that SEO is a targeted, measurable and cost effective option. All it needs is a willingness to step back and, as Matt Bailey, founder and president at SiteLogic puts it, “hop off the hamster wheel“.
When SMART goals are inline with the main objectives of a business, tactics that “push the green buttons” (generate cash) which elevate SEO and Web analysts to their rightful place in strategizing a Web business, can make this happen very fast.
Why Do Businesses Make It So Hard (On Themselves)?
SEO has always been a very cost-effective way of growing a business. But while data suggests that more customers, thought leaders, journalists and others are using search engines to research and buy things, management is literally throwing cash out of the window by not having a clear SEO strategy.
A 13 month study by GroupM Search and Kantar Media Compete, From Intent to In-Store, indicated that 86% of in-store buyers click on organic search engine listings when researching online, and 8 out of 10 found this very helpful in coming to a decision.
With B2B purchases, 52% of users surveyed relied upon websites for research pertaining to a purchase, according to a TriComB2B research report.
Even when they know that traffic from Google brings them more buyers, these companies are not investing enough of their budget into SEO. Only a critical analysis of their expenses and ROI will shock them into reality.
Once management starts tracking and measuring different elements on their spending list, they will see how ineffective most of them are in delivering value. The first impulse is to cut down on spending. But a far better approach than blindly firing someone or dramatically slashing budgets is to redeploy marketing assets towards more effective channels like Web analytics and SEO marketing.
Shifting to strategies with a higher ROI that also have the potential to increase sales and extend reach to more potential customers is a smart approach.
Having made the decision to do what is best, why not start with the most effective of them all. Once set in place, SEO keeps on delivering prospects for months, even years, at little ongoing expense. But just getting a site to #1 on Google won’t cut it.
A great SEO strategy is rooted in knowing a buyer’s intent, the kind of problems they face, and then addressing them in an intimately personal way that allays anxiety, presents viable solutions and gently persuades them to become customers.
The Solution: Get Professional SEO Experts On Board
SEO and Web Analysts are precious assets to any business development venture.
Armed with Web analytics data, a pro can predict the future somewhat reliably – what will sell, what visitors want, what people do on your website, and more.
Analysis of this data gives priceless insight into a customer’s intentions, and guides you to deliver the best experience, solving their problems and convincing them to spend money.
Good SEO is not about search engines; it is about people. Not traffic, clicks and views, but about psychology, economy and strategy.
Effective SEO is about attracting potential customers, influencing their behavior, analyzing how well your website delivers value, and adapting to fulfill the needs of the 98% who are not currently doing business with you.
Why Is Your ‘Website’ Your Lowest Paid Employee?
Imagine if your salaried salespersons spent 98% of their time being unproductive – would you still keep them on payroll? Obviously not. Something will have to change – or go.
Now think about your business website. Since it doesn’t convert 98% of the visitors who arrive at it, should you simply fire your website?
Well, maybe not. Because, to be fair, no business gives its website a shot at doing better.
How about trying this exercise:
Think of your Website as a person whom you invite over to the next strategy meeting. You pull up your Web analytics data. Ask questions that involve conversion tracking and KPIs, so that you can find out what’s weak about your current process, and what’s not. And based on what you uncover from this analysis, your website can be tweaked and modified to become stronger than ever before.
That would be truly remarkable – and very productive, too.
This brings us to something very important – the need for action focused goals, conversion tracking and KPIs in the Web analytics tool you use.
What matters most with such an exercise is that you ask the right questions, and act upon the answers. You must make sure you’re hitting pre-set targets at each step, and that your goals are SMART (i.e. specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely).
All of this can happen with some collaboration and interaction between teams. But, sadly…
People Are Not Talking Together!
There is little, if any, synchronization between teams. My clients wonder why, as an SEO consultant, I want to meet their PR folks. Well, when you consider that every press release, when optimized properly, can rank on critical keywords and phrases, attracting perfect prospects to the business, it’s amazing that more professional SEO consultants don’t insist upon it!
Hiding your SEO and Web Analytics person in a closet doesn’t help your business. They are more experienced than someone in marketing or management about how to make website conversions better. Yet the “SEO guy” is usually seen as someone to deliver more traffic, clicks and page views – never mind that 99% of it is useless.
SEO is not a traffic machine. It is a conversion crusher. So here’s a word to the wise: Let them do their job, just move out of their way.
Web Analytics is more than a traffic counter. It’s a source of mission critical information that unmasks the secret needs, intentions and expectations of your prospective buyers, and shows you how they behave once they hit your website.
That’s why CEOs need to monitor these metrics. Knowing the business best, a CEO can add great value to defining KPIs or establishing goal tracking, which a Web analytics specialist can work with to generate massive success. The tools are all available.
The ‘missing link’ is skill and ability to ask the right questions.
SEOnomics In A Nutshell
SEOnomics is a term I invented to describe the intimate interactivity between SEO (especially Web Analytics), CEO (or other business administration experts), and Psychology (of the customer), the three forming corners of the Golden Triangle of online business success.
SEOnomics is about making the most money and generating the biggest business success from SEO. Or if you like equations, try this…
Masterful SEO + Business Strategy + Buyer Psychology = Good Economy
In the ultimate analysis, SEO is less about mechanics, and more about economics. It’s the art of getting more people to “push the green button”, converting them into action-takers, and guiding them towards desired end-points.
It’s also a way to convince them about a point of view, one that they will echo to their audiences, spreading your brand and amplifying your message in ripples to a vast broader marketplace.
SEOnomics, then, is the art of synchronizing economics, business strategy and SEO into a cohesive force-multiplier that can power any business to enormous success and wealth.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this concept of SEOnomics, and of any instances from your own SEO experience that mirrors or highlights the three elements I’ve discussed in this article.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.