What You Need to Know About Organic Optimization
By Steve Bookbinder, CEO
It’s not sexy, the results are not immediate and the work is never ending. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art of gaining visibility on search results pages and is the gift that keeps on giving. It is an investment that you will wish you had made a year earlier. If your people tell you there is no ROI, ask them where they get their numbers.
Consider this: a major retailer/e-tailer is promoting selected products on its website. Without SEO, and before any “paid traffic” is bought, no one knows these products are available unless they happen to be fans of the site or for some odd reason choose to check out all the pages. What is likely not their intention? To find those products. Why do I say this? Because if they were interested in those products, they would have gone to a search engine and typed into the query box a keyword (or phrase) describing those products. In fact, there is a predictable inventory of searches for every variation of that keyword including “brand terms,” which incorporate the product’s brand name. “Head terms,” which are the 2-10 keywords that drive the majority of traffic to that category of products and “tail terms,” the almost infinitely long list of variations including long phrases and misspellings.
If I ran a company that sold those products, especially if there were fierce competitors in that vertical, I would want all of those consumers to know I am out there.
Suppose every search, using every type of keyword, produced a search engine results page (SERP) that featured a listing for my site – specifically directing users to the page of my site where one could find those products. I would have maximized my exposure to the largest addressable audience. Knowing that only a small portion of those people would complete the conversion process (that is, buy my products online), I would naturally want to begin with the largest possible audience of qualified, interested consumers.
Now, how do I get my listing to be prominently displayed against all of those keywords? One way is to buy (literally bid, and then pay if someone clicks) a position against every keyword. Now, consider the arithmetic: I am paying for each site visitor, but only a few result in a sale. It would be very easy to spend more money than I make. So, what do I do? Cut back on the number of keywords I bid on so that my site is only visible when users type in the few keywords that seem to produce the best proportion of online conversions. End result? I am not exposing myself to the maximum number of potential customers! What business school teaches us that strategy?
Now suppose I add an SEO engagement?
I can still “double down” by buying a selected set of productive keywords, but can also have a non-paid (natural or organic) listing against all of those other terms. Since 80% of clicks go to organic listings, this is a great place to be. This strategy helps me maximize my exposure to the total audience of self-selected, qualified, interested consumers as well as help find more keywords worth buying. But, the primary benefit is that you don’t have to pay for all of the clicks since there is no charge for clicks to organic listings. Over time, those organic listings rise toward the top of the index, further increasing their visibility and likelihood of getting clicked. The cost of the SEO engagement is spread over a continuously growing number of ever-rising keywords, until it is negligible. The key to scaling results is to continuously lower the average click cost while increasing the number of visitors to your site. Those free clicks, acquired through an ongoing SEO campaign, when added to the paid clicks, lowers the total average click costs while driving up the total number of clicks. To those who complain that SEO has no ROI, I encourage them to buy lottery tickets, which is the ultimate penalty for the mathematically challenged.
About Molly DePasquale
Molly DePasquale is the Manager of Operations and Sales Training Strategist for DMTraining. She manages the day-to-day business and training operations while helping research and develop new training programs as well as refreshing signature programs to reflect the newest sales trends, technology, and best practices. Molly utilizes her wide-range of skills to create sales and marketing assets focused on delivering value to DMT’s clients. Molly has a passion for learning and leveraging new knowledge and experiences. Outside of DMTraining, Molly is a hard core Pittsburgh sports fan, enjoys staying active by running and golfing, and unwinds by reading and playing the piano.