The hard truth is this, if your SEO (search engine optimization) campaign is focused on unique visits, page rank, traffic volume, or click-through rate, you are missing the boat and probably spending a lot of money with little to no monetary return.
We hear and are often told how important traffic is, and if we don’t have website traffic we wont have website sales. We are sold on the “Page Rank mentality”, ‘you need to be on page one for your keywords or no one is going to find your business’.
Although it is true, the more traffic you have the better chances you have, and the better ranked you are the better visibility you have, it’s not the best way to judge the effectiveness of your search engine optimization campaign.
First page rankings don’t always add up to conversions and revenue. High volumes of traffic aren’t always equal to high volumes of high-converting traffic.
Your search engine optimization campaign, like any other marketing campaign, should be producing results in the tune of dollars and cents, REVENUE. Last time I checked, 200 unique visitors, and 10 page-one listings in Google wasn’t important to the companies who send me bills each month. They want dollars and cents!
If your SEO guy or gal is telling you that the campaign is working and they’re showing you the analytics to prove it, make sure that your bank statement can also prove it, or you may want to find another SEO guy or gal to help you get a real ROI.
There is the chance that you are focused on using SEO and Content Marketing as a way to build your email list, and as a result you are focusing on the increasing number of opt-ins. This is also known as “conversions”. If your email list is growing, you are converting browsers to subscribers, your next step is to make sure you can convert those subscribers to buyers (loyal customers). It wont benefit you if your email list is filled with names and emails of people who aren’t really in your target market, therefore, uninterested in what you have to offer.
In the end, all things lead back to REVENUE!
Why is SEO so important?
Surprisingly, many today are still unclear why search engine optimization is “so important”. They have heard all the benefits, increase page ranking, traffic, conversions, etc. But I think there is a vital element that is left out of the list of benefits and the explanation of why.
The Key: Search Engine Optimization leads to “organic traffic” which is much better than “paid traffic”. Organic traffic last longer (unless your SEO tactics are bad). Paid search last for as long as you are willing to pay for it. Organic is better received by searchers (you’re more credible when you show up organically). Paid advertising can relate to trying to sell something. Organic traffic is more affordable (you can do it yourself by producing great content and implementing SEO best practices). Paid search, well it’s obvious, you’re paying for it.
Obviously the revenue that can result from a well-developed and implement search engine optimization strategy is an important why too, but you probably expected me to say that by now!
It is my experience that organic traffic (generated by an SEO and content marketing strategy) has a better chance of targeting the right audience at the right time, which will lead to higher conversions, and obviously more revenue!
The keys to developing a solid SEO Campaign
First, you have to identify what constitutes a conversion, what the cost of a sale is, and the value of a conversion (in dollars and cents). These are going to be unique for every company, and often unique for different product or service offerings within a company.
Second, you need to implement the necessary components to track performance related to conversion and revenue for your specific company or PSI (products, services, information).
Further, it’s important to know the value of every visitor that arrives on your website from an organic search. Meaning, what is the actual dollar value of your search engine optimization efforts? For example, if you have 3000 visits a month and you’re selling 50 widgets a month at $29 each, the value of every visitor is $0.48.
50 x 29 = $1450 then 1450 / 3000 = $0.48 per visitor
You will also want to know the cost per visitor, you want to make sure you’re making a profit! For example, if you have 3000 visitors a month, and you spend $200 a month on your organic search marketing, your cost per visitor is $0.07.
200 / 3000 = $0.07 per visitor
Your profit is $0.41 per visitor or $1,230 (when selling 50 widgets at $29 each)
After you’ve done all the math, figured out the dollars and cents, established some targeted goals, you now need to develop a content marketing strategy. I start here, because in organic search, it’s all about the content. Your content needs to be well written (for HUMANS), it needs to be educational, informative, valuable, and what your audience is looking for!
Once you’ve identified the type of content you are going to produce and outlined some topics and titles, you can now start to do some keyword research. This is to make sure that your titles and content are optimized correctly to make sure you are reaching your target audience. If your focus is, ‘what keywords can I use to rank better’, you’re still missing the point!
Now you need to start producing content and publishing it.
When can you expect to see results?
I try to be realistic. Some people want to see results tomorrow, or they think by the end of the week is reasonable and realistic. And if we were talking about a paid search campaign that may be the case.
However, with an organic search strategy like we have been discussing, I tell my clients to give it three months before they start to see real results.
Sure, during the three-month period they will notice an increase in traffic, and likely an increase in time on site (a reduced bounce rate), but for real return, three months is usually a good turning point to start evaluating the effectiveness of your campaign.
What you need to get started!
You can learn to do it yourself! All you need to do is understand search engine optimization best practices and how to implement them into your well written content, and that alone can help you reach your audience better.
Not sure you want to do-it-yourself? For more information, or for a consultation on how to improve your SEO strategy, feel free to contact me!
The Bottom Line: Search Engine Optimization should be increasing REVENUE not just traffic, clicks, and ranking.