Using Data to Prove the Value of SEO

SEO has been around practically since the concept of online marketing came to be. Many businesses are now engaged in it and it has definitely become a lot easier to convince business owners of its importance. This isn’t to say, however, that all doubts regarding the value of SEO have vanished. On the contrary, there are still many who doubt the necessity of engaging in SEO, and we can’t really blame them.

For one thing, SEO has now become quite expensive. Content production, which is among the most important components of an effective SEO and online marketing campaign, now requires a large budget, considering how competition has become fiercer and expectations from the audience higher. Another thing is that ROI can be a bit difficult to establish where SEO is concerned. Furthermore, SEO can cause a great deal of damage to your business if done wrong.

So you see, it’s easy to understand why there are still many who doubt the value of SEO. These people tend to prefer PPC (pay per click), believing that results are faster and the ROI easier to establish with this strategy. But we know better, don’t we? We know just how important SEO is and that is why we want to show non-believers how wrong they are.

Graph with Stacks Of Coins

Setting the Context

Since our goal is to prove the value of SEO, we’d naturally need to gather a significant amount of data to make a solid case. We need to present an opportunity analysis, explain and defend the costs, discuss risks and ways of mitigating them, and address all the issues involved. In short, we need to establish a case that covers all possible angles non-believers may question.

When we set the context in this manner, we help non-believers gain an understanding of what’s currently happening in the world of SEO. The data you provide will also help them understand what SEO involves and how it can help them achieve their company’s objectives and goals. As we all know, better understanding often leads to acceptance. The more people understand SEO, therefore, the likelier they will be to accept it as a powerful online marketing tool.

Point of Reference

Once you’ve done your research and gathered all the necessary data to defend SEO and its importance as an online marketing tool, you should give non-believers a solid point of reference. Explain to them what your company’s situation was before you engaged in SEO and where you’re at today in terms of achieving your business goals. The point is to show them what kind of impact SEO had on your company. Remember, the objective is to prove the importance of SEO.

Present Opportunities and Highlight Wins

Now that you’ve shown what SEO has done for your company, you should also give non-believers a peek into what SEO can possibly do for them. Give them a few ideas as to what goals they can set to serve as metrics for their SEO campaign. Show them how SEO can help them generate new business opportunities, raise brand awareness, build relationships with their target audience, reach a wider audience, and establish their authority in their chosen field.

It’s also a good idea to show non-believers how they can highlight SEO wins. Keeping track of even the smallest achievements can go a long way towards keeping you motivated to continue improving your strategies. You could show them how to track the number of unique site visitors they have each week, the time each visitor spends on their site, and the number of page views they get, among other things. When you demonstrate that there are indeed ways to easily measure the ROI of your SEO efforts, it becomes easier to convert non-believers.

Directly Addressing Questions

Okay, now you have a general idea on how to convince non-believers of the value of a good SEO campaign. Perhaps you’d also appreciate a few tips on how to directly address issues and questions non-believers may throw your way.

1. What makes organic search important?

Using Organic Search

Google Analytics shows that most websites get a huge chunk of traffic from organic search.

A simple check on Google Analytics will show you that most websites get a huge chunk of traffic from organic search (more than 86%). Less than 10% is categorized as direct traffic and less than 5% belongs to referral traffic (clicking links from other sites). These statistics will likely change only if your brand is already among the world’s most popular or if you have loads of money to spend on paid search. Show non-believers these data and they’ll be a lot easier to convince that organic search is indeed important.

2. We’re already getting leads from direct traffic. Why do we still need to work on organic search traffic?

Have you ever heard of multi-channel attribution? Many of your conversions may come from direct channel transactions, but have you ever taken the time to investigate the origin of your direct visits? You’ll be surprised at how many of your direct visitors actually had initial visits that came from – you guessed it – organic search. They initially came upon your site via organic search and had a good enough experience that they decided to revisit your site. No matter how much direct traffic you have, it’s still a good idea to optimize for organic search.

3. Our brand is already quite popular. Maybe that’s why we’re getting a lot of traffic from organic search.

It’s true that branded search leads to higher conversion rates, since the visitors were already looking for you in the first place. But this doesn’t necessarily mean non-branded search does not impact conversion in any way. A closer look at Google Analytics, particularly at the Multi-Channel Funnel section, will show you just how much non-branded search contributes to conversions you would normally attribute to direct traffic. As mentioned earlier, many direct visits are actually revisits from non-branded organic search.

These are perhaps the three most common questions thrown our way by non-believers in SEO. The next time you encounter them, you should be well-equipped to address them properly. Now, what about metrics? What if you get asked how you can determine if your SEO efforts are working or not?

Here’s how you can truly mark the value of SEO:

1. Define Goals

How will you know your efforts are successful if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, right? Well, it’ll be a good idea to let your entire team know what your goals are as well. SEO is a diverse and dynamic concept, and each member of your team needs to know exactly what he’s aiming for.

2. Keep Track of the Cost per Lead (CPL)

Money talks, or so they say. So what better way to showcase the importance of SEO than to talk about it in terms of money? Let’s say your goal is to get each site visitor to make more purchases. The CPL will tell you how much it costs to keep each site visitor interested and to convince them to make a purchase. You can then compare this figure to the average sales you’re actually getting from each site visitor. This allows you to demonstrate the monetary value of your SEO campaign.

3. Assign Monetary Value to Each Touch Point

The diversity of SEO is such that it cannot avoid touching a lot of different channels. People find your phone number on your website and make inquiries by calling you; or they could find your email address on the site and choose to make inquiries via email. There may also be instances where people read a reference to your brand on social networking sites and decide to visit your website. Assigning monetary value to every possible touch point helps you determine the respective benefit they can offer.

4. Measure Your Assisted Conversions

Again, you need to bear in mind that direct channel sales and even paid channel sales may have originated from organic search. It is therefore important for you to measure conversions that are truly direct channel or paid channel as well as assisted conversions. The good news is that Google Analytics lets you do that easily enough. The number of assisted conversions will show you just how much impact organic search (and therefore SEO) has on your business.

5. Conduct Correlation Tests

When your traffic or sales go down, you’d naturally have several theories as to why that happened. In order to effectively reverse the situation, you’ll have to tests each of these theories so you’ll know for sure what went wrong. Correlation tests can help show you which of your theories are most likely to be true. They will also show which aspects of SEO you most likely need to work on so as to improve results.

Now you know how to prove the value of SEO by presenting hard facts. Hopefully, you’ll be able to help businesses make better-informed decisions based on the data you present. On the surface, it may seem that SEO offers little to no tangible results. The more they understand the concept, however, the more likely they will be to see that SEO is not only important but also critical to their success.


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