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Josh McCoy

How to Prove the Value of SEO in 10 Minutes

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Convincing others of the importance of organic search and the need for SEO management has admittedly become easier over the years. Many have followed suit with competitors to jump into SEO endeavors to keep pace and many are coming to see that online organic ROI often times is much better than traditional marketing, is better targeted and easier to measure.

However, there remains a skeptical, more “old school” crowd, that still needs to be shown the need for organic search devotion. Whether you work for an agency trying to make a sale or on an in-house team tired of not drawing leads, taking a look at your Google Analytics data with this 10-minute drill down on what organic is doing for you can make a great impact.

Google Analytics has taken great strides in the last year or so by adding multi-channel attribution data to site reporting, in addition to maintaining historical bare bones data that can be quite convincing in itself. We now enjoy an analytical progression where additional data on referred visits that shows organic may be playing more of a part in your site conversion success than previously thought.

What follows are some of the common questions and responses you might get as you're painting the picture.

Why is Organic Search Important?

traffic-share-wheel-google-analytics

A very high-level look at analytics in the Traffic Sources>Overview will show that most of the time sites retrieve the lion's share of traffic from organic search. The only time this isn't true is when you:

  • Have the most established brand in the land and drive a lot of traffic through the direct channel.
  • Have an amazing social (or another type of) campaign rewarding you with a ton of traffic in the referring site channel.
  • Have robbed a bank to feed your paid search needs.

While you're looking at the above diagram, take a look at last year. Has the percentage of traffic from organic search increased? Great, let's keep it up. Has it gone down? Not so great, it's time to reverse becoming a web dinosaur and revive your online presence.

Organic Doesn't Convert, We Get Our Leads from Direct Traffic

Oh, really? This is why I so enjoy the advancement in multi-channel attribution.

With this data we can see how much of an impact the assistance of organic search has with other referring channels. Where once it was thought that the direct traffic channel was the hero due to last touch goal tracking, we can now see that many initial visits led ultimately to a direct channel conversion but were initiated via organic search.

Yeah, Yeah, We've Built a Big Brand, That's Why Organic Search Converts

With this in mind we could simply go into organic search reporting, assuming there is conversion goal or ecommerce tracking, and see if this response is really true.

Yes, branded search converts at a higher rate since the visitor was looking for you, but what power does non-branded organic search have beyond basic non-branded keyword filtered conversion reporting?

Once again, we step further into analytics and take a look at what wasn't so apparent on the surface of keyword referral tracking. Look at the Multi-Channel Funnel section of Google Analytics. By assessing the top channel groupings assisting each other to conversions you may quickly see a picture such as this:

organic-direct-assisted-conversion

One of the top assisted paths is organic search driven and revisited through the direct channel, which you can see contributed with 200 conversions. See how this becomes more convincing once we look at channel assistance?

OK, But Branded Search is Probably What Helps Assist in Direct Traffic Conversions

Another great facet of digging deep in analytics to prove the case for organic search is customized Channel Grouping. We have the ability to not only see where organic search helps other referring channels convert but to create custom channels filtered by either branded or non-branded keywords.

The sub-headline above gets shot down pretty quick when you see something like this:

non-branded-direct-assisted

OK, I'm Convinced!

Looks to me like the direct channel owes non-branded organic search a beer!

While trying to convince a needing party of the importance of organic search and SEO as a referrer of traffic, you can parse data several different ways to prove your point.

The above is a 10-minute method to show from a high level to a very granular level what organic search brings to the table outright and also how it helps the site convert as a whole.


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