Some “experts” claim that because of personalization or other factors, search engine optimization is on its way out. I’m staking claim that there are a number of reasons why I hold firm to the belief that search engine optimization is one of the best investments you can make to market your business.
Last week, I covered five reasons why SEO is still alive and kicking, and now it’s time to wrap up this discussion with the remaining five.
6. ROI: From all of the search engine optimization programs I’ve overseen (I’m guessing that the number is around 250), there have been few that have not generated a positive ROI. For those that didn’t, it was due to a failed business plan or a poor user experience on the Web site. A properly planned and executed search engine optimization campaign generates a terrific return on investment, so long as you plan for search engine optimization to be a long-term commitment and not a three-month tactical strategy.
I could share with you a case study in which one of our clients received almost $11,000,000 worth of organic traffic to their site from January to May of this year. And, I should add, they are not in a “popular” space (that is, they’re not selling consumer electronics, or something else with a high number of searches performed against it). I determined this value by looking at the increased number of clicks from organic search, year over year, and valued this by their average CPC from their Google AdWords campaign. And you can be certain that we didn’t charge anywhere near $11,000,000 during that five month time period.
7. Interactive PR: Perhaps you’ve had some bad press. Perhaps those mentions are showing up in Google when someone searches for your company name. These things can be addressed. There are search engine optimization methods that can help to push those “bad” results to the second page, and leave positive results on the first page.
A good case study in Interactive PR is Wal-Mart, in which there are Web sites such as walmartwatch.com and wakeupwalmart.com that are not exactly flattering to the company. These Web sites rank within the top ten results on Google for the search phrase “walmart.” I have witnessed steps taken by Walmart to deal with this issue, but these two Web sites still rank. Through tactics such as creating a charity website (walmart.org could be a Web site set up to speak to their charitable efforts, for example), you can almost assure yourself of having one less of these unfavorable Web sites showing up in the top ten results.
8. “Unlimited” Clicks: You don’t set a budget, as you would with PPC, and have the budget dry up by the middle of the month only to leave you hanging until the first of the next month. Once you’ve achieved rankings, the clicks just keep on coming. Too often, PPC clients must daypart their efforts or otherwise manage when they will have a presence in the search engines. What about that off chance that a good prospect was searching on a Sunday afternoon? With an organic presence, you will be there 24/7 to capture all the traffic that you can. As mentioned above, there really is no limit -- other than the total number of searches being performed-- to how much traffic your site could receive from organic search engine optimization efforts.
9. Production of More Quality Content: The more you focus on organic search engine optimization efforts, the more likely you are to add quality copy to your site, which is good for both SEO and the user experience. Certainly, there’s a balance to be had between having too much and too little content. You do not want the user to get lost in reading or to miss the point of converting into a lead/sale, etc. In some cases, you have to be creative. Including things like tips, reviews, forums, blogs, and other insightful information can be good for the user experience and great for search engine optimization. I’ve witnessed Web sites built with no intention of doing well in the search engines do well due to the fact that they were focused on providing great content for their visitors. These things go hand in hand.
10. Accessibility: A good search engine optimization firm will help you to make your Web site more accessible to those with disabilities (Section 508 compliance), which also makes your Web site more search engine friendly. Part of building an accessible Web site is making sure that internal linking (links within your Web site pointing from one page to another) includes your keywords within the link itself. A blind person using a screen reader to navigate your Web site will know the link saying, “email marketing services,” is pointing to the page of your site about “email marketing services.”
When you focus on what's good for visitors (understanding that some of these people may be affected by some form of disability), you will also help your SEO efforts. Conversely, a good search engine optimization firm should be able to assist you in making your Web site Section 508 compliant by making your Web site more search engine friendly.
So, if you didn’t already believe that search engine optimization was a worthwhile investment, you now have a few more reasons for putting in the necessary time/energy/money to help your business grow through SEO.