The Straight Scoop on SEO, Part 1July 22, 2010 By Jessica Bowman
What's the difference between appearing on page one of Google’s results page versus page two? A whopping 100,000 visitors a day. Or so was the case for a client — and converted search engine optimization (SEO) enthusiast — who recently championed SEO at his company.
The client in question works for a company that had considerable experience in the "safe" (aka: measurable) online marketing avenues such as pay per click (PPC) and email. Embracing SEO wholeheartedly was a complete about-face for the client, and an opportunity that too many companies miss.
Why should businesses care (more) about SEO?
The reality is that in Google’s search results, 75 percent of visitors click on the organic listings (the main list of 10 web pages driven by SEO) and only 25 percent click on the PPC advertising (listings labeled as “sponsored listings” at the top and right-hand column of the search results page).
These numbers vary slightly from study to study, but there's a trend showing that organic search listings are gaining even more ground in the percentage of clicks as searchers are becoming more and more aware of which are organic results and which results are paid ads.
A German eye-tracking study showed that Google’s new format, released in May, makes organic search results even more attractive than before. So if SEO isn’t a big part of your marketing spend now, it should be. SEO can provide incredible returns.
My firm almost always sees a positive return on investment for companies that build a solid plan and execute SEO as a priority. But most companies don't have the resources or knowledge to create such a plan entirely in-house, which is why hiring expert help is highly recommended.
Actual ROI depends largely on your market and the amount of changes needed to make your site rank, but it's usually quite big. My firm expects a company to see a 20 percent to 30 percent lift as a minimum if they implement recommendations properly.
Of course, current traffic volumes impact your lift opportunities. If you're getting a few million unique visits a day, the lift is very different than if you get only a couple hundred thousand unique visits a day, for example. Certain companies that implement SEO strategies can see a 200 percent to 1,000 percent increase in traffic and/or revenue.