Search Engine Optimization – Return on Investment
The SEO ROI Calculator measures the Return on Investment of organic web traffic generated from an SEO campaign. The calculator is designed for Business-to-Business (B2B) websites or Business-to-Consumer (B2C) websites. Please click on the one which describes your business. Here is some important information when considering ROI and SEO
Solutions: Best SEO/SEM Practices for ROI
Figuring out how to spark the Return on Investment of your online business can be a daunting task, considering the vast amounts of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) solutions there are available on the market. The bottom line is this: you want your site placed as high as possible in search engine results for the greatest traffic gains. But it can be confusing and frustrating for web property owners to figure out the best approach needed to increase web presence and visibility, without throwing countless dollars at a marketing plan that doesnt guarantee results. The most effective ROI strategies for your online property begin by following a strong Search Engine Optimization plan and a few simple guidelines that include: organic optimization, adding relevant links, measuring web traffic, and outsourcing SEO.
Why Not Just Advertise?
What we see over time is the pendulum swinging back and forth between SEO and some other method. It’s coming back to SEO again as PPC ads are becoming expensive and costs continue to rise. So companies are looking for a better mix, especially since there are no residual benefits to PPC. If you turn off Overture and Google ads, the traffic stops. So what we recommend is a diversified approach.
- Pay Per Click advertising costs continue to rise.
- Competition for words is vicious as more and more advertising dollars are shifted to PPC.
- No residual benefits to PPC.
What to do? If your site appears both organically and in paid placement, there is a 5X chance your site will get that click. Here are a couple of benefits with a combined approach:
- Diversify (ads + search) buffers the cost benefit of ad-only.
- Ads and Search combinations can increase clicks up to 500% (Reprise Media).
Start with Organic over Pay-for-Placement
Pay-for-placement strategies such as PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising can be useful. For example, if you’re looking for instant recognition in the engines or a boost to supplement your Search Engine Optimization strategy, pay-for-placement can come in handy. However, relying on pay-for-placement has more drawbacks than benefits if you plan on using it as the only source for driving traffic to your website:
- According to leading SEM organization SEMPO, a PPC-only strategy is a short-sighted solution that has known pitfalls. As competition increases, PPC ad prices also increase, which erodes profit margins and forces the e-commerce business owner to increase their PPC budgets just to keep up. 1
- Pay for solutions do not necessarily guarantee stickiness of your site. They may drive initial traffic to your web pages, but this traffic increase will be short term if your pages are poorly laid out and contain weak or irrelevant content.
- Fees add up, and you have no way of judging whether or not the traffic coming to your site is relevant (true customers). Furthermore, you have to pay the engines and directories separately for these services.
- Through PPC click fraud, malicious web users can force you out of large sums of money, and even drive you out of business, by spiking up your fees through false clicks.
True SEO is an organic solution. This means your site is listed naturally, by its content, in the search engines. Optimizing your site through SEO offers the best potential ROI because:
- Internet users prefer organic results. Prospect conducted a user attitudes survey in April, 2004, and found that the majority of Internet users prefer natural search results, stating they were more relevant to their search queries. In fact, the study reported that 60-70 percent of clicks on a search engine results page (SERP) are executed on natural results. 2 In March, 2005, Jupiter Research presented key findings coinciding with iProspects study, at the Search Engine Strategies New York Conference. They concluded that six out of seven clicks stemmed from organic listings over pay-per-click listings.3
- With a good SEO service, your site is tuned for relevant content, listed organically, and maintained on a regular basis for maximum exposure over the long term.
- SEO is proactive. The traffic driven to your site is made up of true customers seeking your products and services.
- Search engine spiders love relevant content; its how they read websites to figure out how to index them. In light of this, search engines give higher rankings to websites that maintain traffic rich, relevant content.
- Sixty percent of top search engine listings are devoted to organic listings.
- Once your site is optimized, submitted and maintained by SEO, ongoing traffic from the major engines is free. More traffic from the search engines means a greater potential for client conversions, increasing your ROI.
In 2005, Jupiter Research and iProspect partnered and published an important whitepaper titled iProspect Outsourced SEO Metrics and ROI Study. Jupiter surveyed 636 reputable search marketers and 224 reputable search agencies. The key finding was that: Search marketers who outsource their natural search engine optimization to an SEM firm, and who participate in paid search advertising, recognize higher ROI from natural SEO than from paid search advertisingOver three times as many search marketers generate a higher return on investment from SEO than from paid advertising. 4
Adding Relevant Links
Utilizing reciprocal links not related to the content or theme of your website is frowned upon by the major engines. Search engines bestow a lot of weight to relevant outbound and back links. In other words, if you operate a camera site, you should provide outbound links to sites that deal with camera related themes; inbound links should also stem from similar sites. By doing so, you will increase your ranking potential within the engines, and a better ranking means increased traffic and ROI.
Measuring Web Traffic
Successful marketers always keep an eye on the performance levels of their marketing campaigns. Otherwise they have nothing to measure their success levels by, and this is a huge gamble. Monitoring your web traffic is no different.
- Online success is derived by knowing how customers find your website and where they are coming from. Learning what key words and phrases people use to locate your site, and what search engines they access to get there, is the key to success.
- With this vital information, you can make the necessary changes required to manage and improve your websites traffic performance. This gives you control over your ROI and your business.
Keep an eye on your traffic levels by analyzing analytics reports. Outsource your SEO.
Amongst corporations there is the widespread desire to eliminate fixed costs, focus on core competencies, become more strategic, and contain the high and unpredictable costs of enterprise learning. This is especially true in volatile industries and those with low profit margins. Outsourcing creates opportunities for significant efficiencies and coherent strategies. Keeping functions in-house requires specialized skills and resources, investments in infrastructure, and staying abreast of technological developments. At the same time, companies struggle to boost revenues and aim to enhance (or at a minimum maintain) market share and service levels for customers and clients. Outsourcing offers a viable alternative with short and long-term benefits. These are some of the reasons clients and government agencies have approached Metamend for outsourced professional search marketing and optimization services.
Norton and Kaplan’s Balanced Scorecard breaks the measurable enterprises objectives into four major categories: Financial, Customer, Internal Processes and Learning, plus Growth and Innovation. Variations of these classifications add Knowledge (Intellectual Capital), ‘People’ (Human Capital) and Technology categories, among others. No matter what objectives are chosen or how they are categorized, Metamend believes three essential criteria need to be met in search marketing and optimization:
- Measurability – If attainment of the objectives can not be measured, or if compelling intermediary metrics (that can serve as credible surrogates for what is being measured) are not available, there isn’t much point in listing it as an objective, because there is no means to know if the objectives are achieved;
- Actionability – It must be possible to identify remedial actions if targets are not met. If measures are not actionable, there’s limited value in taking them.
- Analyzability – It must be possible to understand why targets are (or are not) being met, in order to be able to act on them. This is true at several levels: keyword intelligence, ever changing spiders, content management systems and integration with search marketing and optimization schemes.
The following articles outline the important information and methods surrounding ROI and online investments, as it pertains to Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. These articles include: Outsourcing SEO for a Greater ROI, SEO and E-commerce, Advertising Online and ROI and Fortune 500 and ROI.
Note: This is an old article that was posted many moons ago. Note that the information contained within this article may be outdated. To get the most relevant, up-to-date information about online marketing, visit Metamend’s blog.