Pitching the Value of Organic Search
It’s a sad reality that many well-known organizations, including many Fortune 500 companies, still don’t understand the value of organic search. Even some businesses with multi-million dollar paid search budgets have focused little effort in optimizing their sites for organic search. The fact is these organizations are failing to capitalize on a major acquisition channel, and while they have yet to adopt search engine optimization (SEO) as a legitimate and standard marketing practice, their competitors are reaping the benefits.
According to comScore, in August 2007, over 61 billion search engine queries were conducted worldwide from over 750 million searchers. These staggering search user trends have shown continued growth year after year. Many studies have also concluded that the majority of searchers will choose an organic search listing over a paid listing. This data demonstrates the huge potential that organic search offers and reinforces the fact that any organization not focused on SEO is missing out on a tremendous opportunity.
What impact can SEO have on your business?
Let’s be honest, it’s very difficult to get the budget and resources to move forward with SEO if senior management can’t see the big picture. You must be able to clearly demonstrate the financial impact that investing in SEO will have on your business. You need to know how much money you’re currently leaving on the table by ignoring SEO. The best way to understand this involves a two step process:
1) Turn to Your Web Analytics
2) Conduct an SEO Site Audit
Step 1: Turn to Your Web Analytics
Using web analytics will allow you to accurately measure the performance of your organic search channel and make informed decisions about what and how to optimize.
Omniture SiteCatalyst (sample data)
Use your web analytics to answer these key business questions
- What percentage of your traffic comes from organic search?
- What are your top performing organic search keywords?
- Is the majority of your keyword traffic coming from brand specific keywords?
- What is the current search traffic and revenue contribution from organic search?
By answering these simple questions you can begin to gather critical data to help prepare a reliable SEO value pitch.
Step 2: Conduct an SEO Site Audit
Conducting a simple site audit will give you insight into the SEO health of your website and help you identify any obvious performance gaps. The audit should evaluate both on-page optimization (title tags, keyword usage, site structure, etc…) and off-page optimization efforts (link popularity, social media, etc…). This SEO scorecard will not only assist with the development of an SEO value pitch, but it will provide a valuable blueprint for your future SEO program.
By combining the discovery data you’ve gather from your web analytics, along with SEO scorecard conclusions from the site audit, you can gain a holistic view of your existing SEO strategy and help you formulate a trusted estimate regarding the organic search growth opportunity for your site. Listed below is a basic example of how to use the discovery data to formulate a high-level estimate to demonstrate the impact of SEO to senior management.
Example Organic Search Traffic/Revenue Estimate:
It’s essential to understand the impact organic search can have on your business. Early adoption of SEO will have long-term benefits for your business and allow you to stay ahead of the curve and your competition.
If you can demonstrate a solid estimate of revenue impact for SEO to senior management or the HiPPO, you should be well on your way to getting the approval for budget and resources to begin investing in SEO.