Translating the Value of SEO

By Matt Duffy, Associate Director, Client Strategy & Development

OK…so you’ve decided that your company is in desperate need of a Search Engine Optimization solution. However, knowing your company structure, you may have some internal hurdles to overcome, and have asked yourself questions such as….“How can I communicate the value of SEO to my internal team to get them to take action?”… “How can I get my CMO to be an advocate for SEO?”

Over time I’ve noticed this to be a significant and reoccuring theme with regard to SEO that affects almost every client.

The key to communicating SEO has little to do with the actions of the research and implementation process which include such things as revising Meta Data, Technical Architecture, Linking Strategies, Content Outreach and Development, Symantic Mapping….and about a hundred other phrases and tactics that will make your CMO go….”HUH?”

To start setting the foundation for influencing your supervisor, you have to steer clear of entering into the idea that you need to come across as a technology expert, and instead focus on becoming a story-teller ready to deliver a heavy dose of common sense with regard to how your company engages consumers. The basic goal of SEO is to do everything possible to ensure your brand is ranking high on a Search Engine’s Results Page (SERP) on queries relevant to your business. However, just with that last sentence alone, your CMO is now thinking more about what they’re gonna have for lunch than what’s coming out of your mouth next!

It’s imperative you speak in their terms. As we all know, Executive Management understands two things very well…. People and Revenue.

Imagine your website as a brick and mortar store. Let’s say on a weekly basis, your store has 5,000 customers walk through the door, and your weekly revenue is roughly $200,000. Now, if I said in a few months we could double that number to get 10,000 coustomers coming through the door each week if we’d just do such things as put a bigger sign out front, label the aisles more accurately, reconfigure the parking lot, and hire someone to greet our customers providing direction throughout the building. These slight changes have now made a world of difference in increasing your consumer base, as well as growing your revenue sheet.

While basic in nature, similar to the example above it’s important to understand that in the cyber world, consumers aren’t gonna find/engage with your store unless you lay the groundwork to get them through the door. There is a reason your company built the website, right? Designing and Operating a company website is a huge investment of time and money. Think of all the hours and dollars that went into the creative look, feel, content, and ongoing maintenance related to your site. Now consider the fact that you may be missing out on thousands of potential customers because our sign isn’t visible enough to the traffic driving by.

Remember that your website is your #1 marketing tool. No where else can a consumer engage with your company so thoroughly in one place, and at their own pace…similar to a brick and mortar store. You can learn the company’s history, research their products and services, contact a representative, learn about product features and even make a purchase. It is a huge component of your company and your brand image, and its health should never go ignored.

I want to share three statistics that every client marketer should keep handy when evangelizing the merits of SEO through their internal walls.

  • 7 out of 10….. Consumers select a Natural listing rather than a Paid Listing

    Translation: It’s more important to focus on Natural than Paid Search…you WILL get more visitors over time (for a lower cost I might add).

  • Less than 2%.....of searchers view the second page or beyond on a SERP

    Translation: Pages 2 – 1,500,000,000 are getting no love…if your links aren’t on the first page, you’re losing.

  • 88.5%.... of searches click on the top five Natural Search listings of any Query

    Translation: You gotta be at the top…consumers aren’t even scrolling down the first page! Next time you search for anything, use your hand to cover everything below the Top 5 Natural Listings….are you there?

To recap, here’s what we have thus far…

  1. The majority of your consumers are selecting a Natural link….
  2. However, if you’re not on the first page, no one will see it…
  3. If no one sees it, then no one is going to click…
  4. And if no one clicks, no one is going to get to your site…

Do you think the Executive Mangement at your company would be comfortable with building a store on the West side of town knowing that 70% of your potential consumers shop on the East side? Would they be cool with missing out on 1,000 customers a week because the sign out front is too small? Do you think they’d be game with closing the store on Sundays if that’s when the majority of consumers prefer to shop?

In this instance, these are all fair questions to ask that show genuine concern for the success of the business. When attempting to demonstrate the Value of SEO, strive to find similar questions to support your cause and spend your time focusing on communicating the concept through examples that make sense to your audience. With any hope, upon finishing this discussion you may be required to answer one additional question from your CMO…..

“How do we get started?”


Bryson said...

Love it. Sphunn it:

Nice work!

Aaron Goldman said...

Great post Matt. Breaking down the language barrier is oft-overlooked but can make a huge difference. Your examples really drive that point home.

Wondering if you can source the stats you cited?

Also, not sure I agree that the translation for #1 is that it's "more" important to focus on natural search. It's all relative and for some marketers, paid search may be more important if they need high volumes of traffic immediately.

dgould said...

Way to make it stick. Love the analogy to a bricks and mortar store. Too often we revel in our ability to babble "search speak" only to realize too late that no one really understood a word we said.

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