10 (almost) ironclad arguments for SEO
Ian Lurie Sep 7 2010
SEO. What’s the deal? Why do marketing VPs, IT teams and CFO’s flee, screaming, at the mere mention of search engine optimization?
I have no answers.
However, I do have a few points – data-driven or otherwise – that I’ve used to sell SEO in the past. I’ve tested extensively, and I can tell you that these all work far better than threatening to give your client a lederhosen wedgie.
- 85% of people who click on a search result click on the organic search result. The only way to rank in the organic results is SEO.
- 100% of searchers click the first organic search result. Less than 50% click the first paid result. That’s from Vanessa Fox’s excellent book, Marketing in the Age of Google. Don’t believe me – believe her.
- SEO has a cascading effect. Most of the work you do for organic SEO – content creation, site performance improvements and link building via outreach – also improves conversion, grows your overall brand and strengthens other marketing efforts.
- It scales well. If you spent $5000 on organic search and then get 1,000 clicks from an organic listing, it cost you $5/click. As your rankings improve, though, and you get, say, 10,000 clicks, your cost doesn’t increase. Now your cost is $.50/click. And so on.
- You’ll learn critical stuff about your customers. Improved search visibility will mean more unpaid search traffic. That will tell you more about the words, phrases and questions on customers’ minds when they look for your product or service.
- Search puts you in front of the customer when they need you. Unlike traditional advertising, banners and such, search-driven marketing appears in front of the customer right when they need your services. You know that, because they’re searching for you. Hopefully you know why that’s good.
- SEO is a fantastic deal. Even the most expensive SEO campaign costs a fraction of offline marketing. A typical print ad in a national magazine will cost you $40,000, minimum. A banner campaign on a major site? $10,000/month. Television? Don’t even ask. Even plain old face-to-face selling may cost more by the time you’re done missing work, buying meals, traveling around and wearing holes in your nice shoes. Try this: Take 5% of your offline marketing budget and invest it in a smart SEO person. See what it gets you.
- Paid search costs increase over time. There are very few topics for which pay-per-click (PPC) marketing has become cheaper. “Bid inflation” means that most companies have seen a rapid rise in their PPC expenses. SEO only gets more expensive if your consultant increases their price, or your in-house team asks for raises.
- SEO is a lasting asset. Assuming you stick to SEO techniques with long-term viability, your search engine optimization work will help you for months or years. Every improvement you make, every page you add to your site, every link you earn will stick around, boosting later efforts. Think of SEO as a marketing savings account: Your work will generate compound interest.
- The upstart can win. In spite of my whining about Google’s brand favoritism, SEO is a small business’ best chance to beat out incumbents. SEO requires a degree of agility that big companies often can’t manage.
There you have it. I pull out 3-4 of the above arguments in almost any sales pitch to a new or current client. They work. Lederhosen threats do not.
Possibly related, definitely virus-free
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More