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There’s another advantage to traditional search listings. They are considered unbiased and non-commercial. Traditional search performs very well at certain points in buying process. When consumers are gathering information about a purchase, they show a marked preference for traditional search listings. When they are ready to buy online, they seem to have less bias against paid placement listings and their likelihood to click on one of these listings increases.
The Dollars and Cents of SEO
Perhaps most compelling reason not to exclude SEO from your online marketing strategy comes down to dollars and cents. In an attempt to quantify business case for SEO I have gone back and done some analysis on three recent SEO engagements and results they achieved. I chose ecommerce clients that we had optimized and reviewed their average sales before and after SEO was implemented. In two of situations only change made was optimization of site. In another optimization occurred at same time we implemented a PPC campaign. In first two cases store sales rose 64% and 75% after SEO was implemented. In third case store revenue actually went up a staggering 169%, but if you back out sales that were a result of PPC campaign, store revenue that could be attributed to SEO improved by 49%. In other words, average improvement in store revenue that was apparently due to SEO was 62%.
Can we be sure that all of this was a result of SEO? No. There could have been product, seasonal and other effects that contributed. But I think it's safe to say that there was a significant increase that resulted directly from SEO. The bottom line: search optimization has a real and measurable impact on traffic, conversions and revenue (or lead generation) improvement. Given that these clicks begin to approach “free” after amortizing cost of SEO over time, ROI for SEO is compelling. Added to branding benefits no marketer or business owner should doubt value of search engine optimization.
Scott Smigler has been an evangelist for a serious, ROI-based focus on the online channel since he founded Exclusive Concepts (www.exclusiveconcepts.com) in 1997. Exclusive Concepts provides integrated online marketing strategies, Internet brand consulting, search engine marketing campaigns and results-oriented web sites for hundreds of clients that range in size from small ecommerce firms to public companies.