Consumers interact with and are influenced by organic search throughout their decision journey. Without a doubt, a well-rounded digital strategy should include initiatives in organic and paid search, social media, email, media placements, and beyond. Nonetheless, over time, you will find that SEO is the foundational base of digital marketing and a channel you can’t afford to ignore.
Which marketing channel delivers the highest ROI for brands? Numerous studies agree it’s organic search.
Yet, despite advancements by search engines designed to provide users with higher-quality, relevant search results, search engine optimization (SEO) has lost some of its luster.
Other channels have stolen the glory from SEO because they are paid efforts, where ROI is quick and easily reportable. While that’s great, forecasting SEO ROI is possible, and you can calculate SEO ROI with sound analytics and by using the right tools.
The one downside of SEO? It isn’t quick. SEO must be viewed as a long-term investment.
The great news? SEO can benefit from your other channel marketing efforts and give extended life to your content.
SEO – Steroids For Your Content Lifecycle
Content marketing has become all the rage in digital marketing over the past few years. Maybe you’ve been told that content marketing is “the new SEO”.
Yes, SEO is always evolving. No, content marketing can’t replace SEO – there is much more to SEO than just text, image, or video content.
Do you consider social media sexier than SEO? If so, think about this: after you’ve paid to have your content dispersed amongst a throng of interest-targeted social users, or even if it goes viral naturally on social channels, that virality eventually dies and that content asset no longer has any value.
SEO offers an evergreen component. Optimized content that is keyword-focused will continue to attract citations and links and drive visitors to your domain for years to come with no additional investment. Now that’s sexy.
One piece of great content (e.g., a blog post) on a well-optimized site will continue to live on. Repeat that success with tens or hundreds of pieces of content that are optimized for your audience and a steady stream of traffic will come to your site.
SEO & PR
Social media marketing, content marketing, PR, and link earning all adds value to your SEO efforts.
A large portion of the overall effectiveness of SEO is your ability to attract authoritative links to your site. If you’re doing outreach to create relationships with other sites and organizations with the intention of benefiting your brand, in the end, you’re actively and possibly unknowingly performing SEO efforts while you’re paying a PR firm to build buzz.
Simply put, buzz becomes links. When is the last time someone told you to check something out but didn’t provide a link?
If you can create great content, you will get attention. A well-optimized site will continue to provide a strong return on your content investment in the future, in the form of continual traffic.
SEO & Usability
Improving site usability is another area that boosts your SEO efforts.
Brands that improve the following usability areas are also addressing factors that result in a properly optimized site:
- Creating better information architecture.
- Increasing keyword-rich internal linking.
- Creating a better synergy between page titles, headings, and body copy.
- Improving page load times.
The same ideology applies to social media marketing. If you build an audience and promote great content, then you attain a larger audience and higher engagement.
SEO: The Financial Justification
If you’ve been on the fence when it comes to dedicating budget and resources to the organic search channel, hopefully you now realize that you’ve actually been stepping into the world of SEO without even realizing it. Now that your feet are wet, it might make sense for you to go all in.
Even though SEO has become the foundation of many online marketing efforts, the face value ROI can be a little hard to justify. Rest assured that analytics services and marketing technology solutions can now accurately show what you’re reaping from your SEO efforts.
Since its inception, Google Analytics has provided data on site revenue and goal accrual from organic search. Now you can gain additional insights such as conversion modeling, as Google knows that organic search works with other channels to create conversions.
One of my favorite addition to Google Analytics was custom attribution modeling, which provides the ability to slice organic search data to understand how well organic search works in the long run to either be a first, middle, or last touchpoint leading to conversions.
Another way to gain clarity about the ROI of SEO is through digital marketing technology providers like SEMrush and Linkdex that have developed reporting metrics to valuate organic search presence. This is done by showing market share of organic search or what you would likely have to pay per month to gain the same amount of traffic through paid search advertising.
When you need to justify investing in SEO, these tools and Google Analytics are a great place to gain a better understanding of how organic search is performing. Additionally, if you have a well-oiled digital strategy, it’s likely you’re making ripples in SEO effectiveness.
It’s time to make waves and give SEO the attention it needs. It will pay off!
Is organic search the channel that delivers the highest ROI for your brand?