Experienced marketing executives understand that SEO is an important component of an integrated digital marketing strategy. And while the organic search channel is critical to the success of most businesses, many marketers fail to increase their investments in SEO in the face of uncertainty. What we’d like you to consider is that maximizing the organic search channel requires a serious commitment to investing in a comprehensive SEO strategy, even when given three of the most common concerns marketers have about SEO.
SEO is hard to measure
While a channel like paid search can provide almost instant feedback on campaign performance, SEO does not have the same “dollars in, dollars out” form of measurement. SEO results can be incremental and indirect, and the organic channel is subject to many known and unknown influencing factors. A sales cycle that includes a number of brand interactions through multiple channels can compound the measurement issue even further by making it difficult to attribute sales back to SEO efforts.
SEO performance is not guaranteed
Another concern is the number of factors influencing SEO results that are outside of your control.
For example, search engines regularly update their algorithms — the “rules” they use to determine search results rankings. An update that levels the organic search playing field for one website may tilt it in the wrong direction for another.
Competitor activity is also a significant factor. In highly-contested markets, the competition for first page organic search real estate is intense. You have to assume that your competitors are working as hard (or harder) as your team is.
And the biggest, most unpredictable factor in terms of SEO performance is the searchers themselves. Customers ultimately determine the success or failure of an SEO campaign by what they click on. Searchers’ attention spans are being divided by an increasing number of new features and functions that are being added to search results pages. The search “noise” is getting louder and more distracting.
SEO takes a long time
The timeframe for measuring the results of most website optimization efforts is in weeks and months. Search engines take time to crawl, process, and re-evaluate changes made to webpages. The effects of good SEO build over time, not overnight. If you want to get to the top of search results immediately, start a PPC campaign.
So why should you increase your investment in SEO?
In light of the challenges outlined above, the business case for increasing investments in SEO is new customer acquisition. With the resources of internet search, buyers are in much greater control of their own journey through buying process than vendors are in control of the selling cycle. And as you well know, in a Forrester Research survey of B2B buyers, 74% of them said they conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase.
A strategic SEO campaign that is focused on new customer acquisition addresses searchers in all levels of the buying funnel. Potential customers have different needs and conduct different types of searches depending on where they are in the buying process. You’ll need different keywords, different content, and different conversion opportunities to match what they are seeking.
Will buyers find your brand in their research?
Over the next couple of posts, we will tell you why most companies fail at SEO, and what it takes to do SEO in a way that positively impacts the business bottom line. We have an SEO philosophy based on achieving success from the initial search, all the way through to the final conversion. Hint: there are no shortcuts.
This post was authored by Tiffany Pullin. Want to talk about how we can help maximize your investment in organic search? Contact Us to find out if 360Partners is the right SEM partner for you!