The price is always an issue, until you figure how much is one good, long-term client or customer worth. So how do you justify the investment of either outsourcing your search engine optimization campaign or employing an SEO specialist to do it in-house?
Here are some reasonable calculations that can help.
Jul 05 2000: Forrester Research reported that over 80 percent of Internet users reach sites through search engines. This means if your Web site doesn't attract 80 percent of your visitors from search engines, you're losing out on a lot of free traffic.
Feb 14 2001: A study from NPD Group found that search listings are more
effective than standard banner or button advertisements when it comes
to brand recall, favorable opinion rating and inspiring purchases.
In unaided recall, search listings outperformed banners and buttons by
three to one, and more than twice as many people gave a more favorable
opinion of companies in the top three search positions than those featured in ads.
The study also found that 55 percent of online purchases were made on
sites found through search listings, while a mere 9 percent were on sites
found through banner ads.
Again, if your sales from search engine traffic accounts for less than
55 percent of your total sales, you are missing out on a lot of potential
How To Calculate What Your Visitors Are Worth
For example, let's say you have 5 top 30 positions,
and they each bring in an average of 800 visitors a month.
Top 30 Positions - 5
Visitors - 800
Months - 12
Total Visitors 48,000
Now if you set a budget to acquire 5 extra top 30 positions,
you would increase your search engine traffic by 48,000 visitors.
If we take the rate of $6,000 for 5 top 30 positions.
$6,000 / 48,000 visitors = 12.5 cents per visitor
How much does it cost you to acquire a visitor at present?
Probably somewhere in the 25-50 cent range.
Top positions in pay-per-click search engines, such as Overture,
go for as much $5-6 a clickthrough. With the average price of
$0.23 per clickthrough. (Overture, 02/12/02)
Based on our calculations above, the cost of acquiring a search engine
visitor is as low as 43% of what it costs to acquire a visitor at Overture.
As you can see, SEO clearly produces an excellent ROI. And don't
forget that search engine positioning is effective, because the traffic
is very targeted. Prospects who find your site through search engines
are actively looking for information on products and services just like yours.
SEO is a science. Just like other forms of marketing and advertising, SEO
requires persistence and a lot of testing. The optimization process is
complex and time-consuming. You're trying to align your Web pages with
the ranking algorithms of the search engines, while at the same time trying
to out-smart your competitor's optimizers.
The fact remains, SEO is cost effective, and should not be ignored.