Why You Shouldn’t Disregard SEO

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It has always been hard for SEO people to get across the importance of ranking high for a keyword and all the good it does for a business. Many people don’t realize that a large part of SEO is optimizing the site, not only to rank well, but also to achieve the best chance of converting those visits into paying customers. Nor do they understand that the core of SEO is understanding your customer base so that you can advertise on the keywords they are using.

Ok time for an example:

Let’s invent a site for this, let’s pretend you own “http://www.anniversarygifts.com/” and as the name suggests it specialises in gifts for anniversaries. Last month (August 2010), there were 201,000 searches for “anniversary gifts” in the US, (data from Google Keyword research tool).

It is generally agreed in the industry that ranking first on a search will get you somewhere between 35-45% of people looking for that keyword. This number is usually half for 2nd place and continues to drop from there. The second page sites are lucky to receive 5-10% collectively and likely receive many repeat customers, which would inflate the percentage.

If your site ranked first for “Anniversary Gifts” even at the conservatively low estimate of 35% that is 70,350 visitors a month. Before we even get into purchasing that is 70,350 people viewing your site, reading about your products, finding out about your brand and acknowledging your existence. If your site is designed to be user friendly (which is part of the SEO) then the users are likely to have a pleasant experience, share that experience with friends, and return to your site when they need another anniversary gift.

That is only 1 keyword out of dozens you are likely to have, though it is the best one. A well-optimized site can usually get around 10% of their keyword potential and around 5% of those would go so far as to purchase. We’re going to take another conservative low and say 1% become leads, we should therefore expect 704 (rounded up) people purchasing from your online shop A Month. (I don’t know about you but I kind of want to create this site now).

The best part of all this is the fact that everyone who is looking for your keywords is also looking for your type of business, people who type “anniversary gift” in Google are, more likely then not, looking to buy your hypothetical product(s).

Lets take a look at what the difference would be if we didn’t rank first:

Page Rank% of ClicksTraffic CountPaying CustomersRevenue at $15 a customerMissed Revenue
On 2nd page1201020$301.50$10,251.00

The missed revenue shows what you are loosing by not ranking first, to make this worse, what your loosing is what your competition is gaining. And here is a graph to show how steep the difference is.

It is also important to get onboard while it is still a competitive advantage. Nicholas G Carr’s article talks about how IT (information technology), no longer gives a competitive edge to a company. For something to be a competitive edge it has to be something your business has that the rest of your competition does not. Therefore, as IT has become essential for all businesses in order to survive, it can no longer be considered a competitive edge.

It’s time people also learn that having a website alone is no longer a competitive advantage. Nowadays, when starting a business, a website is an assumed minimum, but it is frequently not used correctly and does not give the benefit people expect. Just like traditional IT, it is no longer a competitive advantage.

SEO is going down the same path. Currently it gives an effective competitive edge to a company. It is a very cost effective way to target your potential market while the majority of your competition isn’t taking advantage of this amazing technique. Eventually, every business will be using SEO; it will be a necessity, something businesses can’t survive without. Wouldn’t you rather be ahead of the game and not lagging behind? I know I would.

Everyone sees different benefits when it comes to SEO- what do you find valuable that others may not be aware of?

Justin Stein
Justin Stein is one of the first, Second Generation Online Marketers. His father Jonah Stein is a literal giant within the SEO industry. Justin began his career working at BlueGlass Interactive with industry leaders like Dave Synder, Greg Boser & Loren Baker. Before Sending 2 years with ROIworks, a PPC agency working in the heart of San Francisco.Justin has a broad range of experience providing PPC & SEO growth for Non Profits, B2B services and eCommerce organizations. In addition to bid management, Justin specializes in data analysis, process development and analytical reporting for his clients.Outside of PPC, Justin enjoys new technology, startups, user research and has a passion for Gamification.
Justin Stein
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  • http://twitter.com/3rdcorner 3rd Corner Studios

    Yes, I totally agree. In 5 years it will be the same with social media. It could be that SEO is still a competitive edge while the whole face book tab email signup and twitter bot phenomena are more of the norm than a decent and non-spammy SEO campaign.

    I wonder what's next…

    • http://www.medievalaccommodation.com Justin Stein

      I do believe, one of the next big things to follow in the footsteps of SEO and Social Media, will be “Geo-targeted SEO”.

      The best part about Geo-targeted SEO is that it allows the small mom and pop businesses to effectively compete against big brands because they don't need to spend as much to outrank locally, while the big brands are trying to rank nationally.

      Thanks for you comment 🙂

  • wayne cadman

    Yes seo is very difficult to explain to a new business why they Will benefit from this. A lot of clients will say ” we are no1 already why do we need your services”? And you point out, yes you are for your domain name but what about people that don't know you? If for example you are a plumber in London you have massive competition from the big boys, however with a good seo strategy and link building for the phrase “plumbers in London” and variations of this, if you are positioned in the top 3 organic results you will get the business, that is the great thing about seo, small mom and pop businesses can compete with anyone if they are committed and have a good seo strategy in place.

    • http://www.medievalaccommodation.com Justin Stein

      I know exactly what you mean. I have a friend who I was trying to convince the company he works for should get SEO. He thinks that cause they already get lots of traffic they don't need. But I've seen the analytics, everyone going there is going direct or searching for the company's name. In addition for the companies size, the couple hundred views a week is nothing compared to what they should be getting.

      Mom and Pop's got an even brighter future when you start considering the growing important of Geo-Targeted SEO. (I need to be careful I'm starting to sound like a broken record with Geo Targeted SEO in each of my comments :P)

      Thanks for you comment, maybe this article can help convince some of your potential clients. 🙂

  • https://www.bigjobsboard.com/ Steve jobs

    SEO is a hard thing to explain especially if the person you are going to explain to is new to the industry. Actually, when I tried to do some SEO, I gave myself 2 weeks to study and almost everyday to learn a new thing about it. Anyway, thanks for sharing this great article. The example also made me understand the importance of SEO more.

    • http://www.medievalaccommodation.com Justin Stein

      I'm glad the article helped.

      I was originally thinking of posting an SEO 101 type of article but thought most people on SEJ would know the basics. What do you think? Is it worth revisiting the idea?

  • http://twitter.com/LoriGreenTarot Lori Green

    So many people and companies think that they get a website and that's it…nothing more is needed, but with a little understanding of how search works they would understand that a website is just a starting point. It's not too difficult though to learn a lot about SEO with some research and getting into a certain “mindset” and way of thinking. Just takes quite a lot time. 🙂

  • http://www.yuregininsesi.com yuregininsesi

    Yes, I totally agree. In 5 years it will be the same with social media. It could be that SEO is still a competitive edge while the whole face book tab email signup and twitter bot phenomena are more of the norm than a decent and non-spammy SEO campaign.