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 Clicks||Traffic Count||Paying Customers||Revenue at $15 a customer||Missed Revenue|
|On 2nd page||1||2010||20||$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?