A Look At The Huge Value of Search Engine Optimization

Although a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is only a small part of any business’s overall marketing strategy, it’s a very important part. Though Google is continually making strides towards making its search engine more social, it still relies on organic, real content that exists outside of its own services in order to fuel search rankings.

But depending on your business, the real value of having highly ranked and organic – not paid – search rankings can often be huge. Briefly, let’s take a look at just how huge those can be.

Page 1 vs. Page 2

Any good SEO campaign’s aim should be, at the very least, in getting to the 1st page of a competitive term’s search results. Why? Because anything beyond the first — in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th, etc. — gets only a tiny percentage of the hits that results on the first page do. The reason is obvious: People don’t like to have to go far to find what they are looking for. So, for example, if they are looking “foot doctor”, and a doctor’s search result is on the 2nd page — even if it’s no. 11, the first one on the 2nd page — studies have shown that users are significantly less likely to click on it. As ad network Chitika’s research shows, even if that result were to jump up even just one spot to the first page its overall traffic could increase by as much as 143%. Yup.

In essence, while reaching the 2nd page on any extremely competitive search terms is impressive in an of itself, it probably won’t immediately start bringing in tons of traffic. Now, if you think that the difference between 10 and 11 is big, let’s look at the difference between even 1 and 2.

Through The Ranks

But Chitika’s research continues. In their study, they look at the differences between search results on even the first page. While the results may not necessarily be surprising, they are interesting. For one, the number 1 search result, they found, gets more than 1/3rd of total search traffic, 12 times more than the last result — no. 10 — on the first page. Big difference.

Just looking at the difference between even the 1st and the 5th search results, for every 40,000 visitors that the 1st one received, the 5th result only received 5,000. Again, a pretty substantial jump between the two.

Converting Those Ranks Into $$

In order to put some dollar signs on those search results, Slingshot SEO did a study that looked into values of search rankings based off of Google Adwords pricing. Though marketing costs may not necessarily be 1:1 with actual conversions — that is, for every $1 spent marketing in Google Adwords, a company might not necessarily be making $1 — it helps gives us a general sense of just how cost-effective organic SEO can be.

Looking at the pricing for such competitive terms as “health insurance” — easily one of the most expensive in terms of cost-per-click — Slingshot looked at the results of an SEO they ran for one of their clients. The SEO campaign, over the course of two years, cost $300,000. Then they looked at what it would have cost had that company strictly been advertising in Google using Google Adwords.

The result? $56 million. That’s how much it would have cost them to maintain those rankings on Google over the course of that SEO campaign, and at $300,000, they spent only a fraction of that.

That $56 million didn’t even take into account other search engines such as Yahoo or Bing. Wow.

How Can I Start?

Perhaps the most important thing in driving SEO is providing people with valuable, useful content. That is ultimately what drives real, organic SEO, which in turn will drive traffic and — most likely — will result in plenty of conversions. So ultimately, in order to get started, just start creating useful content that people would link back to.

How do you approach your SEO campaign?