SEO Has Been Misunderstood For A Long Time

I had a computer class in high school, and every day that we walked into the classroom, our teacher expected us to take part in a daily routine:

  • Sit down at our computer and open Google.
  • Search for “Notre Dame” (my high school’s name … the same name as a famous university).
  • Find our high school’s website.
  • Click the link and let the page download.
  • Go back to Google and repeat the process a few more times.

I didn’t get why we were doing this at the time other than to gain “popularity” for our website. But it did eventually pay off. Our high school’s website rose nicely through the rankings — at one point even eclipsing that famous university’s website.

I’ve told this story several times in speeches, webinars, and client interactions. It usually gets some smiles and laughs. But the point of telling this story is twofold: 1) SEO has become much more complex as time has gone on. You can’t “game” the system anymore and 2) SEO is very often misunderstood.

Unfortunately, marketers haven’t brought much clarity to SEO over the years. People who own or work on the company’s SEO strategy are often referred to as “SEOs” — an obscure title. I’ve heard marketers use the term SEO as a verb, adjective, and noun. Even recently, a marketer at a virtual event talked about SEO as if it was another form of paid search by saying, “Google increased the cost of our SEO.” And my favorite is when SEO is talked about as if it’s some magical remedy like, “Can’t you just SEO that?”

It’s no wonder that most executives at enterprise companies don’t understand what SEO is, why it matters, or, more importantly, how valuable it is to their business.

Good News: You Can Model The ROI Of SEO

Today, we published a brand-new piece of research entitled “The ROI Of SEO.” I am excited for our clients to be able to read — and use — this piece of research to build their own ROI model for their SEO program. Our model is built using Forrester’s Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) methodology, and it provides the tools you need to quantify your SEO program’s:

  • Benefits. We were able to quantify key benefits of an SEO program, such as increased site traffic, improved conversion rates, and cost savings from paid media.
  • Costs. It is often difficult to understand how much you spend on SEO. But we distilled it down to two quantifiable items: fees associated with third-party support like technology, agencies, or consultants and internal salaries and time dedicated to SEO by cross-functional stakeholders.
  • Risks. Our model is also risk-adjusted, which means we take into account potential mishaps or hurdles such as Google algorithm changes or difficulties in being able to implement website changes.

Our Composite Organization Recognized A 611% ROI On Its SEO Program

We built a composite organization to model the benefits and costs of a standard SEO program. Our composite organization looks most like a typical global e-commerce company, with lots of site traffic, significant spend on paid search, and an increasing need to focus on SEO.

Our findings? The composite organization recognized a 611% ROI from its SEO program. The model is available to clients in the report and can be customized to your needs in order to determine your expected ROI.

Be sure to check out the full report here. And if you want to learn how to customize the model to your needs, schedule an inquiry with me.