Thursday, 10 March 2016

Where many Digital Marketers Fail – SEO, It Can Lead to Long Term gains.

Most Marketers and business owners continue to miss out on an enormous opportunity that leads to extended growth and creating a sustainable business. Many Marketers and business owners work with Social Media, Content and paid searches as these give rise to short term quick returns, while missing out on the big jack that remains in the box i.e. SEO. Everyone says that they understand what SEO means but SEO cannot just be achieved by increasing website visits alone. SEO is an area that requires an enormous understanding of various methodologies and a deep understanding of site optimization.

When one sees the acquisition terms SEO is definitely the most effective and cost efficient channel for customer Acquisition in the long term with increasing use of ad blockers becoming more and more prominent.
While social media, Blogs , paid articles can provide a distribution channel for content , a lot of companies either take a passive approach to SEO, or they don’t utilize search to its full potential, if at all. Many a times they may not even have the idea what may be required for SEO optimization as simple met tags alone are never sufficient to improve overall site ranking.
Breaking It Down
While many companies are usually quite effective in doing their On-page optimization many miss out on OFF-page optimization. While many focus on the on-page aspect of SEO such as keywords, Metatags, Picture Tagging etc., In Reality this is just the fraction of the SEO work. It’s not that this is not relevant and not required. But off page Optimization is what has the most influence over organic search results. If I have to define in simple terms “ You are standing in a crowd of people shouting and only one person calls out your name will anyone be able to hear it?? Now instead of just 1 10 people are calling out your name , the chance that people will be able to hear your name increases, right? Now Imagine 1000’s of people in the crowd calling out your name, everyone will then take note. Off-Page optimization is what this is. It is supposed to create 1000’s of backlinks and information about your site and Services. Don’t misunderstand that On-page optimization isn’t important. But off-page optimization is what has the most influence over organic results.

Generalizing On-Page optimization I would say it is just 20% of the effort of SEO max someone can do is Tweak the content and Establish metatags on each page. In the case of large sites or Sites with extensive product literature and product portfolio, such as e-commerce or other websites that tend to have hundreds of thousands of pages, the overall percentage of on-page optimization can be double in its effectiveness as there are more ‘long tail’ opportunities to work with. By this, I’m referring to longer and more specific search queries that might be 5 or more words, such as brand plus model plus color or Product plus specification plus certification or similar attributes.
There are instances where a website’s authority is strong enough that they will rank at times just for publishing, but this also depends on the competitiveness of the term or phrase as well. There are a select few per vertical or market that usually have this authority.
Scale for Success
For many, paid search is the go to for driving traffic, but Paid search has its own limitations. Increasing Budget can help you increase traffic but this traffic will be converted is another Issue, Secondly paid clicks only account for 6-10% of search volume, furthermore with more and more use of Ad Blockers the probability of reflecting on someone’s search result diminishes further. Also, the position of your add determines just how much of that measly 10 percent you might capture. Make no mistake, paid search is great, and easy to follow and measure. It’s likely for these reasons that businesses lean towards it.
So you might be wondering about the off-page aspect at this point. This is related to link building, and you would either focus on this through inbound marketing, or direct interaction in a PR approach or thought leadership way to placing links on other websites. In the end, SEO is about the links, and all are not of equal value. Earn them or place them, but that’s a different discussion.

While this may not be an incentive to change the thinking of using paid ads across various channels, let’s consider a few things and how they may impact one’s bottom-line. According to research organic search traffic tends to provide the highest volume of traffic and conversion rates. The Scalability of paid search is limited if your focus is on conversions and not on traffic. But forms are more effective than most other digital channels as these two channels attract the customer without interrupting the customer. Additionally a focus on increasing organic search results and SEO helps in building the Image of the Brand, consider yourself to be a customer and think which is the first link you will click 4 out of 10 times you will click on the result that comes up on top of organic search. It creates the feeling that most other people are also utilizing these services or visiting that site.
Run the Numbers
If you were targeting a phrase that received ten thousands monthly searches, being in position one in the organic results might bring you 40% of that traffic. There are several studies about what the top spot provides, and vary from about 30-40% on average, with the following positions (2, 3, 4, 5) providing about 12, 9, 6, and 5 percent of the search volume respectively. But in case of Paid search the traffic varies between 2-6 % of the total search volume.
There is a simple reason why marketer’s lean towards paid search as these are much simpler to run and monitor as compared to organic search optimization. The results are usually definitive and its easier to measure the cost per sale/lead.
Investing in Growth
Working on improving SEO and Organic traffic can take an extended time as it not only is based on keywords metatags links etc. It is also dependent on your overall page ranking and can take months to actually come into play. Improving SEO and organic search ranking is a long term investment but will also deliver results for a much longer time even after the campaign has ended.
The Perfect Strategy for digital marketers is to Run Both campaigns simultaneously and while paid search will give immediate results, SEO will help in garnering future traffic and slowly as organic traffic increases then it just is a matter of shifting of tweaking the Budget for each.
The perfect storm for digital marketers is using paid search for immediate results, while building an SEO campaign for future success. Your organic search campaign will offset your paid search in time and it becomes a matter of shifting your budget when it starts to work for you. Running both supplement one another as well.
In some ways, investing in SEO is like investing in your brand. Should you appear in top results, your brand would be synonymous with the term and help with positioning. This also helps with top of mind awareness, and consumers tend to associate you with certain terms when you appear at the top of the results.
Is it time to rethink your digital strategy?
If you’re online, why wouldn’t you use a channel with the most potential to grow your business?

About The Author : Ruben Das  is a marketing head at a Startup specializing in both online marketing as well as Offline Marketing