I came across this great article on Search Engine Watch a while back and I was blown away by this statistic;
While a mere 8 percent of search engine clicks come from paid search, 89 percent of the search budget is invested in search engine marketing. Conversely, while 92 percent of search engine clicks are organic in origin, a mere 11 percent of the search engine budget is invested in organic search.
I couldn't believe that such a small percentage of a brand's budget would be invested back into SEO when the numbers clearly showed that it was by far the better investment. I think a lot of in-house marketing managers (and even in-house SEOs) still struggle with getting their managers and the C-suite on board with B2B SEO because A--it's incredibly long term and the people that dole out the budget are looking for immediate ROI, and B--it's hard to say "if we invest X dollars in SEO we'll get X dollars back in sales." The numbers are definitely there if you have the patience to wait a little while and sort through the data, but typically it's not a quick and easy road to success. But I firmly believe that without a strong B2B SEO campaign (which means your boss needs to be on-board and supporting your initiative) your online brand is going to get completely lost in the shuffle.
Here are 3 tips for selling B2B SEO to your boss to get the budget it deserves:
Admit that rankings matter...a little bit
Personally, I hate ranking reports as a way to measure to B2B SEO success. The truth is that rankings can fluctuate from day to day, hour to hour and searcher to searcher, making it hard to show real, true SEO value with ranking reports. But I also understand that ranking well typically means getting more visitors to your site and that's a business metric a B2B manager can get behind. So find out what your boss's "big keywords" are and pull ranking data (using a tool like SEOMoz) for those keywords. But don't limit yourself to just those keywords (especially if they aren't ones you can effectively compete for!) Incorporate all the long-tails keywords you've added into your B2B SEO program, as well as keywords that searchers are using to find your site but maybe you aren't actively targeting on your website. Every month break it down as to how many keywords moved up and how far they jumped. In my experience it's a lot easier to go from page 3 to page 2 than page 2 to page 1. If 65% of your keywords jumped in rank that's a good thing and a big SEO win, even if the number of keywords on page 1 didn't grow by much.
Show how your content is doing organically.
My team handles the content creation for one of our full service B2B SEO clients. For one of their priority keywords their product page usually hovers around spots 3 and 4 in Google SERPs. But on pages 2-5 they have at least one blog post also showing up for the same keyword. This means that their brand is represented multiple times throughout the top 50 search results--talk about a B2B SEO win! It's important to remind your bosses that Google doesn't rank websites as a whole; each page stands on its own. This means you have the ability to leverage your content marketing efforts to carve out a larger chunk of the SERPs for your brand and really dominate for certain keywords. The more touch points your can create the better chance you have of drawing the right kind of traffic to your site. This is especially important for B2B brands, as the buying cycle can be very long. You want to make it hard for your target audience it avoid you organically! The content you produce can be crawled and ranked by the search engines, just like any other page on your website, creating new landing pages that give searchers a reason to come back to your site time and time again.
Figure out how expensive a PPC conversion is.
Depending on how competitive your keywords are, one visitor from a PPC ad could cost easily cost you $8. Some SEO related keywords cost as much as $15 a click! How much growth is your boss looking for this year? Let's say your site is getting 5,000 visitors a month right now and they want that to grow 20% by the end of the year. That's an extra 1,000 visitors (and a cool $8,000) a month. And what is the conversion rate of your paid visitors? 2% maybe? That means you are spending an extra $8k to get an extra 20 conversions each month, which rounds out to $400 per conversion from paid search! When you lay the numbers (and cost) in front of your boss suddenly a biggest investment in B2B SEO sounds like a much better plan!
The most important thing to remember when it comes to selling B2B SEO to your boss is that you've got to set their expectations to be realistic from the get-go. If you promise 70% growth by the end of the year and only come up with 30% (which could still mean thousands of visitors!) your B2B SEO campaign is going to look like a failure. Be an internal SEO champion and work to educate everyone, including your bosses, as to how valuable SEO is going to be for your website!
Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, one of the premier full service SEO firms in the United States. With over 12 years of experience Nick Stamoulis has worked with hundreds of companies small, large and every size in between. Through his vast and diverse SEO, search engine marketing and internet marketing experience Nick Stamoulis has successfully increased the online visibility and sales of clients in all industries.
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