As a marketing manager, you want to understand how your campaigns are maximizing results. One of the best ways to improve results is to create a marketing dashboard and then measure, test and tweak for continuous improvement.

Your marketing dashboard should be tailored to meet specific business goals. The dashboard might include offline media as well as a number of interactive strategies. Regardless of your objectives, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) belongs on your dashboard and here's why.

Effective Marketing Strategy

Search Engine Optimization is one of today's most effective marketing strategies. Web use seems to revolve around search with 80 percent of users finding their destinations from a search query. Over half (55 percent) of all ecommerce transactions originate from a search listing.

SEO is poised to drive substantial profits for your business. As a multi-purpose marketing tool, search marketing can be used for direct response to generate sales leads, collect newsletter subscriptions, gather site registrations and convert online and offline sales. It is even an excellent branding tool.

Search marketing works because people pre-qualify themselves by typing search terms in a search box. What makes search so powerful is that you can get the right message to the right person at the right time as search engines attract people with a high level of interest in their search topic. Search can provide a huge reach, as 90 percent of U.S. consumers use search engines (Pew Internet ALP).

Search has the lowest cost-per-lead of any marketing strategy (U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray). While formerly second to email in popularity, search recently surpassed email and has become the most popular online activity (MarketingSherpa).

Advantages of SEO

The original search marketing strategy is cost-effective both in terms of conversions and return on ad spend (ROAS). While it takes time to generate prominent organic links, once achieved they last indefinitely, and this long-term quality is what makes SEO cost effective. The average company SEO project averages about $3 per-day, per-keyword, and you can generate ten times that much per day in additional business by being found more often in the search engines.

Recent research (comCast and MarketingSherpa) shows that search engines drive offline sales. Organic links are important because they yield more conversions. The Search Marketing Benchmark Survey (MarketingSherpa) shows that conversions with organic links outperform PPC links thusly:

  • Average conversion rates: organic links 4.2 percent vs. PPC links 3.6 percent
  • Delayed ecommerce/service purchases: organic links 6.3 percent vs. PPC links 4.2 percent
  • Ecommerce product /service purchases: organic links 4.1 percent vs. PPC Links 3.8 percent

Earlier research shows that 70 percent of your prospects will click on an organic link over a sponsored link and that organic clicks outnumber PPC clicks by 5:1. JupiterResearch found that "algorithmic listings in search indexes generate an estimated six of seven commercially natured search referrals." Therefore, it's important to put SEO in your marketing dashboard.

SEO services require modification of your site content and structure to improve relevancy and rankings in algorithmic search engines. This is sometimes referred to as making your website "search engine friendly." A properly optimized website is more easily indexed by the search robots for indexing in search engine databases. Well-optimized sites naturally achieve higher rankings.

SEO goes a long way toward making your website successful because it energizes your site content and structure for maximum effectiveness. SEO works in tandem with other important variables on the marketing dashboard.

Segmenting Media to Improve Results

You'll want to segment all sources of traffic to your website, using your dashboard and web analytics to maximize results. My next article will focus on how media segmentation improves results.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

June 9, 2006

Paul J. Bruemmer has provided search engine marketing expertise and consulting services to prominent American businesses since 1995. As Director of Search Marketing at Red Door Interactive, he is responsible for strategizing and implementing search engine marketing activities within Red Door's Internet Presence Management (IPM) services.

Search Engine Guide > Paul Bruemmer > Putting SEO on Your Dashboard