Author Topic: Lies, Damned Lies and SEO  (Read 5885 times)


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Lies, Damned Lies and SEO
« on: September 30, 2009, 01:06:13 PM »
Read this on and thought I would share with the group... any thoughts?  *B*

Okay, so that's a pretty dramatic headline, but it seems to me that too many search engine optimization consultants and their clients are focusing on the wrong things. It's not necessarily intentional, but many companies have bought, sold and swallowed several SEO lies...

The first lie is that search engine optimization is all about getting high rankings in the search engines for the most popular keywords or keyphrases in a particular market. Technically, that may well be what “search engine optimization” or means... but does a company really want higher rankings... or does it want to make more money?

Is getting a number 1, 2 or 3 for the most searched on terms in your market really what you want? Or is it getting a high ranking for what Dan Thies calls those "wallet out" keywords - those keywords most searched on by people who are likely to buy from you?

The second lie is that search engine optimization (SEO) should be about increasing traffic to your website. Does getting more traffic matter... or does getting more paying-customer-traffic matter? It's possible to use several techniques to bring a whole lot of traffic to your site... but whether those visitors are interested in – or likely to buy – your products is another question altogether. Again, certain keywords – including keywords that are searched on by people in your target market – may bring a lot of traffic to your site... but are they really buyers?

Finally, building on the first and second lies, the third lie is that, when it comes to search engine optimization, your focus should be on increasing your search engine rankings and overall website traffic.

Um, if you are in business, shouldn't your focus be on making more money?

Okay, okay. There may be a clear relationship between increasing your ranking in the search engine result pages (SERPs) for the most popular keywords and generating more traffic. But the point is that this is not necessarily the case. In fact, identifying what relationships exist between given keywords, types of traffic and money will generally require a good deal of analysis and experimentation.

Case in point: I know of a company that is very pleased with its high ranking for a highly-searched on phrase in their market. But the money they are making from their SEO efforts is appalling. Could it be that the phrase they have spent so much effort achieving a high ranking for... is not the phrase used by most “wallet-out” search engine users?

In any case, what surely can't be disputed is that the key metrics a company should really use to measure the effectiveness of their online marketing – including search engine optimization – are visitor value and overall online profit.

Visitor value equals revenue per visitor less the costs of acquiring that visitor. In SEO terms, it's the revenue per visitor derived from organic search engine results less the costs of search engine optimization.

You can actually use more precise measures of visitor value. You can work out the visitor value per search engine, per keyword, and per other kinds of variables. Ideally, you will have different visitor values for each distinguishable type of marketing you carry out - e.g. visitor value per paid search, visitor value per a particular banner campaign, and so on, in order to work out the effectiveness of each kind or activity. In each case, though, the visitor value metric essentially tells you how much money you are generating from an average visitor less the costs of acquiring that visitor.

Online profit is how much money, overall, you are making from your website less the costs of maintaining and marketing that website. Depending on how you define “costs” your online profit may be different to your overall gross profit, which may take into account various “off-line” costs.

Online profit is important because, depending on the types of products or services you sell, your visitor value may be relatively low, but your online profit may be considerable.

But what matters is not so much what your visitor value and online profit are now... but, rather, the extent to which they are growing. In other words, when it comes to measuring the return on investment from your search engine optimization activities you want to know if, and by how much, such activities are increasing your visitor value and online profit.

Consequently, when considering the performance of your SEO firm, you are wise to focus less on whether they are getting you higher search engine rankings or generating more traffic, and more on whether they are improving your visitor value and your online profit.

The same is also true of paid search engine marketing. I've found that many companies are so intent on lowering their cost-per-click and increasing their click-through-rate that they lose sight of the big picture, which is to increase visitor value and online profit. In fact, in many cases, by working out which keywords best convert into sales in a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, you can find out which are the best keywords to optimize for in terms of SEO.

Of course, your methods for converting visitors are integral to raising visitor value and online profit. And these may well be outside your SEO company's control. On the other hand, it's important to recognize that search engine marketing and conversion activities are highly interdependent. What keywords you optimize for will not only impact on the traffic your website receives, but the degree to which that traffic converts into customers. Fortunately, it's possible to hold all variables constant and identify which keywords are more highly converting. So, in this respect, you can see how effective your search engine optimization consulting firm is in identifying and optimizing for those wallet-out keywords.

All in all, your online success depends on recognizing and focusing on improving those bottom-line metrics that really matter – visitor value and online profits. Getting better search engine rankings and more traffic may well be essential for increasing visitor value and online profit... but they are a means to an end, not an end in themselves. That's our view as an internet marketing services provider, as well as the operator of a portfolio of money-making websites.

Offline ASUService

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Re: Lies, Damned Lies and SEO
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2009, 01:46:43 PM »
Very interesting points Howard's my take on SEO and SEO services.

First let me say I'm not an expert on this topic and my statements will be the result of observations with no REAL tracking and or facts to back them up. Am I off base ... might be but I usually listen to my gut which has always told me that SEO services are a waste of money. No offense intended to any RRW members who do work SEO for hire.

Your main point, I believe, is to generate income ... You betcha that's important and I.E. the bottom line. Does SERP's traffic do that ... not usually ... never has ... doubt it ever will. But is SE traffic something that should be dismissed ... nope! Because it does give you the opportunity to build a relationship by getting them to signup for your email, notification, or newsletter list. Now the control is in your hands vs. the "chance" of an SE sending someone in.

Sure, you MAY get an occasional visitor from an SE that is ready to buy that second but I believe you'll usually get someone who is checking out the options and unless you have a Tony Robbins sales letter they will continue to look at what else is available. In that case who has the better shot at getting the sale ... Page one listings or Page five listings? Will that person remember your offer after reviewing 50 other items ... if you've got a good sales letter possibly. If you successfully got them to sign up for your list YOU can make sure they remember you.

One format I use with ALL marketing efforts is I pay attention to how I use something. Most folks are the same in some aspects. If you find yourself doing FILL IN THE BLANK .... most likely there are more people than not doing the same thing.

That said ... do you search for something using SE's or do you go to forums looking for the same info. Do you find when you do use SE's that you click more on reviews and/or forum posts containing info on that item? I do!

Next point I've noticed was my experience with Subscription Router. It is a brand new product and website. In less than three days I was ranking in the top ten on Google when I searched for the keywords found in the title. Was that a top search item ... dunno ... I was too busy to check. I did NOTHING ... not even an SE submit. FYI, it's fallen since then.

SEO rules change too much for me to keep up with. I know ... I know ... this is what we're supposed to hire an SEO specialist to handle. My experience has been that's a spendy venture and the ROI appears to me to be lacking at best. But back to "The List". If it brings in subscribers and you can get them to convert after a few emails ... woohoo! You've done a great job.

Timing is another issue ... what's going on in the world at that moment. Last year selling a Micheal Jackson or Jackson 5 Album form 1970 would have taken a lot more effort than it does right now. This variable can change on a daily basis dependant on what's in the news.

Much of what your saying (IMHO) amounts to marketing smart not marketing hard. That will always be the best way to go. Do what you can to get traffic that will signup for your list THEN convert them! So I guess I'm saying the same as you with regard to ... "they are a means to an end, not an end in themselves"

Good Post ... thanks for the brain juggler!  :cool:

Offline Jim Burney

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Re: Lies, Damned Lies and SEO
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2009, 05:31:43 AM »
Good Post ... thanks for the brain juggler! 

Mike I agree with you on that point. Thanks for your maverick opinion. ;) ;D ;D


"wallet out" keywords. I like that phrase! :cool:

Great thread



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Re: Lies, Damned Lies and SEO
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2009, 03:55:24 PM »
I would love to find the wallet out keywords for my niche!


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Re: Lies, Damned Lies and SEO
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2011, 01:21:20 PM »
Search engine optimization is a technique used to make your Web pages more useful for your customers while making them more transparent and understandable to search engines. SEO is an inexpensive way to help your Web site get more page views by creating Web pages that rank highly in search engine results.

Offline ASUService

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Re: Lies, Damned Lies and SEO
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2011, 01:45:15 PM »
IF "you" are an SEO expert it's inexpensive. If not ... take out a loan!