SEO Performance Marketing

March 23, 2010
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

We are back from lunch! Did you eat? I had a cookie.  It was pretty okay as far as cookies go.  What I did not get to do was eat a bunch of power so I’m hoping my laptop makes it through til the end of the day. [Dear SES, tables and power strips make bloggers happy. And help you get peppier coverage. Or just coverage at all. Just saying.]

Leading us into battle today is John Marshall moderating speakers Seth Besmertnik, Richard Zwicky, and Craig Macdonald.  I keep running into Richard the past 24 hours. I swear I’m not stalking him. I hope he believes me.

Okay, we’re up and running. Look alive, people, look alive.

Up first is Seth Besmertnik.

Natural search is the most under spent channel in Web marketing.  CMOs are exited by the potential of SEO but extremely frustrated by the lack of accountability and ability to measure ROI. Eighty six percent of all clicks go to natural search. Fourteen percent go to paid. So why does organic search only get 11 percent of the marketing budget? It’s because paid search is highly measurable.

Paid search can live in a silo in an organization. SEO touches everything.

What is SEO worth to your organization?

You want to get a pie chart that shows the total realized opportunity vs the total unrealized opportunity. That’s going to show you the open opportunity out there and what SEO is really worth inside your business.

He shows what Conductor’s Marketing Opportunity Calculator looks like.

You put in your keywords that you think are in your ecosystem, your search volume data (use exact match and look at local data), your current rank and you can use it figure out what’s still out there. Or something. There was a big Excel spreadsheet. You trying blogging a spreadsheet.

Create a timeline on maturing your metrics.  Create a plan where you break out your milestones (what you do before your success metrics) and then list out your success metrics.  Milestones to consider using: average page scoring (most important keywords vs. most important pages), number of indexed backlinks, how many recommendations are you making, what is the velocity that you’re making recommendations, etc.

Where are you heading?

You want to drive awareness for getting resources faster. You do that by measuring your success.

SEO Assessment: You want to audit each of the four categories:

  1. Site/Technical Optimization
  2. Content Optimization
  3. Offsite Issues
  4. Tracking and Metrics

Keep urgency alive with Share of Search reporting.

Next up is Richard Zwicky.

Organic is a viable marketing channel is that is undervalued in every sense of the word.  His company is closing another round of financing today. A patent he wrote was also issued today. They also released a new product this morning. So, basically, today is kind of like Richard’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RICHARD! :)

Building The Right Online Marketing Mix

Most businesses don’t have a balanced strategy. It’s just a pile of rock sitting there. People invest too much into some channels and not enough in another because they don’t know what to do. They’re just staking claims on anything that moves.  You want to build a balanced sustainable model that drives value to everything else. You do that by investing in infrastructure. You want your business to be on the main line.  Organic search is a long term strategy.

Every day millions of potential customers are telling you exactly what they want but you are not listening.  Your analytics is how you listen because you can’t analyze what you can’t measure.  A balanced strategy unites everyone in the organization and gets everything pulling in the same direction. It wasn’t easy to do in the past. There was very little information about what was happening. Then hit counters came along and you could tell how many people walked through the door. Then early analytics let you know which customer walked through which door and what they wanted. Now we can look out into the crowds and figure out and identify who we want to target and we can define how to target them. When you learn to do this you win all day long. If you build it, they don’t just come. Levi’s first Web site in 1998 cost them $3.75 million building it and in their first year they sold ONE PAIR of jeans. They built it and no one came. When you do that your business becomes irrelevant and in disrepair.

Online marketing is about brand, but more importantly, it’s about sales. Because that’s what the CEO and CFO are investing in to accomplish something else.

Why Search Is Out Of Balance

  • 92 percent of all traffic from search is organic. But it garners less than 5 percent of the budget.
  • CMOs treat organic search as an operating expense instead of a marketing investment.

Companies don’t understand that they’re spending 33x as much to acquire 8 percent of the traffic. They do understand the difference in value.

We’re all in the customer acquisition and sales space. Everyone should be reporting to marketing, not IT.

How can you help your customer?

  • Listen to your customers through analytics.
  • Modify your marketing language to speak to customers in the language they use.
  • Use predictive analysis applications to define the best opportunities for growth and success.

Next up is Craig Macdonald.

He’s going to make three points.

What it takes to drive performance management in SEO

Doing performance management is about evaluating risk.  Any sort of performance-based contract requires control over the levers.  If you’re at a poker table and you don’t know who the dumb money is at the table, it’s you.  Heh.

Characteristics of a performance driven agency model

  • Technology
  • Analytic capability
  • Process
  • People
  • Metrics

Economics of SEO 201: If he had $100 to spend on SEO, here’s how he’d budget it:

  • 10 percent: Keyword discovery
  • 30 percent: Site audits
  • 45 percent: Site changes
  • 15 percent: Monitoring/Training

The majority of the money should be going toward the thing that moves the needle.

Metrics for Executive Reporting

  • Makes SEO look like media channels
  • Augment with market share or share of clicks.
  • Stay away from channel-specific jargon

Baseline Technology Marketecture – Take 1

There needs to be agreement between the agency and the advertiser that the agency should be investing a lot in diagnostic systems.  He seems a frighteningly small investment in analytics. Content management systems in large companies are usually a disaster because there’s usually not one, there’s 20. And they’re all in the IT department. He is seeing changes taking place.

Negotiating The Deal

  • Baseline: If you can’t measure the baseline, you can’t measure performance.
  • Structure: Performance deals are measuring actual conversions and based on ranking. It’s a two-tiered system.
  • Agree to the ‘source of the truth’.
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