Sunday, June 8, 2008

What's the value of top rankings in search results?

Almost right after case SEA LIFE I managed to get one public SEO case too. These previous posts about search engine optimization relate to this article:
In my opinion, search engine optimization is one small, but very relevant part of web analytics. Instead of putting money constantly into paid search to get some visibility, you can optimize your website for certain keywords. This was the basic idea when IMS Talent, an executive search and HR development company (B2B), decided to use my search engine opimization knowlegde.

In this case we have used the Google Analytics for measuring visitors, sources, keywords and website goals of the customer. IMS Talent got visitors with right keywords, but were paying them by using Google Adwords. We selected a handful of keywords in September 2007, based on Google Analytics and Adwords data we had. We started working with one search term first, so that IMS Talent's people, as a content owner, could get the idea of optimization work needed.

The very first search term was "executive search" ("johdon suorahaku" in Finnish) and this time getting the top spot in organic search results was pretty easy. We succeeded to get #1 position in Google in the end of April 2008. All it needed was just content optimization, although it took some time for customer to make those recommended changes. From technical point of view we added extra features to Navia CMS, so that IMS Talent could write unique titles and URLs to each web page they wanted to optimize.

Now we have managed to get much more traffic with "executive search" ("johdon suorahaku") and "direct search" ("suorahaku" in Finnish). But what's is the value of getting the top ranking in organic search results? Getting people to your website is not enough, you have to convert the visitors and you have to measure those conversions. And you need to get the money in your web analytics reports for counting the value of top spots in search results and SEO.

In this case one website goal is the contact request. Unfortunately, the data tells that we should do some concept design and landing page optimization. Anyway, IMS Talent can easily count how many new deals they have got by this certain keyword. These could be their KPIs for first SEO project (analysed by non paid traffic and compared to other segments):
  • visitors by keyword (or growth of visitors by keyword)
  • bounce rate of landing page (optimized for keyword)
  • page views by keyword
  • average time on site by keyword
  • conversions by keyword (e.g. contact requests)
  • sales from contact requests by keyword
  • return on investment (sales divided by costs of SEO)
  • conversion rate by keyword (contact requests divided by visitors by keyword)
  • value of visitor by keyword (sales divided by visitors by keyword)