advertising strategy

Valuing SEO: How Much is a Good SEO Strategy Worth?!

Search Engine Optimization is commonplace now. In the earlier years of 2000, it was an after thought and not on many an organization’s radar. The search marketing industry has evolved along with digital technologies and now SEO incorporates several elements to include technical, content, social and graphical components. With that being the case how do businesses go about finding value in SEO and determining what is an appropriate cost for an organic optimization strategy, agency or SEO technician?   Organic Percentage Of search Before we talk prices, cost and value, common ground of where the results of SEO have to be accepted and understood. The search engine results page (SERP) is made up of a mix of organic listings, paid opportunities (ads), and local results. On average, the result page is made up of 50-70% strictly organic results. The SERP for each search engine varies and results for industry keywords can cause variations in the display. Query Comparison: “Outdoor Tents” vs “Used Cars Nashville” vs “Burgers” The examples above show how different the results pages can vary between industries and those industries’ keyword targets. In these examples, paid advertisements (PPC, pay-per-click ads) make up about 15-20% of the page with 25-30% of the page being local listings and local results. The rest of the SERP content is organic results. Not only that, but many of the recent local updates to Google’s local system have centered on applying organic value to local results; furthering the importance of organic optimization for both organic listings and local visibility.   Pricing SEO and The Individuals/Agencies Doing It Now that we have conveyed the importance of organic optimization (yes, SEO), how much does it cost? Well, it depends. As the SERPs vary per industry, per keyword, SEO for a specific business should and will often vary based on the strategic targets. One primary method use to gauge the cost of SEO uses the willingness of you and your competitors to pay for impressions and clicks from search; in other words, Adwords data. Using Google’s Keyword Planner, it is possible to get search information on how many impressions and clicks a marketer can expect on an individual or set of keywords. Let’s look at an example for pricing SEO: Business X is looking to invest $800 per month. In 10 keywords. Those keywords receive a total of 10,000 impressions and those keywords’ ads receive 100 clicks (K.I.S.S. here) then the investment in each keyword is $80 dollars with a cost per click of $12.50.   This doesn’t take into consideration that your SEM campaign may be focused on exposure along with actual click throughs. Ultimately, the business is investing $800 in 20-30% of the SERP. If we quantify the other 70-80% of the page with the same value ($800 x 1.7 or 1.8), the organization should be willing to invest $1,360 to $1,500 in the organic area of search. At this point, this is where SEOs (like us at C.SEO) often make the case that the work of optimizing a website will also provide better results on the paid side of the marketing strategy, but ultimately, doing both SEO and SEM is the key to maximizing search. Why wouldn’t you want to make the most of the SERP?! Obviously, there are budgets and conversion statistics to evaluate.   The Wrapper: SEO vs SEM Conclusions It is easier for business owners and decision makers to invest in paid marketing because it offers clear returns on the investment (ROI); for X dollars you received Y visits/calls/forms. Nevertheless, with proper tracking and systems in place organic optimization can offer clear...

Read More

OrangeSoda: About that AMEX ‘Debacle’

Nothing is more surprising than when a small-to-medium sized business takes their social media seriously. Working in the marketing industry, I often find clients are either on the side of ‘do that magic SEO stuff that makes us #1 on Google’ or ‘I wrote all my title tags using keywords… from my keyword tag.’ You can then understand my amazement when OrangeSoda’s Dan Garfield, Site Architect and Sr. Brand Manager, contacted me directly after publishing the following tweet: As mentioned in the tweet, OrangeSoda, Inc. has been acquired by Deluxe Corporation as reported in a press release. My comment stemmed from a number of news and blog post related to Google Webmaster Tools’ emails concerning the detection of “unnatural links” and American Express. In summary, AMEX established a division focused on marketing small business clients through the use of link building, social media, and directory submissions. One article I referenced early on while investigating the unnatural link emails associated with Google’s Penguin release was by Bill Hartzer titled: How NOT to Build Links to Your Website: Courtesy of American Express. In his article Bill offered one key point of evidence from emails business owners received from AMEX’s Market 3D division: Not much was said about the Webmaster notifications by OrangeSoda or AMEX, so I was surprised by the call. During the course of the conversation, which was quiet pleasant – to Dan’s credit, we discussed some of the specifics of the actually result of Penguin and OrangeSoda’s work with AMEX. According to Dan, out of six thousand clients at the time of the algo change and 3D partnership, only 2 clients received these notifications. Furthermore, Dan stated that neither client was negatively impacted in ranking when the notifications were received. Who these clients are/were is a matter of privacy. So, on one hand, there is information stating that AMEX went about SEO in all the wrong ways (i.e. buying links, ‘SEO’ content, etc.). While on the other hand, OrangeSoda is, c/o Dan, stating that for what they were responsible for there were little, if any, issues. I will say that Dan was forthcoming to the fact that the business owners were not barred from using other marketing services. Either way, the burden falls on business owners to take an active role in their marketing and link profiles. My concern is that the email the clients receive still puts OrangeSoda as the ‘executor’ of the 3D marketing program, placing responsibility on them. In his follow up email, Dan offered this information: Things have been crazy busy here in the last few months leading up to our acquisition and I don’t think we’ve had the proper time to talk about how Penguin and Panda have affected our clients. The great news is that our clients are doing better than ever, the updates seem to have helped our clients rankings. There’s also been some hubbub around Google Webmasters letters. Of our nearly 6,000 clients we were able to confirm that two people had received a letter from Google Webmasters and neither of those clients seemed to have any affect on their rankings. We’ve been thinking that we should do a blog post every time Google updates to talk about how it affected our clients. We’re still mulling it over but we agree with you that transparency is the best policy so that’s what we’re striving for. I did make the suggestion to Dan that the company not sit behind a steel curtain and let us lowly SEOs run about making wild accusations; at best we are wild guesstimaters. Instead, put out some...

Read More

The New Raven CRM Tool

Raven Tools continues to improve upon a product that many individuals, SEOs, and agencies rely on for developing well thought out, data-driven Internet marketing strategies. The latest endeavor to come from the Raven camp: Raven CRM. Many of us in the marketing industry know the value Raven provides through their suite in terms of link building, keyword tracking, competitive analysis, and so much more. As Google, Bing, and other indexing services continue putting more emphasis on the value of social media, Raven is looking to provide users of their tool set with another innovative solution to maximize social media. The unique CRM, links into the existing suite and is integrated to provide a method for pulling in contact details from social media accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.  This allows administrators and users to connect link building profiles with contacts, leveraging the relationships for better results. This is why the CRM does not stand for Customer Relationship Manager, but Contact Relationship Manager – it’s pulling in contacts and leads (we’ll get to that) not ‘only’ existing customers. Along with integrations with the current Raven tools you may or may not be familiar with, the CRM accommodates online web form platforms like Wufoo and MailChimp to pull in leads. On May 10th, Jon Henshaw, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Raven Internet Marketing Tools held a webinar to introduce users to the Raven CRM. Here are a few of my personal highlights: Raven CRM Walkthrough Use the CRM to pull in contact data from any social profiles: such as twitter, business website, facebook, etc. You can identify links that you have established with/or in conjunction with a given contact. Setup tasks related to users to remind you about the type of interaction you need to engage in with a user. The CRM has shortcuts to engage users from within Raven Tools – such as tweeting a user. Link Building: Under the CRM, any contacts you add can also be identified with links the user has established via social mediums. Emails: Using an email service like Wufoo or Chimp, you can pull in the contact form leads and manage contact details. Converting leads into contacts using the system. Contact records also support the system’s tags as well. The CRM currently uses the default email client, but more options are in development – as always. For the official story and details of the CRM and to learn more about Raven SEO Tools visit www.RavenTools.com....

Read More

What is a calculated risk?!

It is isn’t uncommon to hear the two terms ‘calculated’ and ‘risk’ combined as Calculated risk. To be honest, I have heard the term in a number of instances but never research an official definition. According to the Cambridge business department, a calculated risk is a risk taken because the reward of successful implementation outweighs the impact of failing (Cambridge, 2011). Furthermore, Serbian professors Božo Nikolić and Ljiljana Ružić-Dimitrijević offer the calculation: R = P * F * H * N As the true definition of a calculated risk (it’s calculated cause there is mathematics involved)(2009). (P) is possibility, (F) is exposure to hazard, (H) possible harm, and (N) is the number of people exposed. What this calculation shows an analyst is an actual rating of the risk involved with a given risk or opportunity. In the discussion of vulnerability, exploits, and threats the term risk is often intermingled with the definitions of each of these terms. It is easy to see how one can determine the true ‘value’ of the risks related to any system deficiencies. Whether one uses the final risk calculation or not, the investigation into each of the factors of risk can illuminate clearer elements, issues, concerns and gaps that may go otherwise unrealized. Cambridge University Press. (2011). Calculated risk. Cambridge Dictionary Online. Retrieved from, http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/business-english/calculated-risk Božo Nikolić and Ljiljana Ružić-Dimitrijević (2009). Risk assessment of information technology systems. The Higher Education Technical School of Professional Studies. Retrieved from,...

Read More

Advertising in Multiple Baskets… A Necessity

Finally, a moment to breathe has returned. The last month and a half has been filled with personal challenges and tons of combat missions flown over enemy territory. Suffice it to say, no nukes were dropped but I did have to do some carpet bombing (No any animals harmed in the writing of this post, though). Anyway, back to business; with economic woes and marketing being a big part of any company’s budget, it begs to question; what avenues should advertisers use and what could hinder the effectiveness? One avenue that most would use is radio; a more costly but highly effective second is television. But with the advances in technology, do these avenues still maintain their cost effectiveness? The answer… no. How can I say such a thing, simply… technology is a blessing with a double edge. With the ever evolving communications capacity of everything from netbooks, cell phones, PDA’s, XBoxes and Playstations it is hard for advertisers to find ad points that get the message across effectively to there demographic. The market has changed so dramatically, it is impossible to pin-point advertising like it once was in the 1980’s. At one point in time, one could pick up a Wall Street Journal and know who it was geared for. Turn on the radio and choices were limited to sports, talk, rock and roll, R&B and public radio. Television was simple and very basic compared to the millions of channels beamed into our homes daily. I remember a time, hard to believe, but television went off. So, what is this all to say? There are so many channels of advertising that anyone wanting to make a drop in the bucket has to be prepared to spread the wealth. Nothing will truly come of marketing in one area, with a small budget. Nowadays, radio will lead one to television, television will lead to a Google or Yahoo search, and the search engine results will lead to a site where; if interested, the individual will take an action. This is a lot of work not only for the individual but the marketer and their client(s). Suffice it to say, marketing, just like television, will never be the same. Just as we now can do an über search on the internet; marketing must be über-faceted for the audience attention spans as it dwindles and...

Read More