Investing in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is expensive and time-consuming and is not suitable for every company or business sector. To determine whether your company should invest in SEO, there are a number of things you should consider to make sure it will be a sound investment.

This article will help you ensure you do not fall into the trap of being sold SEO services when the return on investment case is not clear.

The 6-Point Check List

Are there enough searches being done on relevant phrases to justify investment in SEO?
The justification for SEO depends on several factors including; how broad your products/services are, and the size of target market using search engines to locate your type of product/service.

For example, a software company with a broad product range, selling globally would naturally have much greater potential Return on Investment from SEO than an office cleaning business that operates within a small local area.

If you invested in an expensive SEO campaign and achieved some great first page rankings for relevant search phrases, at first you might be happy – but if these phrases are not being search for sufficiently to drive enough visitors to your site, then you will gain little benefit.

Let’s assume you have an Office Cleaning Company and have some good first page rankings for the search term ‘commercial cleaning services’. This term on Overture UK generated only 38 searches in December 2005, (and assuming Overture UK accounts for approximately 30-40% of UK searches) you could estimate that the total number of people in the UK using ‘commercial cleaning service’ is approx 100.

Therefore, with excellent first page rankings on this search term, at best you might expect 5-10% of these 100 to click-through to your site. So on average, you might get between 5-10 new visitors to your site resulting from this search term – and is this enough to justify an expensive SEO program? Probably not!

Is your site of a high enough standard to convert traffic to enquiries or sales?
Investing thousands of pounds in SEO to drive potential customer to your site is pointless unless this traffic converts to a desired action on your web site. If you website converts 0.4% of visitors to an enquiry, then from 1000 visitors you will get 4 enquiries. Compare this to a quality site that looks good and has been built with conversion systems in mind and converts 5% of visitors – and you’ve got an extra 50 enquiries. As a result the case for SEO varies drastically just by having a quality site geared up to convert its visitors.

The difference between conversion rates of sites on the web are huge and can vary from 0% up to 20%. A good SEO company should have experience of conversion enhancement strategies and should include this as part of their SEO proposal.

Conversion enhancement strategies can include copywriting tactics, advanced conversion reporting, call to action tactics and site usability. If an SEO company can improve your sites conversion rate, as well driving relevant traffic, this is a powerful and winning combination.

Related Articles:
Copywriting: 6 Tips to Converting Traffic
Calls to Actions – 5 Quick Tips

What positions do you currently have on natural search engine rankings?
This seems pretty obvious but an overlooked point. Before investing in SEO, you should run a detailed positions report showing rankings for ALL phrases relevant to your business (that have high search counts!). This will allow you to benchmark where you are currently, and make decisions on the potential improvement that could be made.

Other important questions to be asked as part of your checklist should be;

How much competition is there for natural rankings on your relevant search phrases?
What results can you expect to achieve from SEO?
What is the average value from resulting enquiries or actual sales generated from your web site?

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About the author:

Phil Robinson is an online marketing consultant with over 17 years experience in marketing planning, internet strategy and online acquisition. In 2004, Phil founded ClickThrough, an ethical search marketing agency. He gives best practice training for businesses, runs seminars and writes books on digital marketing.