Tag Archives: Search engine optimization

Search Engine Optimization Cost

The most common question I get is:

How much does the search engine optimization cost?

The cost of SEO is in most cases far greater than the majority of those who asked me imagined. For some reason there is a huge percentage of people who not only think but are convinced that they should be able to get on top of the search results in Google, for next to nothing. The majority of those who had their web site designed by a younger family member or some student for a bit of cash, really strongly believe that the cost of search engine optimization should be the fraction of what they paid for the web site.

I wrote in a post SEO Budget, about the search engine optimization costs and how to estimate it.

Search Engine Optimization Cost is Determined by YOUR Marketing Goals

Do you need 100 or a 1000 visitors to look at your web site every day? The difference is 10 times in those two examples. The search engine optimization cost will be almost 10 times different to achieve those two marketing goals.

How Many Web Site Visitors do You Need?

Calculate your web site conversion rate. Let’s take it for example that you need 100 web site visitors to make one sale. Your conversion rate is therefore 1%. Now, how many sales do you want to make every day? 50 Sales? 50 sales times 100 visitors per sale equals 5000 unique visitors a day. You can calculate it for your site with the same formula.

Web Site Revenue

Now let’s take web site revenue into the equation as well. Imagine your revenue is 100 per sale. 50 sales from 5000 visitors a day with the conversion rate of 1% is 5000 a day. Note that if you manage to change the conversion rate for just 1% higher, to 2% your revenue doubles to 10000 with the same 5000 visitors, and therefore the same search engine optimisation cost.

What is your Profit per Sale?

Let’s say that your sales costs eat half of the revenue and your profit is 50. 50 sales a day and your profit is 50 on each make the daily profit of 2500.

Now let’s look at those figures on the annual basis. We had a web site with 5000 visitors with 1% conversion rate. Each sale is worth 100, and sales cost deducted the profit per sale is 50.

1 day: 50 sales of 100 each make 5000 in revenue with 2500 profit.
1 year: 18250 sales of 100 each make 1825000 in revenue with 912500 profit.

The number of unique visitors was 5000 a day so therefore 1825000 visitors in the whole year.

What is the cost of a visitor?

The cost of a visitor in search engine optimization is a theoretical figure. The cost per visitor can only be calculated in the search engine marketing terms. In the example above where there is 912500 a year profit and we know that to make that profit we require 1825000 visitors, we can simply divide the required number of visitors by the profit (marketing budget in SEM terms) and get a cost of a visitor of 0.5. That number is a defining number if the search engine marketing can or cannot be used to drive traffic to our site. If the traffic can be bought for less than 0.5 the business will be profitable. If the average visitor costs more than 0.5, the business will be in red by the end of the year.

As well as the cost of the visitor from the search engine marketing perspective, from the search engine optimisation perspective we can calculate the value of a web site visitor. It is again the same in the sample above 0.5.

How to determine the search engine optimization cost?

In the sample above there is 1.8 mil visitors required to generate 0.9 million in profit. If spread evenly during the year this means we need 5000 visitors a day. Divide the profit by the number of visitors per day and you get the value of each daily visitor of 182.5. This means that if you can pay your search engine optimisation less than 182.5 per the single unique visitor a day you will be making profit. If you are paying more you will end up in red.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Costs Vs. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Costs

NOTE: See the post about: Search Engine Optimisation vs. Search Engine Marketing.

Let’s get back to the beginning and compare the business running with investing in SEO and in SEM. You know your market so ask yourself a question:

Is it likely I will be able to pay 0.5 per click (per visitor) for a sale worth 100?

In my opinion there are not that many examples where this is possible. Now let’s look at the SEO avenue, and ask yourself if you know of a SEO company who will bring your 5000 unique visitors for 0.9 million? Now I know many SEO companies that would do it in many markets.

And now the fun part. Year 1 ended. The second you stop paying your SEM your business is on the flat line. With SEO the truth is that on the last day of year on and the first day on year two you will make the same profit, without paying anything for SEO. The search engine optimisation investment is a long term investment. When you build you rankings and inbound links, you will not really lose that traffic that quickly. At the end of the second year, you will even without investing anything in SEO still have some two thirds or more of the traffic you started the year with.

Irish Google speaks American English

“Growing up”, Google learned to understand the abbreviations. Today it knows that ‘SEO’ stands for ‘Search Engine Optimization’. You can see it in the search engine results pages where Google highlights the keyword you have made a search for in the text description it displays about your site. So if you make a search for ‘SEO’, it will highlight the text ‘Search Engine Optimization’ as well.

Irish Google speaks American English

What is to be noted here is that this is actually wrong. Why? Because this is a search results page of the Google.ie, so it should have the Irish spelling here. Note that there is also a text there ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ – the way we spell it here in Ireland. The Google.ie didn’t highlight that, meaning it didn’t understand that this means SEO as well.

Someone should teach Google.ie the Irish spelling of the English words…

Until then, watch your META Description Tags. If you want Google to understand you and display and highlight appropriately, you need to spell the full meanings of the abbreviations the American way. Otherwise Google will not recognise them, and will not display / highlight them properly in the search engine results pages.

Google is showing different search results during weekends!

A few times the new page I would be optimising for Google, I would se the new page all of the sudden, completely unexpected, on the first page in Google during the weekend. I would be happy and start the celebrations only to find out that on Monday the web site is nowhere in the SERP as it was last week.

When you are fine tuning the SEO of the web site you end up checking the ranking for the site every day. You check the ranking; you check what version of the page is in the Google cashe. You check when the latest Google XML Sitemap was submitted. You check it all against to your own log of changes of each page. And a zillion other little details in Google WebMaster Tools Console, an a whole list of third party software or services a search engine optimization professional uses.

When you check the rankings ever day you also get the feeling what will Google do and when. The more experience the more precise your predictions get. Until Google does the updates of the way it works, and it sets the quality of your prediction back somewhat.

One thing that I keep on noticing in the last two if not more years is the difference in the Google results that happen during the weekend. How does it manifest? Usually a new site pops out (out of nowhere really) somewhere in the middle of the first page of of the Google search results page. It stays there over the weekend, and on Monday morning, it is nowhere to be seen again. Sometimes it happens for a number of weekends in the row. Usually not more than 4 consecutive weekends. And what happens then? One of the Mondays Google simply does not remove the page from the first page listing. The new page that firstly appeared only during weekends, simply gets its ranking, and usually stays there where it was during the previous weekends fro months before moving up or down in the search engine results page.

You can actually use this strange feature of Google displaying different search results during weekend to check what sites are likely to get to the first page son, of who is catching up with your search engine optimization efforts.

Search Engine Optimisation vs. Search Engine Marketing

Online Marketing Budget:
Search Engine Optimisation vs. Search Engine Marketing

Any web site owner wants to get visitors on their web site. Therefore the web site owners are competing for the same visitors. There is a definite total number of people surfing the web. The number of web sites is growing relatively faster than the number of the new surfers. The majority of the new visitors to most of the web sites are brought by the search engine.

The search engines realised long ago that not every web site can get to the top of the searches for their relevant keywords so they invented the Search Engine Marketing to enable the web site owners to pay for the inclusion in the listing on the right hand side (and sometimes even above!) the natural search engine results.

There are therefore two ways of getting your site listed in Google. One is to optimise your web site and wait for Google to index it and rank it higher, or you can just pay and get listed as high as you want instantly! The problem with the SEM approach is that the moment you stop paying to Google, you have stopped the flow of the new visitors. The problem with the SEO is that it is far less transparent, the results are far from instant. The majority of the SEO Consultants use the month as a measurement unit to describe the best case scenarios of your future ranking increases.

That brings us to the conclusion that both search engine Marketing and search engine optimisation have it’s place in increasing the visitors numbers on your site. It purely depends on the web site goals. If you are in the game for a long term, and are ready to wait for months for the results, but are dedicated to get the majority of the traffic for a set key phrase, the SEO is for you. If ou have a need to get as much traffic as you can ASAP, the SEM is the definite way to go.

The real life examples:

Search Engine Optimisation
If you are a site that sells a product or a service, where there are number of sites selling the same in your market, the SEO is your best friend. In the long run it will deliver far better return on the investment.

Search Engine Marketing
If you have a new product or a service that no one else has jet in your market, and you want to capitalise on your unique but probably time limited position SEM is the way to go for you. SEM sill instantly start delivering, and the cost per visitor is very transparent and manageable. The SEM budget is probably the easiest marketing budget to manage, since it the transparency if the costs. That is why marketing people just love it. Instant setup and delivery and no minimal investment required. In the marketing world the search engine marketing is truly unique.

The attractiveness of the search engine marketing compared to the search engine optimisation made it win many battles. It is far easier to put X% of your budget against SEM that you know what (and when) to expect from, but SEO that is as undefined as …. well, probably nothing a marketer has encountered jet. SEO to be performed on the web site involves editing the web site itself. That means that either the IT department or an external web development company needs to get involved, and the complexity of the project is just growing out of hands or a marketing person who controls the budget.

Search engine optimisation is a strategic decision that has to be made above the marketing department to be able to function. It involves higher management whose time is precious, and since this is a new task for them, it is not likely they will get involved. They will fail understanding that the SEO should not be left to the marketing department to manage, or especially the IT people. SEO consultant will require the IT department to perform a serious of task, so if the IT manages SEO consultants who then delegates back to them – it is a guaranteed formula for troubles and nothing done in the end.

For all those reasons far more companies have invested in search engine marketing than in search engine optimization. The result of that is that there is more and more competition in the SEM. Since SEM operates as an auction, the more the interesting parties, the higher the (bids) prices. The hike in the prices for the important keywords driven by the volume of the advertisers is now making advertisers rethink their online marketing strategies. Search engine optimisation is of course the obvious way to go for those who are in the online marketing game for a long run.

Google: Search Engine Optimization

The page where Google describes the Search engine optimization has a nice definition at the start:

SEO is an abbreviation for “search engine optimizer.” Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners, from writing copy to giving advice on site architecture and helping to find relevant directories to which a site can be submitted.

If you look at the quoted text, you will even notice a typo in it, an unusual occurrence on Google’s pages. It is obvious that this is a very sensitive page on their site, and was not published in the usual way since the editors and proof readers would easily spot the error.

Google obviously has a problem presenting any data about SEO on its web ssite. It is understandable since SEO is in its core the reverse engineering of the search algorithm that Google is hiding vigorously.

But Google’s definition of the SEO does not stop there. It continues with:

However, a few unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to unfairly manipulate search engine results.

Further on the words like used on that page are : Beware, avoid, doubts, trust, illegal, spam, illicit practice, illusion, skeptical,… ad the list goes on an on.

The page where Google explains what SEO is actually ends up with the following text:

If you feel that you were deceived by an SEO in some way, you may want to report it.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, visit: http://www.ftc.gov/ and click on “File a Complaint Online,” call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to:
Federal Trade Commission
CRC-240
Washington, D.C. 20580
If your complaint is against a company in another country, please file it at http://www.econsumer.gov/.

It really is very obvious that Google wants you to think about SEO as a blasphemy if nothing worse. Are they really so afraid of the people looking into the search engine optimization? Is scare tactics really the best approach here? My opinion is that this is the result of the lack of analysis on how will this reach the reader. It is negative. Negative is not professional (in most cultures). Pointing your visitors to the avenues of placing complaints about companies is just a bit inappropriate from the Google PR people. Search engine optimization should not be their problem unless they make it so themselves.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Reports

“A picture says more than a thousand words.” – approach is used in the search engine optimization reporting a lot. All the SEO reporting tools and software draw nice visual graphics reports. Little green arrows for the keywords performing better in the last period, and the red arrows for the badly performing keywords. The graphs for the numbers of hits, number of unique visitors, the length the average visitor have spent on he site, pages he visited…

Pictures in the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Reports are there just to make the reports easier to read and understand. But the true question every buyer of the SEO services is really:

When are we going to get first in Google?

That is all really the average buyer is interested. All the rest is noise really.

So where is SEOConsultant.ie placed today in the index of the Google.ie?
http://www.google.ie/search?q=seoconsultant.ie

SEOConsultant.ie not placed jet in the index of the Google.ie.

NOWHERE!

The domain is registered just before lunch today, so the obvious it true. The SEO Consultant web site did not make it to the search engine results page (SERP) jet.

SEO Speed Test: SEOConsultant.ie in Google.ie?

SEO Speed TestMost of the SEO consultants proudly show their search engine ranking for the phrase like ‘SEO’ in the Goolge search engine. So here is a test. The SEOConsultant.ie web site is registered today with the Irish Domain Registry. The results I am interested in are:

  • How long will it take to get the domain SEOConsultant.ie listed in the Google.ie search engine results pages?
  • How long will it take (if ever) to optimize the page so that it appears on the first page – within the first ten results for the phrase ‘SEO’

Why this SEO Speed Test?
The SEO consultants and SEO specialists will almost always tell you that in general the effects of the search engine optimization should be measured in months as a time unit. It is almost a standard in the SEO proposal to read that the results should be expected in 6 to 9 months. Since 9 months as a bit long to wait (as a nicer sex knows better then men!), the clients impatience is growing and hard to manage.

What I want to test is how long does it take to place a domain in the Google’s index, and how long does it take to obtain the high ranking – the top 10 results is the aim.

It is Friday, February 15th, 2008 today.

Let the SEEO Speed Test begin!

SEO Consultant

A web site or a blog actually from just another SEO Consultant in Ireland? Like there isn’t enough SEO Consultants?! Well there are many search engine optimization consultants and companies providing search engine optimization services today in Ireland. Perhaps even too many. So why another SEO consultant?!

Here are the reasons why:

  1. I like search engine optimization!
  2. I asked every search engine optimization consultant or specialist if I could outsource my search engine optimization needs to him/her. None of them showed interest.
  3. I was told by many search engine optimization consultants that I have done some impressive results in search engine optimization.
  4. A number of existing and potential new clients asked for the search engine optimization service.
  5. The general awareness of the SEO in the Irish market is forming up.
  6. There is no clear market leader within the existing companies providing the SEO
    services.