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Drive New Leads Using SEO

Submitted on 5/13/2008 by Max Thomas

Although familiar by now, Enquino’s 2007 search engine user survey claims that the top 4 organic listings on a search engine results page (SERP) capture 54.9% of clicks for a search term, while the number one organic result captures 26.4%. In contrast, the top pay-per-click ad captures 8.7% of clicks while the number two ad captures only 3.4%.

Those are impressive numbers indeed, and further confirmation of why organic search engine results matter. But a frequent misgiving of search engine optimization (SEO) and SERP’s is that it’s hard to target customers – that SEO casts a wide net capturing all searchers including general prospects (who are a waste of SEO efforts and a potential drain to a company’s sales process).

However, SEO CAN be implemented to attract more targeted and qualified prospects. There are several ways to do this, and it all starts with the proper keyword strategy. Recently a client engaged us to find out how they can attract new customers from their SEO efforts – in other words, they want to expand their “new market” share. The answer lay in how their current search results compared to what their target market searches for.

To find this, we first looked at their current search engine traffic. We found that 1/3 of their site traffic came from search engines (not surprising since the client site has been around for about 10 years) and of the search engine traffic, 1/3 was from search terms that included the company’s name. In other words, 1/3 of their traffic came from people who already knew their brand – these are most likely existing customers and people already familiar with them.

However, the remaining 2/3′s of searchers found them for terms that were product/service related and did not include the company name. Ostensibly only 22% of their total site traffic (1/3 traffic from search engines X 2/3 of “company name” searches) comes from new prospects. In short, by expanding their rankings for industry-related terms, they can expand their market share for new customers. In addition, by targeting specific terms, the site can then attract more qualified prospects (in contrast to a wider and wider net).

Tracking Note: Determining the percentage of traffic that comes from brand name-related searches may seem academic, but this provides the baseline for gauging how effective the SEO efforts are in increasing the percentage of visitors who find a site through non-brand name searches. As you can probably tell, I’m a huge proponent of tracking, especially when there’s time and money involved. To take this a step further, compare the increase in non-brand name searches with the increase in new customer sales (assuming this knowledge is available). That’s where it gets really interesting.

Okay, back to the keyword terms and searches. This is where creating a sound keyword mapping strategy comes into play…which is what the next post will focus on.

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