The Awesome Power of SEO

SEO is famous for the huge ROI (Return on Investment) and the highly targeted website traffic it can bring. Rank in the top 3 for a search result, and you could receive as much as 40% of the number of searchers, without paying for a single click.

To put that into perspective, a good CTR on a targeted Google Adwords ad when I used them a few years ago was 10–15%.

This chart from Moz puts it into perspective:

The top result receives a CTR of 36.4% compared to the number 10 at 2.2% on average. And bear in mind that’s an average — highly relevant search results will have CTRs much, much higher.

So it’s clear why this can bring a lot of targeted and valuable traffic.

But because of this, the cost can often be high to get to that position. Many top search terms (the most valuable) are virtually impossible to rank for, some of the most valuable are finance terms, like ‘loan quote’. Beating the established sites for that search would be near impossible — it’s dominated in the US by sites like ‘bankrate.com’ which, according to SEM Rush, has an unbelievable $7.3m worth of organic traffic from terms like this (and others).

A good example of a similar site in the UK is ‘moneysupermarket.com’. This site has pursued a hugely successful SEO campaign for years and now receives free (organic/natural) traffic that could have cost as much as 4.4m if they paid for it per month.

It could cost many thousands to beat sites like this for a high traffic term, like ‘mortgage calculator’ or ‘loans’, if at all possible even with the money.

However, that is not the case for all search terms — not at all.

There are a vast array of long tail (and not so long tail) terms that are up for grabs, and that’s why the SEO industry is booming at the moment. The traffic is of great value and it’s quite possible to get a slice of it.

It’s not even that hard in many cases, you can target relatively uncompetitive terms or even leverage the power of popular sites — like medium.com — to rank on the first page for some valuable terms, even product names.

Medium.com appears to receive almost $1m in organic traffic, largely to pages that users have created recently:

Here’s a pretty good example of some people ranking on Google for a ‘buyer term’ (the name of a product in this case) with partial match domains and articles on popular sites.

That won’t have cost a lot in most cases. These are either just highly optimised sites or pages on popular sites (one of the top ranking pages is a classified post on the Warrior Forum, a popular Internet marketing site).

Some sites, particularly video sites, are so powerful at the moment that you can rank within hours without any links at all (e.g. a video posted on youtube.com).

I’m going to write more about this topic in the coming days, including some simple examples and tutorials.