SEO: Search Engine Optimization.
According to the Google definition, SEO is:
the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.
In plain English—it’s important to increase traffic to your site by helping you be at the top of the list when people search for your industry or company name.
More traffic is good when your website is not horribly dated and embarrassing. If it is, then you want to hide it until you can put your best foot forward with an attractive and effective site.
ROI: Return on Investment
Google offers this definition for ROI:
ROI is usually expressed as a percentage and is typically used for personal financial decisions, to compare a company’s profitability or to compare the efficiency of different investments. The return on investment formula is: ROI = (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) x 100.
Essentially, you want to make more money than you spend. For example, if you bought an ad for $50.00 and you made a sale from it for $250 (net profit is calculated by taking the money you made also called your revenue ($250), minus the $50 cost). Net profit is $200. Using the equation in the definition ($200/$50) X 100, then your ROI was 400%. Very good!
The problem is that many times these two terms, SEO and ROI, get used together and insinuate a directly proportionate relationship. That’s not exactly true. There’s the potential for SEO to bring greater ROI, but more traffic does not automatically mean greater ROI.
For instance, if your website is bad or has broken links or no way for people to contact you, then better SEO might even be detrimental to your bottom line. There might be something else in your marketing that makes it undesirable for the people you are attracting. Look at your four P’s (product, price, place, and promotion) and try to figure out why people are making a U-turn away from your site. If you can figure that out, then you might be able to convert the shoppers who are being driven to your site by your SEO into sales that increase your ROI.
Why do it? As hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” It’s worth the effort to try to move up the search engine list. Since about 2014, more searches are done on mobile phones than on desktop computers. That means that people can see 2-4 search results at a time depending on the size of their phone screen. How long do you think people will scroll? Don’t you want to be on the top of the list? Be consistently active on the Internet and supply fresh content. Have clear expectations and develop a plan that supports those, then put the plan in motion!
Leslie A.M. Smith is the owner of McCormick L.A. She has been offering no-nonsense marketing and public relations since 1994.