Cold Hard Facts about Organic Search January 11, 2011 RICCentre By Krista LaRiviere Over the past two weeks I’ve read numerous blog posts and articles written by SEO professionals who claim to be able to predict the future of organic search. Blogs titles such as, “My SEO predictions for 2011” or “What’s important for Organic Search in 2011” or “The Future of SEO”. Although these insights can be useful, I’d like to take the opportunity to revisit some cold hard facts about organic search and its importance to your overall digital marketing mix. I’ve picked 4 of my favorite facts that have been proven by industry analysts and experts who have collected data and drawn conclusions about what is really going on out there. They are: Marketers and marketing agencies continue to invest more into organic search strategies as they understand its impact on lead generation and conversion (Forrester). SEO is the most effective way to generate conversion according to senior-level marketers (Forbes). Ninety-five percent of searchers do not go beyond the first page of search results (iCrossing.com). Exposure to organic search results almost doubles the likelihood that a prospect will visit a web site when combined with a paid search strategy (iProspect & comScore). Here’s each in more depth: 1. Marketers and marketing agencies continue to invest more into organic search strategies as they understand its impact on lead generation and conversion (Forrester). Forrester Research surveyed just 867 US marketers and marketing agencies and was able to determine that the amount of investment in organic search strategies over the next 3 years will continue to increase. From $1.8 billion in 2009 to an estimated $5 billion in 2014. Forrester goes on to say that marketers continue to look for clicks at a much lower cost and once they are able to prove conversion with organic search they shift former paid search monies to SEO. (More about this study.) Something to think about: How does your organic search budget compare to your paid search budget? If you’re aware of a particular keyword phrase that works well in paid search why not optimize for that same keyword phrase in organic search? 2. SEO is the most effective way to generate conversion according to senior-level marketers (Forbes). Forbes produced its Ad Effectiveness Study by interviewing senior-level marketers in the US. They were able to determine that SEO is the most effective way to generate conversions outranking email marketing and paid search tactics. Something to think about: Are you able to determine your conversion rates on your email and paid search campaigns? Imagine an even higher conversion rate on an organic search campaign. (More about this study.) 3. Ninety-five percent of searchers do not go beyond the first page of search results (iCrossing.com). iCrossing.com, a leading interactive marketing agency in the US collected search data from 1.8 million queries over a nine-month period and was ultimately able to determine that just over 95% of all searchers do not go beyond the first page of the search engine results page (SERP). (More about this study in PDF.) Something to think about: Are you ranked on Page One for your top non-branded keyword phrase? If not, where are you ranked? How much effort do you think it would take to get to Page One? What do you think the impact would be on your business? 4. Exposure to organic search results almost doubles the likelihood that a prospect will visit a web site when combined with a paid search strategy (iProspect & comScore). iProspect conducted a study in conjunction with comScore’s online behavioural panel where they examined the impact of the combination of certain digital media marketing tactics – primarily organic search, paid search and online ads. Here’s a brief taste of their findings about organic search (by industry): Software: Exposure to organic search impressions boosts likelihood to visit a website 37%, and likelihood to purchase a software product 30%, while organic search in combination with paid search generates a 58% lift. Banking and financial services: Exposure to organic search and online display impressions produces a 44% lift in brand trust. Hotels: Exposure to organic search results plus display impressions produces a 144% lift in likelihood to purchase. Insurance: Exposure to organic search impressions produces a 150% lift in the likelihood to purchase. (More about this study.) Something to think about: If your marketing budget is weighted heavily with one particular tactic, what do you think the outcome would be of shifting some of the spend into organic search? These cold hard facts about organic search will hopefully convince you to examine your 2011 marketing budget to ensure all tactics are adequately represented. Reposted from gShift Labs Krista LaRiviere is the CoFounder & CEO of gShift Labs. This is Krista’s third software start-up having successfully exited from the previous two. Having been in the Internet marketing space for over ten years, Krista is able to identify trends and gaps in the daily lives of Internet marketers. gShift has web presence optimization software that is demystifying, simplifying and standardizing organic search. Her vision is to change the way people think of and perform organic search optimization. The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.