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September 21, 2009

Calculate your SEO requirements

Search engine optimization delivers predictable results. Many people might argue with that, but it’s absolutely true. I can’t think of another advertising medium that provides the data you need to precisely determine your requirements the way the web can.

From a business viewpoint, every SEO campaign should be run with the idea that there is a significant return on investment. Very often in advertising, it is somewhat of a guess relative to what you can expect. Marketing on the internet is a much more predictable process.

Establishing SEO requirements starts with an easy question. “What increase in revenue should your site generate in the upcoming year?” Bear in mind that the more unreasonable the answer to this question is, the more difficult it will be to reach your target. Set achievable goals!

Once you’ve established your revenue target, you’re done. That’s it. That’s your goal! OK, so not exactly. The point is, your revenue targets are your goals. Goals should not be expressed in terms of traffic, hits, or even how much the site shows up in the search engines (but it sure helps : ). But let’s say that our sights are set on meeting our revenue targets via search engine results. That’s the purpose of an SEO campaign.

HOW MANY CLIENTS DO YOU NEED? You should be able to state clearly your revenue targets and the average annual value a client brings to your business. If you know that, then simple division will tell you how many new clients you need. You should also have a “gut feel” for how many of a hundred people on your website turn into clients. So with that, you should be able to determine how many visitors you need to generate to your site to develop those clients.

The number of visitors required is equal to the number of clicks that are required. The purpose of a good SEO campaign is to increase the number of visitors who are searching for your products and services. Successful SEO creates enough impressions on the search engine results pages (SERPS) to deliver enough visitors to meet the revenue targets.

Getting on the first page of the SERPS generates an impression, or a chance that the visitor will click on your site. Since very few people advance beyond the first page of results, a conservative SEO specialist considers the first page of the SERPS the ONLY place to be and of course number one is best if you can get it.

AOL published information showing that first place in the search results gets almost half of the organic clicks. Second gets 10-15%. Third gets 5-10%. The remaining scrounge around 3-6% but at least they made it to the party. Conservatively, you can estimate that with a well executed SEO campaign, that you will get 5-10% (we’ll use 7%) of the search volume. Predictably, you’ll be somewhere on the first page of the SERPS. So, if you need 100 visitors, then you need impression in 100/.07 (1,428) total searches.

Once you’ve established your total search volume to optimize for, you then move into keyword selection. The best strategy is to choose a broad range of keywords instead of going after the more popular ones. Remember this: Most of the time its easier to rank for many low volume keywords than a single high volume one that equals the same number of searches. Further, lower volume keywords are usually more relevant and more specific to the needs of the visitor. Ultimately, they convert better. You’ll also discover that once you know your total search volume requirements, your keywords collectively will meet the search volume requirements without extending into a range that’s impossible to optimize for. You can develop a much more practical approach to your SEO campaign.

Greg Newell – Try the SEO Requirements Calculator. Click>>SEO Dayton