Cultivate Organic Search
Optimizing search terms for conversion may be the key to great ROI
By Bryan Eisenberg
It's no longer speculation, it's a chilly reality: Search engine pay-per-click (PPC) ad prices are on the rise. The Keyword Price Index, published monthly by search engine marketer Fathom Online, shows an overall 13 percent increase in keyword price for October 2004, up to $1.55 per keyword from September's average of $1.37. Average keyword prices for consumer services (e.g., entertainment and spas) rose from $0.54 to $0.96, an increase of 78 percent. Retailers saw higher prices as well, with a 50 percent increase, from $0.32 to $0.48.
Organic search engine optimization (SEO) costs also are bloating as the finite universe of general topic keywords is gobbled up by deep-pocket marketers. SEO firms are charging more, and many sites are abandoning certain search terms because the cost is above their ability to achieve a reasonable return on investment (ROI).
To begin to solve this problem, you must target and optimize for organic search terms that are more likely to convert into sales or leads, rather than optimizing for terms that may drive higher volumes of lower quality traffic.
Principle Behind the Process
Many folks in the SEO world are focused on tech solutions exclusively, throwing around terms like spiders, meta tags, keyword density, etc. All of these terms are important, but one critical fact often gets lost: People, not computers, will be searching for your solution. Simply put, approach search engine optimization from the perspective of the searcher, not the search engine. This is an important principle since each and every search engine attempts to deliver the most relevant results to the searcher.
Krishna Bharat, senior research scientist at Google, explains the point this way: "We provide strong scent so users don't lose time. We take the text from the page that is relevant to the query, and include it in the summary. Advertisers are coming to the realization that ads must have a scent that the user will likely find useful."