Why SEO Will Always Thrive

Most agency SEOs have two fantasies:

  • Having all of our recommendations implemented.
  • Having no technical issue arise on the site.

Unfortunately, this scenario is extremely rare, so we are often left wondering what could have been.  Now I’m not saying you can’t break through those barriers and still grow traffic, in fact we do it all the time.  But how much more traffic could you get in a perfect world?  I was fortunate enough to find out.

Back in the summer of 2013, we had a large CPG client for whom we identified several new content opportunities.   We built our case, pitched it to the client, and they created four new pages based on our recommendation:

  • Two of the four new pages were answers to common questions of the market.
  • One was related to coupons and promotions.
  • The fourth was a simple interactive tool that also answered a common question of the market.

We optimized this new content and it was published on their site.

I couldn’t shake the fear that some unforeseen technical issue would take us off course, but sure enough everything went off without a hitch. This created a perfect opportunity to finally see how much traffic would grow if all the stars were in alignment.  Below you will see a graph illustrating the organic traffic brought in by this new content.

Organic Traffic Increase with SEO

The Traffic Results: Hitting Targets, Steady Increases, and Stabilization

Other than article B everything took off right away.  In terms of search volume all but article B were targeting very popular terms, so it took a bit longer for article B to capture traffic. Rankings for all four articles increased steadily, stabilizing in top spots right around January, which is also the peak of the traffic.  Since then the traffic has been fairly steady. Now that we have achieved top rankings for the targeted keywords, the fluctuations in traffic have more to do with search interest than anything else. As you can see we are now maintaining 7,000‒8,000 monthly organic visits.

The Financial Impact: Money Saved

As strong as the traffic increase is let’s take it a step further and see how much that traffic would have cost had we bought it all through a paid campaign:

Organic Traffic Increased by Paid Search Value

To calculate the dollar amount, I used Google’s suggested bid for the main keyword targeted for each page and multiplied it by the organic traffic per page.  What this graph shows is it would have cost over $90,000 to get similar traffic through a paid campaign.   With traffic now stable on these pages we are averaging almost $16,000 worth of free traffic a month in 2014.

Key Takeaway: The True Value of SEO Revealed – Insights

As great as it was to see these big numbers generated from just four pages, the biggest benefit is showing the true value of SEO.  As SEO continues to evolve and search engines become smarter we need to adapt accordingly.  In order to drive sustainable growth for clients we need to use every data source available. And we analyze it in an effective way that uncovers trends and untapped opportunity where the client can realistically win.  This means getting away from our old tricks that used to be very effective and focusing more on insights.  After all it was through data exploration that the recommendations for these four pages were created and the results have been great.

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