Marketers want to make the best use of all investments as companies close out the year, specifically digital marketing budgets. With paid media costs rising, a recent survey from BrightEdge of more than 1,000 enterprise search marketers suggests 90% of organizations aim to prioritize SEO in 2023.
Inside Performance caught up with BrightEdge CEO Jim Yu to ask why organizations are investing in SEO and how marketers should align strategies with other channels and departments across the enterprise.
Inside Performance: Why do you think organizations are starting to depend more on SEO?
Jim Yu: It’s a combination of two things. Organizations are looking for digital cost-effectiveness. And, during recessionary conditions, it’s clear thatfocusing on high-yield marketing channels is essential to organizations that need to make the most of opportunities and minimize costs.
Data from companies like Gartner show CEOs are doubling down on digital investments that can provide them with the correct profitable dividends no matter whether it is short- or long-term gains.
As costs for paid media rises, SEO demand grows. It becomes a cost-effective channel -- a topic now catching the attention of the C-Suite executives.
SEO insights now provide real-time data for CEOs and CMOs to understand macro market demand and consumer behavior during times of uncertainty.
IP: What should marketers do when they see volatility in keyword ranking rise?
Yu: We found that volatility in keyword rankings nearly doubled since last year.
To maximize online share of voice organizations need an unfiltered view of real-time insights into market demand and volatility. This can include granular details into how consumers search online, and data that can be acted on immediately, especially in uncertain market conditions.
Compared with the gross domestic product (GDP) growth increases, search is not impacted by market conditions. Our data shows that consumers are searching 20% more than last year, with 73% of clicks going to organic web listings.
With SEO, organizations can find compounded benefits over time for every $1 put into SEO today. For example, top ecommerce sites, on average, have been found to rank for 20% more keywords per page than last year.
These sites drive, on average, 120% more clicks than they did last year. This traffic comes to these sites without any incremental media fees.
IP: Can you give some more examples of other benefits?
Yu: Results are realized over time as SEO, site and content improvements compounds. The most obvious is ongoing traffic and revenue over time with no large incremental spend increases. For example:
IP: What should marketers be doing to balance search strategies -- SEO or paid search?
Yu: Both. Investing in SEO and PPC are two halves of the same coin. They both require patience, strategy, and an understanding of how they work together to produce successful outcomes over time.
By combining paid and organic strategies, organizations can measure where they need to dominate a search result with both paid and organic or rely on organic. These produce incremental savings, and companies can choose to reinvest those resources in other markets or save and realize a higher yield.
This way, brands don't waste pay-per-click budget on users who are not ready to buy.
Of course, this is only possible if the brand is investing in SEO and working with paid search and all digital teams in a collaborative fashion.
Marketers need to think as investors and should embrace a diversified approach, where their overall efforts work to balance each other. It helps during economic turbulence, and compounding benefits will be a catalyst for recovery.