If you're a marketing manager, I'm sure you use all the weapons at your disposal to achieve your sales and profit targets. Every banner advertising, direct email advertising, lead generation, magazine advertising campaign requires a proposal to justify the investment.

But what about search engine optimization (SEO)? How do you justify the investment to the head of marketing, President, or CEO. How do you quantify the value of search engine traffic?

Well, first take a look at these statistics.

Jul 05 2000: Forrester Research reported that over 80 percent of Internet users reach sites through search engines.

This means if your Web site doesn't attract 80 percent of your visitors from search engines, you're losing out on a lot of free traffic.

Feb 14 2001: A study from NPD Group found that search listings are more effective than standard banner or button advertisements when it comes to brand recall, favorable opinion rating and inspiring purchases.

In unaided recall, search listings outperformed banners and buttons by three to one, and more than twice as many people gave a more favorable opinion of companies in the top three search positions than those featured in ads.

The study also found that 55 percent of online purchases were made on sites found through search listings, while a mere 9 percent were on sites found through banner ads.

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