The ROI of Search Engine Optimization, Usability, and

I’ll tell you why I love what I do. I love helping other people be successful in their business. And this industry provides the tools for making an impact. Right now.

SEO, Usability, and Analytics are the best investment that you can make for your online business. If you have never looked at optimization, usability, or ‘real’ analytics research for your website, then you have missed a wide-open opportunity to get the most out of your website.

These three factors have always resulted in success on many websites, and when combined, they are even more powerful in their results. Even websites that experience at least one of the three: search engine optimization, usability, or analytics; will experience a drastic change for the better, as each one provides significant direction to improve your website.

Regardless of the purpose of your website, selling stuff, getting leads, or page views, utilizing these three methods of website improvement will pay off far beyond your investment in a specialist, in-house training, attending a seminar, or however you choose to get it done.

Analytics = 900% to 1200% ROIhandyman

Forrester research showed that a company that brings in a dedicated analyst can result in a 900% – 1200% ROI. That’s something to get excited about. In my experience, that return can usually be experienced within the first few months of implementing the changes that the analyst recommends. The biggest problems will be identified first.

Usability = 80% to 200% increase in desired metrics.
According to Jacob Nielson, usability improvements six years ago averaged 135%, now it has fallen to 83%, (it’s higher when you look at specific metrics). The main reason is that designs are getting better than what we were accustomed to viewing in the 1990’s. However, from personal experience in usability, website sales in ecommerce sites can improve dramatically simply with a usability review. I have worked on some projects were the ROI of the usability changes was over 4000%. It’s amazing some of the obstacles that are placed in front of users, but never tested or reviewed with live subjects.

SEO = (the wildcard) 40% to 4000+%
Search Engine Optimization is the real wildcard. Some sites respond very quickly to simple on-page optimization techniques an there is an immediate change to improved rankings and increased visitors. Other sites require more attention and additional off-site or on-site optimization help, or even a full marketing campaign in order to see results. It really is determined on a case-by-case basis. However, you can’t get around the fact that a simple optimization project on a website can result in increased rankings.

The full impact of SEO cannot be fully measured, as factors such as “the long tail,” ranking positions, and tracking systems make it very hard to calculate the true return from an SEO campaign. Not the least of which is that SEO campaigns have grown far beyond what they were in the past. Simply placing keywords in the title tags is not the primary concern of the Professional SEO. Search Engine Optimization has become more more integrated into the entire marketing process, which makes ROI in this area very hard to nail down as a general rule-of-thumb for all types of websites.

Combined Campaign = Exponential Results
Amazingly, when any of these disciplines are coupled together, the ROI factor increases. SEO combined with Usability provides amazing results and will usually result in a change of website navigation and architecture. Usability combined with Analytics will usually produce SEO-type recommendations and improvements, along with significant awareness of the visitor and their tendencies on the website. You may not like what you learn about people’s opinion of the site after that type of review. However, implementing those changes will provide a dramatic return on the investment.

After attending last week’s Search Engine Strategies, I saw first-hand that the (possible?) recession, while on some people’s minds, is not going to stop business, and it won’t stop online marketing. Savvy marketers will take this opportunity to improve the customer experience and get the most out of their websites.

This is why I love what I do, and why I focus on these three areas first when marketing websites. Most companies want to run headlong into the social media game, when they have not even taken the first steps to get the most out of their own websites.

Improve the experience at home first, and then invite others over.

Related Articles:
Marketing without Metrics?
Destructive User Testing with Rayco
The Basics of Search Engine Optimization