As a business owner, you are interested in the ways that you can make new customers notice you, and how much that process will cost. This is the classic definition of advertising and marketing, figuring out how much it would cost to attract a new customer, and analyzing if the average amount that a new customer means in profits to your business pays for the costs of making them notice you. This is “conversion rate,” where we assess how many new people must notice your business in order for one of those people to become a customer and spend money. An example might be that if your conversion rate is 100 visitors for every 1 customer, and the average customer spends a total of 100 dollars (50 dollars profit after costs) without ever spending another dollar, then your customer acquisition cost for that customer must be less than 50 dollars in order to have that particular marketing medium be viable. There should also be a dollar amount figured in for name recognition over time (brand building) where a customer might not buy now, but as a result of exposure to that medium they are more likely to buy in the future. For the sake of this article we will assume that there is no brand recognition being created. You must not spend more than 50 dollars to make that customer happen, or you will be losing money. If it costs 50 cents to drive each of those 100 potential customers to your store, then that 50 dollar charge breaks you even. If it costs 25 cents to drive that hundred potential customers, then your marketing efforts will return 25 dollars in profit consistently for every 100 dollars spent. Unless there are changes to the business model or society in general with respect to your product, this should remain consistent.
SEO is the use of organic Google search to drive customers to your website, where we can expect a conversion to be made either from a customer buying something on the site or becoming a customer by contacting you and buying something. The click-through rate on Google is the pool of potential customers each month, and the conversion rate is how many of those people become customers. If you drive 100 clicks to your website and 1 person buys something, you have your conversion rate and now know how much you can spend to gain those 100 people. If 25 people buy out of that 100, you have a better conversion rate. The idea of SEO is that by manipulating a website’s code and content you can increase positions on Google for specific searches that result in customers. If the SEO project is to increase the sales of a tshirt store by driving new customers to it, then we may be looking at increasing the positions of specific search phrases like “buy tshirts in Las Vegas.” There will be a list of targeted phrases that is developed using search traffic numbers provided by Google, and over time the accurate conversion rate for this medium will be seen. Different mediums will have different conversion rates because the audience they drive is more or less engaged. With regards to Google search, the audience should be very engaged because they proactively searched for this phrase. Unlike other mediums that present a business to a diverse crowd hoping to expose themselves to interested people within that group, search engine marketing exposes your business to a group that is already interested, and nobody else. The conversion rates should be higher as a result.
SEO as a process used to be about using certain targeted phrases multiple times in the content of the website, or as the links that link back to the website from other places. This lead to poor results being delivered as SEO companies exploited this weakness in the algorithm. Any business could present itself for any search phrase by using the words over and over, even if the business had little to do with that phrase. Google learned over time how to present better results for it’s customers by analyzing the content that is being presented, as well as the website in general. Search itself changed over time as people used their phones more, and got used to voice assistance on those phones. People began asking Google questions instead of typing search phrases, so a search like “tshirt company in Las Vegas” was replaced with “where can I buy tshirts in Las Vegas.” SEO changed from attempting to gain positions for specific searches to using the content of a website to answer customer questions, and attract people to the website as a result. Just like you may have found this article by searching something like “how does SEO work in 2021” or some variation of it, Google picks websites that best answer questions and puts them at the top of results. The more questions that your website is understood to answer effectively, the more chances you have of ranking at the top of results for more generalized search phrases like “Las Vegas tshirts.” The process of SEO has become about creating content that answers questions and positioning it on your website, or on other websites that link back to yours. There is no longer a need to stuff keywords into articles, as Google understands what the content is about. SEO is now a process of writing, and the businesses gaining the top results that convert into customers are the ones doing writing exactly like this.