Two SEO & SEM Assumptions Worth Challenging

On Wednesday, May 25th, Ryan Berkness, founder and CEO of PR Caffeine, and Claire Wyatt, Sr Analyst of Measurement & Activation at Ovative Group, presented at MnSearch Snippet’s: Challenging the Assumptions of SEO & SEM.

Here are two common assumptions and the reasons they should be questioned according to Ryan and Claire:

1) Driving lots of traffic to your site always gets you the highest ROI.

Traffic doesn’t matter if your users don’t convert. Ryan addresses the fact that many marketers today try to “trick” Google’s algorithm with SEO & SEM tactics that won’t necessarily give your visitors what they want if they do land on your site. Instead, he encourages you to do a number of things: focus on the user experience, provide quality content and value propositions, and of course, be relevant to your user.

To better illustrate these tips, Ryan took us through some customer conversion stages:

  • Stage 5, “Purchase,” should be fast and easy for every consumer.
  • Stage 4, “Cultivate,” must portray the value for the customer (e.g. savings, urgency, or even fear).
  • Stage 3, “Reason,” should confirm the customer’s feeling with logic. Here’s where Ryan stresses that EVERY sale is an emotional sale

  • Stage 2, “Search,” is not just SEO because traffic doesn’t matter unless they convert!
  • Stage 1, “Awareness,” should focus on the pain points of your consumer, ensuring that you are relevant to your potential customers.

2) You are fully optimized.

Claire makes something very clear during her presentation: you may or may not be fully optimized. At Ovative Group, her job is to optimize against the results. This is why she uses an algorithmic multi-touch attribution model which she constructs from the data.

What is multi-touch attribution you may ask? Multi-touch attribution is, “a methodology which attributes value based on viewing multiple customers’ paths to conversion.” As Claire describes, people don’t generally click an ad and proceed to buy something at the first touchpoint. That’s why it’s important to be able to identify any touchpoint on a customer’s journey to conversion and attribute a specific value to each of those points along the way. This type of model will help you make sure you are fully optimized.

Common models of attribution are generally single touchpoint methodologies like last-click or first-click attribution. However, as ROI for marketing efforts gains importance, it’s crucial to have confidence in your decisions and tactics to increase ROI as well as to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your campaigns. Claire argues that the multi-touch attribution model provides a more holistic view of your customers’ conversion paths and gives you more certainty as you move forward with your optimization strategy.

Performing keyword, brand term, and search tests to figure out if optimizing based on the this model will increase conversions is necessary to validate it. Plus, consumer journeys are always changing, so it’s imperative that the model reflect these users’ shifts over time.

Looking for opportunities to network or learn more about topics like multi-touch attribution? Check out our Scoop Calendar for upcoming events like this one!

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