By: PJ Howland

Organic Search Matters and Your SEOs Do Too

June 24, 2016

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You’ve heard of Google, right? The makers of Google Glass and the Google Self-Driving Car. Well they have another project called Google Search, and it’s a pretty big deal.

Okay, sarcasm aside, we can all agree that Google Search is a staple in our lives and is here to stay. It’s so big in fact that Google is processing over 2 trillion searches a year! That means since you started reading this article, over 900,000 searches have been processed and served up by Google.

As an digital marketer, these kinds of statistics make me happy. They tell me that there’s clearly a demand for SEO professionals with the skills and knowledge to increase organic traffic and revenue. Despite facts like this, many organizations give SEO a disproportionate amount of attention in favor of other digital marketing activities. There’s certainly a place for activities like social media management, email marketing and paid search but organic search should merit increased attention for the sheer power and competitive nature of Google Search.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

In 2014 the enterprise SEO platform BrightEdge (who 97th Floor is a proud agency partner with) released a study asserting that 51% of all web traffic is organic. That’s more than half and if that’s true, we can reasonably say that most web traffic is organic traffic.

BrightEdge organic traffic 51%

A similar trend follows for digital revenue too, with organic search earning more revenue than any other channel in virtually every industry.

BrightEdge organic revenue data

A recent study by Clutch states that only 47% of enterprises use SEO as a marketing tactic and a meager 4% of enterprises say that SEO is a top priority marketing channel over the next 6-12 months. If all data points show that organic search is the chief driver for both traffic and revenue, why then is there such a gap in how it’s addressed within organizations?

So Where is the SEO Love?

SEO has become a sort of Twilight Zone role that borrows expertise across a wide array of departments and teams—web development, editorial, PR, lead gen, content, social, web analytics, the list goes on. Because of this heavy overlap, SEO can be viewed as a task that is auxiliary to each of the above mentioned job descriptions.

To be clear, SEO is not an auxiliary task. If the above mentioned data is any kind of signal, SEO is a primary task, one that should play a critical role in every digital marketing strategy. Before we go too far, let me be clear that a healthy digital marketing strategy should employ multiple tactics to be most effective; tactics like content marketing, social media and paid channels.

Siloing SEO efforts will mitigate organic traffic and halt organic revenue.

Organizations that capture the vision of compounding organic traffic and revenue understand the close relationship that SEO professionals need to have with the web, PR and content teams. These organizations know what it means to view every facet of the digital spectrum through an organic lens.

The Solution? Look Through an Organic Lens

True, organic traffic is just one channel in the wide world of digital marketing, but it’s the biggest channel and accounts for the most revenue. SEO is affected by so many aspects of the website and brand, it only makes sense to integrate SEO into all overlapping areas.

Picture with me an organization where an SEO sits in on developer scrum meetings during a site migration to ensure rankings don’t drop during the migration. Or an editorial team that invites the SEO guy or gal to the weekly content planning meeting, where feedback and best practices would be shared, thus generating SEO-optimized content.

These are examples of looking through an organic lens. Put simply, looking through an organic lens is facilitating the cooperation between SEO professionals and other digital marketing teams for greater organic search results.

It sounds easy enough, but there are a few prerequisites that need to be met before any organization integrates SEO into all digital projects.

  1. Have the right SEO professionals (agency or in-house) in place
  2. Recognize the symbiotic relationship between SEO and other facets of the digital spectrum
  3. Acknowledge that SEO professionals are a knowledge base for their craft
  4. Be willing to enforce change when teams express resistance in integrating with each other

If organic traffic makes up 51% of web traffic, logic dictates that this channel deserves more attention. If you’re unable or unwilling to meet these requirements, integrating SEO into your entire digital marketing strategy will yield reduced outcomes. That being said, complete willingness to integrate SEO into your full digital strategy will result in compounding organic results.

Written by PJ Howland on June 24, 2016

PJ is an Enterprise Campaign Manager at 97th Floor, overseeing a team of marketers, content managers and designers.

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