Does SEO Get You Superior Lead Closing Rates?

by Dean Hawker on February 15, 2016

Hi Everyone Dean Hawker here with Conversion SEO. Today I want to talk about kind of an interesting stat that I came across in Search Engine Land, which is an online publication for search marketers to go and dig into all sorts of knowledge-based topics, stats, things of that nature. I think this one may have been out for a while, but I saw it. It seems too good to be true. I became a little bit skeptic of just kind of the straight claim, so I wanted to try and clarify, or at least give my spin on what this really means.
Now, I still think it’s overwhelmingly positive as far as considering the cost of SEO and your return on investment. What this particular stat actually was leaning towards was this is a lead close rate stat for SEO versus outbound marketing. SEO we would call inbound marketing. What they’re saying is that on average you’re getting a 14.6% close rate on your leads that come through SEO versus a 1.7% close rate on your outbound marketing efforts. You could be doing both of these, and that’s perfectly fine, but there’s a big, big difference between these 2, especially most likely when you compare cost. We could dive into the numbers in another video.
Outbound marketing, just for anybody that may not know, is going to be kind of your traditional advertising. It’s going to be your direct mail; it’s going to be your telemarketing. It might be magazine, newspaper publication advertising. It might be TV and radio. Now, you take TV and radio, and you compare costs in these formats, 9 times out of 10, I’m guessing that SEO is going to be much more affordable than any TV or radio advertising that you could do. The point is I question this a little bit.
Now, this number really isn’t that great, and even if you double it and you get to 3.4%, it’s a little bit better, and even if you cut this one in half and you’re down 7.3%, it’s still a big enough difference really to raise eyebrows, but what I want to bring attention to with this number is where they’re likely getting it from because I don't think that it’s necessarily 14.6% resulting from all the channels that hit your site. For example, you’ve got direct, you have organic traffic, you have referral traffic, and you have other. What might fall under the other category would be something like if you’re tracking your email campaigns through the analytics, that could fall under an other.
With referral, there’s a real problem there right now as far as getting a strong referral traffic number because there’s so much spam traffic that’s been coming through that channel lately. In about the last year, matter of fact, it’s been a real problem as far as getting really good, clean data. Direct, of course, is the traffic that is when somebody types your URL in because they already know who you are, so Bob’, the customer already knows who you are. They’re going in to schedule an appointment, looking for your phone number or whatever that is. That’s considered your direct traffic.
Where organic sits and separates itself from these 3 channels is the fact that this is the purest form of being introduced to a new potential customer. Your organic traffic really is the one that I feel should be reflected in this number. It would be great if all these channels combined were this, but I have a feeling that you really should be looking at this organic number because if it’s 14.6% and it’s just these 3 channels and you’re hardly getting any organic traffic, I’m guessing this number is not going to be the same. It’s probably going to be much lower.
Now, if a large percentage of your business or your web traffic is coming through your organic channel, it seems like this would be a great number and very reasonable one at best. This is why we kind of call it inbound marketing. There’s even been a term called invitation marketing where this traffic is a traffic that doesn’t know who you are, but they’re looking for your goods and services. What’s happened is when they find you, you then present it as a new option for them. They’ve come to your site. Maybe they filled something out. They’ve read something that they’ve gained an education on, and down the sales funnel they go, and 14.6% of the traffic is starting to convert. I would say it’s really accurate if it’s coming from your organic channel.
Typically, for businesses that we look at that haven’t done any SEO at all, that organic channel is on par with the same distribution amount as these, so in this case, let’s say 25% for every channel. It’s not uncommon to see organic even lower than that, so this organic channel is really an important one to boost up. It really should be 50, 60%, even 70 if you’re not doing any social media, for example, because social media comes through your referral channel. I want to just put in perspective when I think this number would be really good. I think it’s really good when it’s coming from your organic channel, and getting this part boosted up is really the essence of what you're paying for in SEO. You should be getting a raise in your organic traffic if you have somebody working your SEO for you.
These are still outstanding numbers to consider when investing in your marketing plan, whether it’s outbound or inbound, but it was one that I thought was kind of interesting and needed clarification at the same time because there is really a degree of importance that should be put on this element in order to achieve this. If you have any further questions, you can leave a comment or come to our website, There’s spots there to leave questions, contact us, the whole 9 yards. Thanks for taking a look at the video, and I’ll talk to you next time. Thanks.