Doug Platts is the Head of Natural Search at iCrossing, and led this presentation about how to show clients the true value of SEO. He highlighted a number of ways to identify and share the reasons why SEO will work for clients. Defining their objectives, audience, marketplace, brand and market was a key consideration, as was managing their expectations. The subtleties of working with different sized clients was discussed as well as how SEOs need to understand the full mix of marketing activities which a client is conducting.
Doug emphasised the importance of reporting on year-on-year results as well as month-on-month, and how reports should be backdated to accommodate this. He also distinguished between good KPIs, like conversions, revenue, profit and brand awareness, as well as bad measures such as page views, bounce rate, percentage of natural search traffic and page rank.
He pointed to Paul Cook’s article on Econsultancy titled ‘Social Media and SEO Massively Undervalued‘ and Sam Crocker‘s post on State of Search titled ‘SEO Forecasting: A Poor Allocation of Resource‘. While he agreed that forecasting was incredibly hard to do in SEO, it was essential to communicate ROI to clients, which in turn influenced the budget allocation based on opportunity analysis. He recommended fewer promises and more educated guesses, also reminding us of some of the different types of data and measurables which are available, including Webmaster Tools as well as Analytics.