why it works

Search Marketing: Return on Investment

The most potent form of marketing, search engines uncover and deliver people with needs exactly when they are interested. It is the only place where people write down what they want and get served instantly with personalised experiences.

The Search Engines give us a way to connect with these individuals at the precise moment they are in the act of searching for us, the providers of services, products and solutions.

This is underrated right up until the moment you start getting leads. It’s an amazing feeling when it happens.

The search always works. If we have the right offer that matches the nature of the audience, then we get traction. The key is understanding the audience- that analysis should and can come first. Knowing what isn’t working about your site, messaging, and the offer is part of the skill set that we bring.#

Clicks without new business opportunities is the opposite of ROI.

Sometimes the return on investment comes through not wasting time and money on things that won’t work. Our ethos is skewed towards working on things with high potential.

How do we get ROI?

Measuring and valuing are different; the valuing of clicks depends entirely on how well the offer serves specific keyword audiences, and how much of the keyword pie we can serve.

The following is broadly the same process we follow in most cases

  • Know the high-value keywords
  • Discover how well the client offer matches those words – keyword product fit
  • Start where we feel we have the biggest chance to succeed
  • Start with our strengths over the competition
  • Build pages that match the search level of intent
  • The speed of the site can double your performance
  • The design of the site can double the performance
  • Realise that not every visitor is ready to do something right now;
  • Track where we are getting traction, and drill down for bigger click share.
  • Where we start getting leads, then build more content
  • Run gap analysis around the topic to cover the interest we are missing
  • Build a highly profitable short-term new business machine
  • Repeat for the next topic
Listen to the search

What we learn

Industries have different profiles, and only through serving multiple industries can you see the patterns in each. It can be more about what is missing, than what is there. It’s easy to compete with what is there, harder to compete with what isn’t.

What is missing, is the opportunity. Our strength is a greater understanding of audiences as a group.

The vast majority, 95% or more, of topic-related Google search terms, are worth nothing; a few are worth rather a lot, connect them with content, and you maximise performance.


Some of these words deliver new business conversations at the rate of a lead every 5 or 6 clicks. Some keywords don’t deliver leads, even if there are thousands of visits.

The intersection of the keyword audiences and the client ‘offer’ makes the two things symbiotic. One affects the other. What’s good for you might not be good for anyone else. The uncontested keywords are the most profitable, and there is a lot of uncharted territory.

To the untrained eye, keywords look very similar to each other. We are highly aware of what to look for, and our job is to seek those opportunities on your behalf.

Maximise potential

Making good even better

The discovery of keywords that work for you is our guiding path, but not all keywords that work initially are profitable yet.

This is where our relationship with clients is most important. Understanding those leads that mean the most to you takes knowing your proposition. We are to be an extension of your team.

  • Maybe the best-converting keywords are the least valuable. Do you want low value?
  • Sometimes you can’t get high-value leads without low-value leads – audiences don’t always conform.
  • Improve all the elements that influence success; some of those elements might include your offer.

Long-term success is always in the understanding of the audiences and the fit.

The Benefit of Experience

In the early days, pre-2012, we could measure all search clicks, paid and organic.

The clicks were much cheaper, experimenting cost less, and we did lots of measuring. We were able to separate and measure different keywords.

Our value now is in spotting patterns amongst those search terms quickly, classifying them and finally making predictions about how well they will perform given the website and company proposition. We know a lot about how Search works over time.

  • Measuring digital marketing is one thing, but valuing it is quite another.
  • Building our knowledge around yours, coupled with a process of constant improvement.

Compound Growth

Make the traffic, the site, and the content value proposition better and you get compound growth. Over the years, we have significantly improved the fortunes of many.

It’s not always obvious, but the growth is in the small improvements of multiple elements. The aggregation of marginal gains is a philosophy.

2x2x2 is quite a lot better than 1x1x1 – if we can get to 3x, then fortunes can change dramatically.

Valuing vs Measuring

  • You know the price of a stock market share, but what is the value?
  • You see the number of visits to a website, but what are they worth?

There are a Number of Steps to Valuing

Getting to know your business and your strengths is our first objective. We understand commercial propositions very easily; we do it every day. We can figure out how to start fairly quickly.


Measure keywords, not pages.

The keyword is like the football player, and the page is the stadium. Most visitors are just here to watch.

We start with people looking for providers – those words convert the best and are usually the shortest-term leads.

Keyword Discovery and Mapping

Track enquiries, forms and calls

Track actions on the website that enable conversations with prospects.

Focus on the feedback loop, the nature of the enquiry, what attracted them, and what they wanted to know. Did it result in new business? We are not counting the number of enquiries; we are looking for the most valuable of them.


Hone in on the value

There are always more topics to tackle than the time available. We seek consistent leads layering up over time from multiple keyword sources. We work on what’s working first.

The huge advantage of SEO is the free nature of clicks over many years. But that doesn’t mean it’s free to make it happen.

We are highly self-aware in this respect. Our costs are going to add up unless we start small and focus on these short-term proof of concept.

Our great advantage is that we have done this many times before and can focus on what works quickly to show how we can impact your marketing efforts. We want your project to be budget neutral, it should be profitable, or there is no point in doing it. We try to figure that out ahead of time.