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Old 04-13-2007   #1
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Just One Agency Point of View

Chris Boggs' first SEW Experts column publishes today, with the topic, "Just One Agency Point of View" which is going to be a regular series of insight into the inner workings of SEM agencies and working with clients.

Last edited by Elisabeth : 04-13-2007 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 04-13-2007   #2
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Interesting, ta for the share
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Old 04-13-2007   #3
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Chris I look forward to reading your posts on issues at a large agency. I know that it will be a difficult balancing act trying to provide information of value to an audience that is fairly well educated in SEM; without sharing your company's competitive advantages.

I find this the conundrum of many conference speakers as well. Why would I stand up in front of all my competitors and tell them how I am successful at my job?

I think a good area to address is what your agency team looks like.
Many SEMS (and I'm sure you have been there too) wear all the hats. So to explain what job positions are used and what their responsibilities are and how they work together in a group to pull off day to day operations. This would be helpful for non agency SEM's and I don’t think would be giving away sensitive info.


Cheers - Discovery
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Old 04-14-2007   #4
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Hey Discovery that sounds like great advice. I think you just came up with the skeleton for my next piece.

I know what you mean about not trying to give too much away, but the great thing about this industry is how often many of us do share more than we should. This is especially true at SES, where I just stocked up on some nice SEO 3.0 stuff to use while still writing/speaking about the SEO 2.0.
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Old 04-27-2007   #5
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Hi Chris - Our SEM agency softball team lost last night too - I wonder if it were played on a computer if we'd do better???

Thanks for the insight into the structure of your teams - I think it's important to know that just because we do something a certain way NOW it's not necessarily the best way.

I'm off to email this article to the mucky-mucks around here (no offense to the mucky-mucks - i just like that word!)
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Old 05-25-2007   #6
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measuring ROI

Are you ready to rumble!!! throw away your pens and pencils...bring on the MBA's and PhD's; throw all academia out the window...shall we settle in for some down to earth discussion on ROI for SEO?
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Old 05-25-2007   #7
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hey there double-oh, you wouldn't be my buddy Paul B, now would you?

I heard someone out there in San Diego by that name actually has a tool for such predictions?
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Old 05-26-2007   #8
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double-oh copy that

Hi Chris, yeah it's me...I'm kinda new to Forums so please forgive my tardiness in responding back.

It's great to see thought-leaders like yourself writing about ROI for organic search listings aka. SEO. It's really an interesting subject, I've had some conversations with Gord and several others; it would be interesting to hear what other people have experienced on this front.

I'd be happy to share my experience's...I guess the first thing I learned was that basically everything relating to ROI and SEO start with a discovery process; this is 'critical path' and one must convince their client/s of two things…extensive keyword research and identifying lifetime customer value (LCV) are mandatory data points to establish upfront.

I wonder if readers understand what those two things mean? or if anyone cares to discuss this topic further? I'd be happy to explain further and/or read what others have to say on the subject.

Will we see you at SMX?
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Old 05-30-2007   #9
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The road to ROI

Great article!
The questions Chris raised were good ones, especially around 'long tail' words. Surely the only way to come close to ROI measurement is via a tightly configured Web Analytics tool such as Chris mentioned.

I can tell you both from first hand experience and broad observation that the push to ROI measurement is fiercely on the rise as more and more CMO's are being held accountable to such numbers. We are seeing ROI requests mostly for Search (paid & organic) and some display media presently, but expect ROI to become a ubiquitous measurement requirement for all advertising tactics over the next 24 months.
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Old 05-30-2007   #10
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I would have to agree Brian. We have seen a significant shift in mindset of many of our clients from merely increased traffic/visibility to a ROI based model.

TBH, with the client hat on, it seems a far more sensible way of measuring effectiveness of SEM campaigns both from a short term and long term perspective, and would most likely bring us in line with other forms of marketing/advertising.
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Old 06-01-2007   #11
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ROI for SEM

I agree with you all; my experience is that most CFO's (companies) have to be guided into a process where we can begin to monitor and provide these numbers. They don't just show up and ROI is very specific case by case from company to company or even business unit to business unit within the company.

Everything relating to ROI and SEM start with a discovery process; this is critical path and you must convince your client of two things…extensive keyword research and identifying lifetime customer value; these are mandatory "data" starting points.
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Old 06-01-2007   #12
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Just five more days and we can really kick this off after I state my arguments why it can't be done anywhere near confidently. say it aint so, double-oh!
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Old 06-08-2007   #13
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Smile Roi

Great Article Chris,

Agreed it is difficult to access the ROI based on a natural SEO campaign. I currently work in an agency, the approach I like to use is to benchmark the traffic to the site before the campaign begins....

* Agree with the client on commencement of the SEO campaign, certain goals... Increase Traffic to X hits, Increase awareness of certain articles, Increase downloads or subscriptions.

I use this approach as opposed to estimated ROI in terms of monetary value, but it all really depends on the client. Again many of my clients are being held accountable for their SEO budgets.

:-)
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Old 06-08-2007   #14
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ROI for SEO/SEM

Please take this with the fact; I admire any agency who takes the time to work out the details of ROI for their clients...however; I'll repeat...critical path is extensive keyword research and identifying lifetime customer value; these are mandatory "data" starting points.

You cannot "benchmark" until you have first established your keywords and values. Many will take this as a 'given,' however, there are many details involved in proper keyword research; such as new keywords daily...and much work required to calculate customer (ROI) value. Therefore, if we are here to set an example and lead or help others through this process; we must follow a strict methodology. Benchmarking is a must, however; it is not the first task to accomplish.

Again, I am being very picky on this subject because it is a system and all systems require procedures and all procedures follow a linear path. You must start with Keyword Research (extensive KWD reseasearch) and determine your clients ROI values.

That said, I apologize for getting ahead of myself...actually, the FIRST task to accomplish is "Identify Business Goals," one cannot do anything worthwhile in Search (organic or paid) until they have identified client business goals.

Lastly, sorry...I haven't had my coffee yet so I'm kinda cranky; I'm truly interested in helping those who want to professionally predict ROI for SEO/SEM. - Best regards.
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Old 06-11-2007   #15
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I wholeheartedly agree that it's almost impossible to estimate ROI on future SEO campaigns. You are right, there are just too many variables to take into account. Even if a tool is 100% accurate in predicting search volume, we still don't know where searchers will click. Even if it's the number one natural position, predicting the CTR is not easy. We are often bombarded with stats that are presented as truth when it comes to the percentage of people that click on organic vs. paid. You have certainly come across articles and discussion that will outright claim as fact that X% click on organic, and Y% click on paid (and now Z% for universal search results, will talk about later). In my opinion, there is no constant percentage one can use when deciding the split between organic, paid, and universal. It varies greatly depending on the intent of the search. If the intent is commercial (ie. "morotola razr battery") - the sponsored regions tend to get more visibility and eyeballs. If the intent is informational (ie. "population of philadelphia") - the organic section will get the high majority of eyeballs and clicks. And while the number one organic result may likely to get the most attention, Google universal search results (photos, videos, news, maps, etc.) are confounding the variables more than ever. These unknowns make predicting future CTR on a keyword a great challenge. Perhaps I just don't know a way to do it. If you do, please enlighten me.
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Old 06-11-2007   #16
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Seo/sem Roi

Precisely, this is an imperfect (as well as complex) environment and thereby requires establishing some Rules. In addition to Rules; it requires disclosure these processes are framed in a "predictive model" environment and not intended to accurately forecast. One can only "predict" a theoretical outcome based on Rules. Enquirio has been doing some interesting studies and has capabilities of feeding critical path data into a predictive modeling tool; data which can account for varibles such as Universal Search, keyword click through by search engine and so on. At the end of the day, no matter what 'tool' we design, the data out the other end is only as good as the data going in (garbage in - garbage out syndrome). Perhaps I can add to this thread later today (this week) with some of the criteria we've included in our beta tool called 'Vision.' I have to be careful here; I am not interested in promoting Vision in any way shape or form - in fact, guys like Barry Schwartz please stay away; we're not ready. Guys like Promediacorp, Shahid, Egain and Brian Mcginty (all practitioners) are welcome. Perhaps we practitioners can discuss offline? Or if Chris Boggs approves it, we will continue online. I simply do not want to be perceived as promoting anything, yet I care immensely in moving forward with mass SEM/SEO ROI tools. Your thoughts?
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Old 06-12-2007   #17
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Love the new article, Chris! This is exactly the direction we need to be moving in. Once we solve the challenge of demonstrating ROI, the next logical question from the client would be to ask us to predict what type of ROI outcome we can generate for a given engagement.

However, in order to predict the future, we must look to the past. We need to start with historical data, as Double07 pointed out, and then need to run that data through a series of rules to arrive at a reasonable ROI calculation. Once we have a consistent and reliable model, we can then begin to look at similarities among engagements and run a new series of rules to formulate a predictive ROI. But there are many challenges - it is hard to create a general set of rules for a seemingly infinitely dynamic environment when there is limited access to key information (I often feel like the weatherman on TV!).

I'd like to hear more about Double07's 'Vision' tool and understand the rules that were developed for its process. Double07 - care to share some details?
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Old 06-12-2007   #18
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Sem/seo Roi

This really deserves an offline meeting with planning and collaboration due to the complexities and depth of scope. Would anyone be interested in forming a work-group for the purpose of developing this tool further?

I believe Gord is interested and in exchange we will provide full usage of the tool when completed. Such a tool would be best if input came from several practitioners rather than only few.

We can thread this for a month of Sunday's, however; it may be better if we get together to discuss a few things by phone, then use the forum to comment back and forth. Thoughts?
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