For as long as they have existed, both Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) have been clouded in mystery.
While the basic premise of SEO – getting a company webpage to appear as high as possible on Google – is relatively clear, most internet users are unsure about navigating the inner workings of the practice.
And according to Longtail UX co-founder and CEO Andreas Dzumla, this sense of mystery and uncertainty is a problem for the SEO/SEM industry as a whole.
“Even for the people working in SEO, it’s still like a ‘dark art’ for them,” he told B&T. “It’s almost as if you have this priest of SEO who interprets the Google God.”
This has meant some businesses are hesitant when it comes to investing in SEO, as the potential ROI is less clear than other channels, explained Dzumla.
“Most of the companies we work with, if you look at the data, they spend millions of dollars on paid search but they spend almost nothing on SEO, because they don’t know what the return is,” he said.
Paid search refers to sponsored ads that appear at the top of a page, while SEO looks for organic ways to get higher search engine rankings.
To address some of these industry-wide problems, Dzumla and the team at Longtail UX earlier this month released the Search Marketing Scorecard, a free tool designed to help online businesses with SEO and SEM.
The scorecard forecasts the potential SEO and SEM performance for a business and estimates the potential ROI for both brand and generic keywords phrases.
Dzumla vows that through effective SEO, small businesses can edge out tech giants like Amazon for specific customers.
“A small company can take on [a company like Amazon] in their niche, because they actually know more about that niche and know more about how customers use their products and search for their products,” he said.
As an SEO startup itself, why has Longtail UX created a free product in the Scorecard that could potentially assist competitors? Why doesn’t Google offer such a service?
For starters, with Paid Search being such a lucrative revenue stream for Google, it is unlikely the search giant would ever offer any assistance to companies looking to improve SEO.
“Google doesn’t actually directly monetise SEO. That’s why for Paid Search there are all these tools and all this data, while for organic search, there is no incentive for Google to come up with data,” Dzumla said.
As for the Scorecard being on offer for free, Dzumla says that while education is a priority, there is also the potential for longterm benefits from raising the profile of Longtail UX.