question on many Webmaster's minds these days
is whether or not they should bother with optimizing
their site to rank high in the search engines.
We've discussed this in previous articles, and
it always seemed to come down to a big "it
depends." However, I'm starting to realize
that for many clients, good search engine rankings
can actually make or break a business.
putting together my presentation for a conference
in Amsterdam, I decided to base my speech around
one Web site we had recently worked on for a client.
The site in question was the Georgetown Surgical
Clinic in Georgetown, Kentucky. Dr. Randall Bolar
performs gastric bypass surgery on morbidly obese
patients so they can lose weight and lead happier,
you have money to burn?
my mind, the work we did for this site lead to
a very successful optimization. Dr. Bolar had
originally let his Web design firm handle his
site submission and, as he put it, he "might
as well have taken the $1,000 out of his pocket
and lit it on fire!" When we began work on
the site, it had nearly no presence in the search
engines and directories. After our optimization,
it had achieved the desired top-10 results in
most of the search engines and directories, for
a number of relevant keyword phrases. Traffic
had increased substantially, and users were finding
the site through the intended keywords. Since
those are the metrics I look for when determining
our success, this appeared to be quite a successful
I realized that I had never actually asked Dr.
Bolar how effective the Web site had been in attracting
new patients to his office, which of course, is
the bottom-line. So I dashed off an e-mail to
Dr. Bolar, asking if he had received a lot of
new inquiries and new patients over the past few
months since the rankings had taken hold. Within
a half hour, and on a Sunday no less, Dr. Bolar
called me to answer my questions. Here's what
he told me:
their optimization, they were getting approximately
2 - 4 new patients a week through their Web site.
Once the rankings kicked in, these numbers jumped
to a whopping 50 - 70 new patients a week! Dr.
Bolar told me that he went from having a struggling
practice that nearly went bankrupt and closed
down, to a thriving practice. He's currently in
the process of looking to hire another surgeon.
Nearly all of his new patients have found him
through the Web site. He even had one patient
who drove 7 hours to his office and has gotten
numerous other patients from out-of-state. The
very next day, in fact, he was seeing 11 new patients,
all of whom had found him through the Internet.
All I could say was, "Wow!"
Was it just a fluke?
startling revelation made me wonder how some of
our other clients' businesses may have been impacted
by being easily found in the search engines, so
I dashed off a few more e-mails and eagerly awaited
the responses. Again, each one had nothing but
great things to say about the effects of good
search engine placement for their bottom line.
Tedesco of www.jebrown.com told me that his company
had spent thousands of dollars on advertising
at the same time they did their optimization.
Their results were good, but not compared to their
total outlay. They decided to lay off the advertising
and re-think their marketing strategy, but when
they stopped the advertising, they realized that
it had little to no effect on their bottom line.
The majority of their visitors were coming through
the search engines! Joe says he's a big believer
in Search Engine Optimization because of the "little
to no work that's involved once the rankings are
also heard back from Kathy Drewien, from Atlanta
Relocation www.atl-relo.com. Most of Kathy's clients
find her services through her Web site, so search
engine visibility is extremely important to her.
Kathy told me that in1998, before her Web site
optimization, she had 14 Internet transactions
that grossed $100,000 in commissions. In 1999,
after a successful optimization, those numbers
increased to 22 transactions for $121,500 in gross
commissions. Again in 2000, she had 22 transactions
for a total of $165,939 in gross commissions.
Content is still king
important to note that simply being found in the
engines isn't always enough. Once found, your
Web site still has to sell its products or services.
I believe that a big reason why our optimized
sites end up getting so much new business is because
we increase the overall appeal of a Web site when
we work on it. That is, we write great, professional
marketing text, and suggest other changes that
may give the site a more professional appearance.
These things are just as important to the bottom
line, as getting the high rankings in the first
true that not all businesses will achieve the
same kinds of return on investment from a successful
optimization as the sites discussed here. However,
when you consider the low cost of SEO compared
to other forms of marketing, your bottom line
may increase substantially. Just make sure you
find the right specialist for your needs. All
Search Engine Optimization consultants are NOT