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The Long Term Benefits of SEO: A Case Study

One thing that is often difficult for people to grasp about SEO is that achieving lasting results is usually a slow process. Like with many things in life, a client who is dedicated to long-term SEO growth will be rewarded by trusting in delayed gratification.

This has proven true for many of our clients, but for one in particular. Dataw Island has patiently invested in a SEO campaign for about 18 months. As 2010 comes to a close, I have been recently reviewing their annual performance. They have been rewarded for their patience.

Dataw Island is not necessarily our typical SEO client. Our agency has traditionally specialized in SEO services for golf and hotel clients. However, over the last several years, we have seen great success in search engine marketing for real estate agencies, law firms, medical practices, and assisted living centers. The primary difference for these types of clients is that they are typically lead oriented on the web rather than direct sales oriented. While a leads oriented client may pose a problem for traditional web marketers it fits safely within our comfort zone.

Dataw Island is real-estate client who also promotes golf and country club memberships. Here are a few of the major successes we saw with their account this year.

1. Natural search traffic increased 48.2% from 2009. This means that from traffic generated from non-paid search engines, we saw major traffic increases. A basic tenet of search engine optimization is that we do not create new demand; rather we harness pre-existing demand and deliver relevant results.
Dataw Natural Search.jpg

2. Leads from natural search increased by 30% from 2009. This increase in leads demonstrates that the visitors from these search engines were highly qualified and were interested in the content from our client's site. Unlike many interactive companies, we don't use smoke and mirrors to produce short-lived results, but we'd rather work carefully to send qualified visitors to a client's site.Dataw Leads.jpg

3. Annual growth in natural search out-paced growth in non-search traffic by 20%. This metric is one of the best indicators that this traffic increase was due to improved visibility in the search engines, demonstrating the value of an aggressive, yet virtuous SEO campaign.

Results like this encourage me as a search engine marketer to be patient and persistent, trusting in time-tested best practices. Results like this should also have you wondering, "what should my natural search look like this time next year?"

**Nathan Moore is a Search and Social specialist at Fuel Interactive specializing in Search Engine Marketing.

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