However, as we analyze this thought process, we see that the "increase in sales" goal, or directive, is all the way at the end of the funnel. When most SEO engagements start off, the conversation revolves around keywords of importance, content, links and maybe expected traffic increases - but almost never conversion rates. You might be able to fairly assume that the existing conversion rate could be applied to the new traffic generated from the SEO effort, but the discussion really requires further investigation of the design, usability, and other factors that lead to a sale. Now we're not just talking about SEO; we're also talking about conversion optimization, and A/B testing to get to the desired results-a service that the SEO firm may not be performing, involved with, or even have control over.
The second problem lies in the "keywords related to the business" statement. I can tell you that most customers don't know for certain which keywords drive sales. If we did, we'd just focus on only those words and solve the sales problem. But the answer is far more convoluted than you would think. They may know what they'd like to be found for, but for the most part, those terms are not keywords with "buying intent." Also, what about click attribution? When does PPC get the credit, versus SEO?