Chart of SEO tactics by Cost-Effectiveness and ROI

From Marketing Sherpa’s “2012 Search Marketing — SEO Edition

This graph reveals in one view how web marketing managers should think about allocating resources among SEO tactics. Study it first, and then let’s talk (well, I’ll talk about it, and I hope to hear back from you).

This graph and the Marketing Sherpa survey it comes from illustrate the principle that you should allocate web marketing capital according to cost-effectiveness (with cost indicated by “Degree of Difficulty”).

The main weakness of this graph is indicated by the analogy that blending a lot of really bad scotches doesn’t make a good cocktail. In economics, for example, often the average of a bunch of economists’ projections proves wildly wrong, and likewise this study compiles estimates and less than scientific data. Similarly, a lot of beer drinkers used to like Pabst. Very few economists predicted the financial crisis (and I bet a lot of bad scotch and cheap beer was consumed as a result!). Still, I believe that this graph does a good job of suggesting how on average you should invest in various SEO tactics.

Of course on average, all women are about 1/50th pregnant. That is, your particular business situation and the web marketing work your team already has done well could make your optimum allocation differ tremendously from what this graph suggests.

What remains true for you, however, is that you should think about your web marketing according to the principles and categories of tactics illustrated in the above graph.