How Much Organic Growth is Enough?

Written by Nick Stamoulis

473525579When we started working with a new client a few months ago they asked us what a “normal” organic growth looks like after a year of SEO. Could they expect to see a 10% change? 20%? 30%? I explained to our contact there that our clients have seen everything from as little as 2% change in organic to as much as 324% change in just a year. It depends on how competitive your market is, how established your website is, what kind of SEO work you’ve done in the past and a myriad of other factors (some of which we can control and some of which we can’t). I told our client, “I promise it’ll be somewhere between 2% and 300%, how does that sound?” Obviously everyone laughed, but that’s really the truth!

To show you just how varied organic growth can be year over year, take a look at some of these clients’ data (comparing July through December of 2013 to July through December of 2014):

B2C e-commerce website: Organic traffic increased 63.39% (517,692 vs. 316,85)

B2B software solutions provider: Organic traffic increased 102.80% (63,116 vs. 31,123)

B2C/B2B printing services provider: Organic traffic increased 8.89% (17,971 vs. 16,504)

B2B staffing agency: Organic traffic increased 50.68% (29,427 vs. 19,529)

B2B Software Company: Organic software increased 38.69% (63,282 vs. 45,628)

Of course most companies would love to see their organic traffic double in just a year, but the client whose traffic increased a “mere” 8.89% isn’t upset either! Especially since online leads were up year over year and they closed some new (and rather large) accounts thanks to their amped up content marketing and social media marketing programs. So how much organic growth is enough? It’s however much you need to keep the wheels turning!

It’s important to measure your organic growth by your own standards. We had one B2B client that always compared themselves to industry titans like IBM and SAP. No matter how good their SEO program was doing, all they wanted to know was why they weren’t getting as much organic traffic as IBM. The main reason? They weren’t IBM! Some companies/websites are so big (millions of pages big) and so well known that they can’t help but do well organically. I call this the “too big to fail” approach to SEO. At the end of the day Google doesn’t care what websites slip into the top 10 spots, as long as it keeps their users happy. If users stop seeing the biggest names for searches they expect to see them for, how long will they keep using Google for? Some websites get to thrive simply because Google knows removing them would hurt their own bottom line.

That doesn’t mean, however, that your own website has no chance of taking on the “big guys.” But it does mean you need to evaluate your own success by your own past efforts. For instance, if you launched your website last year and went from a 100-200 visitors a month in 2013 to 700-800 visitors a month in 2014 that’s a huge jump! Don’t worry so much on what the competition is doing and just focus on your own organic growth.

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