Internal Keyword ROI

Internal keyword ROI is based around the concept of segmenting pre-existing web traffic that could be coming from current customers, employees, competitors, journalists, or organizational stake-holders.

Rather than focus on external marketing keywords that attract new exposure points, internal keyword ROI is based upon understanding lifetime value, on-going engagement, and up-sell opportunity. It focuses on keywords that represent lines of communication that exist within your business.

These existing lines of communication may be within the ‘sales’ side of the business OR they may represent a diverse collection of business investments.

Simply stated:

Most marketers commonly accept and become focused
on the perceived ROI of client acquisition.

While most businesses executives are focused
on retention and growth of existing business assets.

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If a marketer makes the mistake of not thinking like a business executive,
they risk losing sight of the big picture
and develop tunnel vision regarding the new prospect pipeline.


Creating a new client is not a trivial goal, but as the saying goes:

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”

No other department leader has the ability to proactively research competitive gaps or investigate where consumers of information are interacting with the brand of the company. A majority of the tools used for determining keywords and audience behaviors are almost entirely biased to the marketing profession. This limits other departmental leaders from effectively establishing internal keyword roi and benefit points.

If a marketer wants to be an executive leader, they need to take responsibility for the entire well-being of the organization and offer pro-active solutions to emerging issues.

  • Most organizational marketers pass the duty of customer retention to customer care.
  • Most organizational marketers do not become involved in employee retention/attraction.
  • Most organizational marketers do not take responsibility for long-term stakeholder shifts.

Why should a marketing professional care
about shifts that affect organizational efforts?

The simple truth of the matter is that most marketers are facing dwindling budgets and increased efficiency. Savvy marketers who can qualify and quantify ROI benefits in other departmental silos have the ability to access “co-op” departmental budgets and establish themselves as organizational assets (otherwise known as career safety.)

Instead of focusing on prospect and awareness creation, take some time to identify low-hanging fruit for SEO and SEM keywords.

Some examples:

  • Customer Care Keywords – customers often search for how-to, user guides, and contact information. These search strings identify existing customers that can up-sold or they can be influenced my marketing to achieve a higher retention rate.
  • Employee Engagement Keywords – human resources spends a tremendous amount of effort on employee relations (layoffs, hiring/firing, best practices, training.) Identifying keywords that employees use allows you to reduce training time, improve peer-to-peer information sharing, and track/monitor/improve important internal trends.
  • Recruiting Prospect Keywords – your recruiting team can spend 10% to 40% of first year salary recruiting for a new employee. Detailing a recruiting funnel powered by your keyword guidance can “redefine” how much marketing can save the organization.
  • Executive & Journalistic Keywords – stakeholders and journalists often look for specific PR product phrases or executive bios. Establishing a pipeline to track executive inquiries allows marketing to take credit for generating positive press or executive partnerships (which PR traditionally took credit for.)
  • Reputation Keywords -review, scam, complaint, resume, bio? Marketers who understand how reputation keyword modifiers affect sales conversion and customer retention can tactically target methods of improving results on high-priority product and executive names.

What can you do today?

Sit down and write up a list of departmental silos that work with keywords. Most marketers have never applied keyword strategies to departments outside of the sales channel.

You can use the above examples as basic starting points.

What segments within your business have
‘low hanging fruit’ for internal keyword roi?