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How To Measure ROI for Your SEO Campaigns

As with any marketing channel, it’s likely you’ll want to know the ROI your SEO campaign is generating for your business. After all, if you’re investing in SEO, you need to measure its impact .

SEO that ultimately leads to increased leads or revenue is exactly what businesses want and that’s why it’s crucial to demonstrate the value it can bring. In this blog, we cover how you can measure the ROI of you SEO activity and the common mistakes to avoid.

Why measure the ROI of your SEO efforts?

It doesn’t matter whether you work with an agency for SEO support or manage all the associated activities in house, it’s essential that you try to gain a better understanding of the financial impact this channel provides your business.  

Why? Let us explain…

  • To get the most out of your budget: As with any marketing channel, if your SEO is costing you more than you’re getting out of it, it’s likely that something needs to change. Maybe it’s your website that’s letting you down or your SEO strategy just isn’t quite right for your audience. Whatever the reason, you need to get to bottom of it to fix it.
  • To benchmark your performance: When you understand what your current ROI is, you have something to work from. This knowledge allows you to look at ways to increase your ROI to get more from your budget and demonstrate to the wider business the impact of your organic activity.
  • To gain buy-in: Knowing the return of your organic investment makes it easier to get more buy in from stakeholders. When you can demonstrate a positive ROI, you’re highlighting success and providing the reason why this investment should continue (if not increase).

If you don’t know your return for every pound spent implementing your digital strategy, it’s impossible to understand which channels are underperforming and which could be scaled up.

Measuring ROI on SEO

SEO is about earning organic visibility to help increase website traffic – and in turn, leads or sales. Unlike PPC where results can potentially be more instantaneous, the effects of SEO can’t be judged on such a short term basis. Often it can take between 6 and 12 months for the impact to be fully seen. If you choose to invest in SEO, it’s critical to view it as a long-term strategy.

It’s also important to remember the organic landscape is an ever changing one. Google rolls out regular algorithm updates which means keeping your finger on the SEO pulse is essential:

“Every time Google makes a big, complex change businesses need an expert to navigate their way through it. It becomes harder to generate an ROI unless you’re aware of the right things to do and how to do them. As the organic channel continues to evolve in its complexity, it requires more technical and strategic experts to deploy and drive good results.” – Ian Lloyd, Managing Director at WMG

These regular changes make SEO a moving target which means you have to keep on top of optimisation to ensure your efforts consistently work for you.

How to measure ROI of your SEO

Before you can prove the ROI of your SEO, you need to ensure you understand your objectives and outline clear KPIs for your campaigns. This way, you can tangibly demonstrate the value of your efforts.

Examples of organic channel objectives could include:

  • Keyword ranking increase
  • Average rank improvement
  • Site visibility improvement
  • Increased organic traffic

But ultimately, to gain an understanding of ROI for the SEO channel, you’ll need to consider:

  • Increase in organic conversions
  • Increase in revenue / leads from the organic channel

Once you understand what your business wants to achieve and the value of reaching this, it makes it easier to calculate your ROI. If your goal is to generate conversions or revenue with SEO, follow these three simple steps to set up conversion tracking:

  1. Set up eCommerce or conversion tracking in Google Analytics and make your goals relevant to your business. If you’re an eCommerce site, your conversion goals will likely revolve around transactions and revenue. However, if you’re an estate agent, it may be the number of website leads generated via form submissions or phone calls.
  2. Once you’ve been tracking data for a month or so, you should have enough information to start reviewing your conversions and/or revenue by channel in Google Analytics. Organic search channels include all users who found your site in the search engine results page (SERP) through a none paid click, allowing you to understand exactly where visitors came from and attribute this traffic to your SEO strategy.
  3. When you’ve determined how much revenue your SEO strategy generated during a specific timeframe, you can compare that amount to your SEO investment during the same period to determine your ROI. Use the following formula to calculate your ROI:

(Revenue from SEO – Cost of SEO Investment) / Cost of SEO Investment

Measuring additional SEO value through attribution modelling

While calculating the ROI of your SEO, don’t forget about assisted conversions too! Assisted conversions are Google’s way of measuring the impact of interactions within the buying cycle that ultimately lead to a user converting on your website via a different channel.

Measuring the impact of your SEO efforts using assisted conversions allows you to understand the additional value this channel is having on driving last click conversions through other marketing channels.

We advise taking a look at Google’s different attribution models and selecting one to use across all of your channels. Using attribution modelling in your Google Analytics account allows you to not only understand the interrelationship between your different marketing activity, but also the additional value they may bring within the marketing mix.

Common mistakes to avoid

As an SEO agency we see the same mistakes being regularly repeated when it comes to measuring the ROI of your SEO activities. Here are some of the top ones to be aware of so you can avoid them:

  • Measuring the ROI of individual pages on your website rather than your website as a whole: Remember there are often multiple interactions that lead to a conversion.
  • Forgetting this is a long-term tactic capable of driving revenue for months after a campaign has ended: SEO should be seen as a long-term strategy that, over time, often delivers a greater ROI than other marketing channels.
  • Ignoring the impact that other elements can have on the success of your SEO: If your site’s usability and content aren’t up to scratch, this could impact conversion rates, regardless of the strength of your organic rankings and traffic.

How can an SEO agency help?

SEO has evolved over the years, becoming a high-performance route to business growth. Google’s algorithms have developed significantly in this time, creating the need for agencies who specialise in SEO to help organisations thrive in the challenging organic landscape.

Understanding the ROI of your SEO activity is powerful. Calculate and report on it regularly! Although it differs to the likes of PPC or other paid channels in that it can’t be ‘switched on and off’ as needed, we use many of the same tools to forecast and measure the ROI of SEO as we do for PPC.

It’s worth noting that a fixed cost can also be associated with SEO in the same way as PPC, allowing you to calculate other valuable metrics such as cost-per-click, cost-per-acquisition and more. This insight can be used to gain further buy-in from the wider business, demonstrating the success of your organic efforts in a both a commercial and technical sense.

Every decision we make is backed by data. Open, transparent, and underpinned by a wealth of technical SEO expertise, we don’t just focus on your rankings and traffic, we want to increase your ROI too. Visit our website to learn more about our approach to SEO and how we’ve driven success for many businesses including Hammonds Furniture, Shelbourne Motors and Robins and Day.