Ah, ok, now that we got that out of the way let’s look at how to measure the ROI of SEO.
A lot of companies are hesitant to start or continue an SEO campaign because they don’t physically see an ROI. When you’re trying to explain to the suits on the top floor why you should continue with SEO you have to be able to show them something. Just saying “It works, trust me” will probably cost you your job. The suits are the ones spending money and they want to feel good about where that money is going.
Measuring the ROI of SEO for eCommerce is much simpler than if you’re selling a service and not products. In eCommerce it’s as simple as:
- We sell X amount a month, and our traffic & sales conversion are X amount a month
- We started an SEO campaign, and after 90 days our sales, traffic and conversions are X amount a month
While you’ll need to have Google Analytics (or another analytics platform) installed, it’s pretty cut and dry. Like we said, though, we aren’t an eCommerce website and we need to prove the value. How do we do that?
Setting SEO Goals
Measuring the ROI of SEO can be quite simple, actually, but you do need to set goals. These goals can range anywhere from higher rankings to email subscriptions. I am hesitant to use rankings to measure the ROI, but for some companies getting higher rankings is the end all and be all. They want to type in a search term and see their website first. It can make you feel warm and fuzzy, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to make more money.
What are some other goals that can be tracked?
Like we said earlier, you can also track email subscriptions. Here are some other website metrics that you can easily set goals for:
- contact form completions
- request a quote/consultation/etc. form completions
- time on site
- eBook/case study downloads
- social media likes/followers/shares/etc.
- video views
- blog views
- CTA clicks
- scheduled appointments
- even phone calls
Almost all of these can be set inside analytics, and here’s a great blog post on how to do that. Social media analytics is easy to track by itself, and then there are phone calls. Many businesses will use a special tracking number for PPC campaigns, and the same type of system can be used for SEO.
If increased phone calls are your goal, you need to invest in a call tracking/phone analytics service and put that number on your website. People go to the website, call the number, and voila! You have data that you can bring to the suits.
Measuring the ROI of SEO doesn’t have to be like Bigfoot; you believe it exists but you’ve never seen it and can’t prove it. You will, however, need the following:
- A website with Analytics installed; Google Analytics is probably the most popular and it’s free so if you’re trying to keep your investment low, go with them.
- Goals; I cannot stress the importance of goals enough. It’s nearly impossible to track ROI if you don’t know what you want your website to accomplish.
That’s it! Pretty simple when you look at it like that. At the end of the month you can put together a fancy report showing conversions, higher rankings, increased phone calls, increased blog views, social media shares, or whatever metric you decided was a goal, and march up into your boss’s office and feel confident that the budget for SEO is money well spent.
If you’re hiring an SEO company for online marketing instead of doing it yourself, be sure to let the company know that you will need to track ROI. If they are hesitant to do so, or tell you that it’s too hard to track, run for the hills. They are not the company for you. You may have to increase your budget for a phone number service, designing CTAs, writing eBooks, etc. but it’s never impossible.
Whether you go with an outside company or do it yourself, you need to have a meeting with the right people and set website goals. The sales team, the marketing department, and the suits all need to clearly lay out what they want the website to do, and how that is going to be tracked. Once the entire organization is on the same page with the website, and its goals, it’s time to start tracking the ROI.