Your Business Needs to Effectively Track ROI for SEO

Written by Matthew King, time it takes to read this article is  minute(s).

When it comes to monitoring and measuring the performance of your campaign, it helps to think of search engine optimization (SEO) like the stock market.

SEO, like stocks, involves making decisions based on what you’ve seen in the past and what to expect in the future. From that follows a waiting period in which you’re likely to experience growth and decline — just like ranking fluctuations and algorithm changes.

Even the U.S. stock market grew steadily during the 20th century, despite epidemics, world wars, and the Great Depression.

There are no shortcuts to success in the stock market or SEO. And the only way for you to witness growth is by holding out for the long-term rewards.

With a data-driven digital marketing strategy, you can you can achieve consistent results for your campaign. As certified specialists in the industry, we can help boost your online presence with our SEO services in Virginia.

But launching your campaign is only half of the equation. Knowing the return on investment (ROI) is critical to the success of your overall SEO efforts.

So how do you measure and evaluate the performance of your digital marketing campaign?


The Challenges of Measuring ROI

Achieving consistent growth will mean dealing with obstacles that litter the road to your success.

Data from the Small Business Administration shows that nearly 80 percent of small businesses survive during their first year of operations, but that number falls sharply in the succeeding years. Roughly half survive the five-year mark, while only one-third survive for 10 years or more.

SEO can benefit your business by making your brand visible online and providing a steady flow of customers. And this allows you to generate more earnings and growth.

Measuring the success of your SEO campaign can be a challenge, though. Since the customer journey is non-linear, it’s difficult to attribute leads or purchases to a single channel alone.

There are several other factors you have to monitor. These include:

  • Google's algorithm updates - Google changes its algorithm around 500-600 times every year, and marketers and business owners need to adapt to those updates fast. Keeping up with these changes is one of the ways to sustain your campaign’s performance.
  • Google has 200 ranking factors - Since Google uses 200 ranking factors in its algorithm, it can be laborious singling out the critical ones you should focus on.
  • Isolating variables is near-impossible - SEO campaigns involve implementing multiple initiatives simultaneously. Unfortunately, SEO doesn’t allow you to work in a controlled environment where you can isolate variables and compare it with a control group, like in a science lab.
  • SEO carries a long lifecycle - Any digital marketing campaign takes time to plan, execute, and measure. And this cycle reflects the long-term nature of SEO

Successfully measuring your marketing ROI depends on cross-channel analytics. This means analyzing every channel as a collective whole to understand how customers interact with your brand.

As more and more of your prospects engage with you on different platforms, knowing which among them delivers the best results are essential. In turn, it’ll guide you in making more informed decisions about your ad spend.

More than Just a Formula

Learn how your digital marketing campaign is performing by calculating your ROI. You ROI measures how much revenue you gain from SEO compared to how much you spend creating and distributing content.

For business owners, ROI is one of the most critical measures of successful marketing since it directly relates to revenue. After all, computing your ROI helps you determine whether your campaign has a positive or negative impact.

Measure your marketing ROI with these four crucial steps:

  • 1
    Determine production spend. How much did it cost you to produce the content? Even if you ended up producing it in-house, your ROI should factor in how much you paid the content creator who worked on your campaign. The cost also includes external assets, such as audio, visuals, and images as well as any outsourced work.  
  • 2
    Identify the cost of content distribution. The cost of distributing your content includes paid promotions, such as pay-per-click (PPC), ads through other digital channels, in-house costs, and more. Include the cost of special tools or software involved in content distribution in your list of expenses. 
  • 3
    Work out the dollar amount you receive in return (A successful SEO campaign generates leads that turns into sales). Add up all the sales that result from these conversions to determine how much you’ve earned. 
  • 4
    Calculate your Return on Investment (ROI). The basic formula used to calculate ROI involves dividing the return of your investment by its cost.

And it looks like this:

The result yields an amount expressed as a percentage. And it will tell you if your investments are paying off.

For some business, a direct link exists between content and revenue — like when your users click on your call-to-action and make a purchase.

In some cases, however, your business may not sell a tangible product or receive a direct response from customers. As a result, the figures become harder to calculate.

It helps to identify useful metrics and utilize data analysis to accurately measure ROI.

Establish ROI Measurement Fundamentals

The results of any digital marketing campaign are measurable.

But that doesn’t mean you should measure every aspect of your SEO initiatives. After all, performance metrics can quickly turn into quicksand. If you try to gauge your performance against several goals at the same time, measuring your results can get confusing.

Start by establishing a few measurement fundamentals. These include:

  • Get a solid grasp of your organization’s definition of marketing success. Everyone in your team should be on the same page about what their efforts should achieve. 
  • Identify your top goals and establish metrics on how you can measure each one. For instance, one of your top goals can be lead generation measured through email subscriptions or engagement measured through Facebook shares. 

It also helps to gather qualitative data to validate the value of your content. Pay attention to what your audience says about your brand. Use their direct, unsolicited feedback to help you gauge the effectiveness of your content and determine whether there is any room for improvement.

Moreover, keep in mind that your content does not exist in a vacuum.

Remember: Keep tabs on your competitors and conduct a content marketing analysis of your industry peers. From there, you can build on opportunities and appeal to new customers. 

Tracking the Success of Your SEO Campaign

Every business is different. And every organization uses different metrics to measure performance.

But it helps to establish a baseline on measuring the performance of your digital marketing campaign. This allows you to analyze your digital marketing strategy and create roadmaps for success.

Below are the steps you should take in measuring the success of your SEO efforts — regardless of your industry or the size of your organization.

Step 1: Set Your Goals on Google Analytics

Measuring your goals provides a clear indication on how well your traffic is engaging with your content. Start by deciding on the conversion action you want to happen on your site. Do you want users to sign up for a free demo or make a product purchase?

Head over to Google Analytics and click Conversions > Goals > Overview. Then, click on Set up Goals.

Through this feature, you can easily monitor and analyze the specific targets and relate them to the traffic your website is getting.

Remember: You also have the option to add more goals as your objectives change.

Step 2: Separate Brand-specific Keywords

Before calculating the ROI of your SEO, make sure you exclude keywords with your brand name from your analysis.

Why is this a must? Customers who already know your brand name will include it in their search queries. That means you can’t attribute brand-specific keywords to the results of your SEO campaign. Instead, capitalize on non branded search terms to make the most of your marketing efforts.

Verify this by opening Google Analytics and clicking Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords. From there, you’ll have the option to exclude your brand mention or name through the Advanced Settings option.

In turn, you’ll get a clearer picture of the non branded organic traffic you are getting.

Step 3: Obtain High-Quality Traffic from Search Engines

An increase in site traffic is not enough to prove that your SEO efforts are working. Without any increases in sales or conversions, your website will not receive sufficient quality traffic. This could mean that your website is ranking for keywords that are too vague.

Use Google Analytics to analyze the quality of traffic your website is getting. Open the Behavior section of the tool then click Engagement. This shows you the browsing sessions of your visitors.

Through the Page Depth button, you can view how much traffic your pages are getting on average. From here, you’ll obtain significant engagement insights and find out what you need to improve.

Step 4: Analyze the Backlinks to Your Site

Backlinks are unsung heroes of successful SEO marketing. These are links that come from another website leading to your own site. And they play a huge role in improving traffic and boosting SEO. If your backlink is part of an authority news publication, it could even translate to a public relations boost.

But the traffic backlinks generate is one of the hardest to receive because it depends on the quality of your content.

Use AHREFS, a link research tool, to analyze the links that point back to your website. It displays a series of factors per result, which include the number of backlinks and organic keywords, number of social shares, and more.

Remember: You can also use its other functions to identify and analyze the performance of the best ranking keywords of your competitors.

Step 5: Stay Up-to-date with Competitor SEO Strategies

There’s more to SEO than creating compelling content that converts.

Ranking high on search engine result pages (SERPs) means competing with brands on the first page of Google. Outranking them entails tracking how your industry peers are performing and what SEO strategies they use.

Analyze relevant metrics about your competitors through SEMrush. The user-friendly platform uses smart data to conduct an in-depth analysis of your rivals and guide you in making better SEO-informed decisions.

Step 6: Track Topic Updates Through Google Alerts

Grow your business through Google Alerts. It’s a powerful, free marketing tool that sends emails to a user when new topics in their field of interest appear on Google search.

All you have to do is type in a search term, then Google Alerts scours web pages, newspaper articles, blogs, or scientific research to track topic updates. Then, it notifies you of the latest and relevant search engine results.

This tool can help you monitor your brand, track keywords you’re targeting for your SEO campaign, and keep a close eye on your competition.

Remember: You’ll also have the freedom to choose how frequently you receive updates. Receive updates in real-time and adjust the notifications setting to inform you of updates “as they happen.” 

Connecting with Customers Through the Immeasurable

Measuring the effects of your SEO campaign is probable, but some factors are immeasurable.

Even those who diligently track the results of their SEO campaign may fail to fully capture what translates to long-term success. Privacy regulations, for instance, limit customer activity online. And users are thinking of new ways to obtain information about brands every day.

As some business owners evaluate campaign performance using marketing metrics alone, they miss out on a crucial aspect of SEO success: measuring the social impact of their campaigns.

Brands like The Body Shop do this by engaging consumers through its commitment to activism. With the help of their customers, the company was able to gather 8 million signatures to end animal testing in cosmetics.

This type of marketing differentiates an SEO campaign from a hollow marketing push. And it is also the type of brand awareness that contributes to long-term improvements in conversion rates and lifetime brand value.

The takeaway: engaging customers with your brand entails reaching new customers, engaging with them meaningfully, and cultivating long-term relationships that provide real, measurable ROI.

A successful SEO campaign starts by having a digital marketing strategy that aligns with your business goals. Partner with Alkries LLC to nurture visitors into loyal customers and establish your authority in the industry.

Consult our digital marketing professionals to create an SEO campaign that maximizes your ROI. Get in touch with us today.

About the author

Matthew King is the owner of Alkries LLC and partner at TR King Insurance Marketing LLC. When he's not building links, growing organic traffic, developing internet marketing strategies and measuring positive returns on investments for clients, he likes to spend time with his wife playing video games and going on walks.

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