A Dummy's Guide to Measuring ROI for SEO

Adrianna Mieras

Senior SEO Strategist

By now you know that money doesn’t grow on trees. It can’t be found at the ends of rainbows either. Sure, some people get lucky with inheriting money, but for the vast majority of us, money management is essential to surviving. This couldn’t be more true for business owners who need to watch where every dime goes. You can’t just throw your hard-earned profits into something if it’s not going to give you anything back.

When it comes to SEO campaigns, it’s difficult to calculate the exact dollar amount that they have brought in. There are measurable metrics that you can look at such as increases in keyword rankings and organic traffic, but there are just too many factors that are difficult to pin down. But that still shouldn’t stop you from identifying some of the measurable and immeasurable ROIs for SEO. The better you know which factors bring in money (or are likely to bring in money), the better you can budget for SEO campaigns.

Measurable ROIs

Increases in Rankings

Ranking increases are probably the single most effective way to see that your SEO efforts are working. The keywords used in your content should help your site rank better in the SERPs, so you should see improved placement over time. Of course, there will be bumps along the way as the majority of the SERPs change daily. Algorithm updates from Google can also affect your placement.

SEO experts recommend looking at your ranking as you would a ranking in a stock market. It’s best to be steady and consistent so that you can reach your long-term goals rather than just focusing on meeting goals for today.

Increases in Organic Traffic

As your website gains better placement in the SERPs, you should naturally see more visitors coming to your site. The easiest way to track this traffic is Google Analytics, but there are many different software programs available if you happen to find something you like better. Analytics software can tell you a lot about your traffic such as where they’re coming from, their age, gender and interests.

Increases in Site Authority

To increase your site’s overall authority, it’s helpful to do SEO work for one keyword. Moz.com has a great read on domain authority that you can check out here. By doing SEO work for one keyword, you can also learn a lot about your other keywords. You should be seeing the keywords rise in rankings, which will improve your placement and organic traffic.

Immeasurable ROIs

Let’s move onto immeasurable SEO factors. Some factors are considered indefinite because they can’t be easily tracked and measured. But, you should be mindful of them because they still impact your SEO.

Consider that as little as six years ago, the primary goal of SEO was to bring people to a site. It didn’t matter what type of experience they had, or even if the website was relevant to their needs. The goal was to get visitors to click on the site and at least have a look around, but as marketers soon learned, this didn’t help with conversions or sales.

In order to increase sales, the visitors that were brought to the site had to have some need in that particular product or service. This is where SEO started to change, taking on more responsibility to be relevant, interesting and engaging to a particular audience, one that was more likely to convert and buy.

Fast forward to today, and SEO is aiming more and more at pleasant experiences that answer customers’ questions and bring them to the right websites. This value is much harder to track however. The best tool that you have is Google Analytics, which at least paints a general overview of how your site is meeting your optimization goals.

Website Updates

Probably one of the biggest but most impactful immeasurable ROIs is your website itself. You can put a lot of time and money into updating your website but you may never know which changes made the difference. Could it be the updated keywords in your content? Improved navigation? A clean layout?

Don’t look at this as a frustrating task, though. Your website should be continually updated and refreshed to keep it current and relevant for users. Updates shouldn’t be done on a one-time only basis. They should be done routinely for the best results. As you learn more about your customers, you can refine pages so that you are more likely to turn this niche traffic into conversions.

Conclusion

Measuring the effectiveness of your SEO campaigns is an important step to take in order to manage your advertising budget accordingly. If you see your rankings increasing and more organic traffic coming to your site, you know that what you’re doing is working. You just may not know which factors are making the biggest difference since they do include both measurable and immeasurable components.

Be sure to utilize Analytics as much as possible, as this is the most direct way to learn about how your site is performing. If you notice that there are areas for improvement, you can easily update keywords and tweak your site accordingly to yield better results. Look at your website as a living, breathing entity rather than something you create once and are done with.

Finally, be one of the smart marketers out there and realize that SEO will have an impact on your ROI. For some reason, many marketers have a hard time admitting this, maybe because there is so much gray area. But if you accept the fact that good SEO requires consistent effort over the long term, you’ll be more likely to put in the elbow grease to maintain your company’s online reputation.

About the Author: Adrianna Mieras

Adrianna is an SEO Strategist at SEMGeeks. She holds a BA in Communication Studies with a concentration in Digital Communication, Information and Media from Rutgers University. She takes pride in her work and thrives off of "position one" success. Born and raised at the Jersey Shore, Adrianna spends her free time riding her bike along the beach and swimming in the ocean. She has a passion for people, places and new experiences. It is rare to find her without a smile on her face.

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