When you signed on to work on SEO performance for your organization, hopefully there was a good conversation about the budget, your metrics for success and how you were going to track your progress along the way. If you didn’t touch on those points, stop reading now and give yourself a note to have that conversation with your SEO team. Search engine optimization can be a never-ending chase and if you’re not clear on your goals and metrics it can run on it’s own momentum whether it’s succeeding or not.
Let’s create a hypothetical project to illustrate the SEO ROI concept and how you can put some numbers behind the budget you’re spending each month. Let’s lay out some example facts:
Example Inc. Sells Shoes
Average Sale Amount is $100
Profit Margin on Each Sale is $50
If you’re spending $1,000 a month on SEO you need to see 20 new sales per month on average to break even on that new budget. However, you’re not going to see any sales from your SEO efforts for a while, so the financial goals (while still relevant) go on hold in the short term. What else should you be paying attention to in the meantime.
First, your SEO team should have a very concrete plan to improve site health, build rankings, grow traffic and increase sales. For example, it could involve items like:
Keyword Research and Analysis
Onsite Content Optimization
New Content Creation
Fixing Onsite Errors and Warnings
All these items can (and should) be out in the open. If they are performing keyword research, have them share the final research. What are the new keyword targets? What pages are going to be optimized for which keywords? SEO shouldn’t be a behind-the-curtain exercise. It’s a set of tasks like any other and you can receive periodic updates. Also, make sure you ask for a firm timeline. If we’re working on cleanup of SEO Errors and Warnings, how long will that take? What kind of growth can we expect during that time period?
SEO is an effort that is measured in months more than days or weeks, so expect to hear a 30 / 60 / 90 day plan and don’t be shocked if the financial goals can’t be reached for a few months, but don’t forget about those goals! If you’re 3 – 6 months in and you’re not hitting those 20 new shoe sales a month, have a conversation about why that’s not happening. Missing a goal doesn’t mean there is no value in the SEO work being performed, but make sure you’re on the same page about where you are in relation to those ROI goals. SEO is a long term strategy but it shouldn’t be something you do to check a box. It should have a concrete measurable value if you’ve been working on it for a few months.
Hopefully this simple walk-through helps to illustrate the value of tying your SEO work to an ROI. If you’d like to discuss your real-world SEO goals and ROI, get in touch. We’re happy to start the conversation with you.