Are you tired of constantly defending your SEO budget to the C-suite?
On November 4, I moderated a Search Engine Journal webinar presented by Andreas Dzumla, CEO and Co-founder, Longtail UX.
He walked through a new approach to attributing your company’s revenue growth to your SEO efforts.
Here’s a recap of the presentation.
One of the biggest challenges for SEO professionals is measuring your return on investment.
If you can’t demonstrate your ROI, your budget and your role are at risk. It doesn’t have to be that way.
In uncertain times like these, your company’s C-suite wants to hear new insights and achieve quick wins.
You should be able to:
- Measure ROI in SEO.
- Offer new solutions that can have a bigger impact on the business.
SEO as a Marketing Channel: The Problem
For many companies, SEO still seems to get little to no respect compared to other marketing channels – especially paid search.
There’s a huge pot of money in PPC advertising.
In 2019, total worldwide search advertising amounted to $136 billion.
It is easier for paid search teams to use lots of automation tools for optimizing and managing paid search campaigns.
Because of the full transparency in measuring ROI down to search query level, efficient budget decisions can be made.
But what about organic search?
While the majority of clicks on SERPs go to organic listings, proving its value has proven to be a challenge.
Historically, SEO lacks reliable automation tools for managing large-scale campaigns.
It is also hard to measure its ROI which then leads to constrained budgets.
Approaches to Calculating SEO ROI
Since Google took away keyword-level analytics data in 2013, SEO pros had found work-arounds to calculating SEO ROI.
Here are just some a few of them.
1. Google Analytics Organic Search Channel YoY Comparison
Comparing your organic traffic from the current year to the previous year in Google Analytics is one of the options that SEO pros resorted to.
The downside is that:
- You have no idea whether the keywords driving the traffic are branded or generic.
- Revenue increase could come entirely from TV advertising while actual non-brand SEO performance is down.
2. Google Search Console YoY comparison
You can also do a year-on-year comparison in GSC, however:
- No revenue = No ROI.
- Keyword data only shows subset of top 1,000 keywords (when your paid search term report might have 500,000 revenue-contributing keywords in the same timeframe).
3. SEMrush & Other Third-Party Data
Subscribing to SEO platforms is often costly and the data is not the most reliable either.
It also takes a lot of work to separate brand and non-brand keyword data.
4. Counting Revenue From Landing Pages
In this approach, you’d create landing pages and:
- Address a search need.
- Fill a gap in your site navigation (information architecture).
- Improve where you don’t already rank on Google in position #1-5.
- Match specific products.
But how fast can you create 100,000 dynamic landing pages?
How to Address These Problems
Here are a few steps you can take to measure SEO ROI.
Measure Brand vs. Non-Brand Baseline
This unlocks the real value of organic search that’s not related to brand searches.
It also serves as a basis for calculating ROI over time (i.e., Investment vs. YoY changes).
Find Your Market Share Growth
Say you already have a strong brand with loyal customers, what about the customers that are ready-to-buy the products you sell, but aren’t looking for you?
Look beyond your branded market share and tap into a new revenue opportunity in your uncaptured category.
Predict Traffic & Revenue Opportunity Better Than Any Other Third-Party Tool
Hundreds of thousands of specific organic search keyword opportunities are hidden in plain sight in Google Ad Search term reports, with:
And for most of these, Google Keyword Planner tells you there is zero search volume.
Solution: Create New Pages Addressing Keyword Gaps
When you create new pages addressing your keyword gaps, you are providing a halo into your product categories.
Doing this will help your brand:
- Pick up new customers looking right now for specific products, but not your brand.
- Become synonymous with your product categories.
Leveraging Technology in Measuring the ROI of Every Page
You will need to create new landing pages to address your keyword gaps.
Doing this at scale is possible using solutions available in the market which enable you to:
- Create thousands of new landing pages to match exact product searches at scale.
- Dynamically link thousands of new pages contextually.
- Skip the always delayed tech-team project queue.
- Identify under-performing pages and replace them with better keywords without tech work.
- Optimize new customer acquisition independently of your website architecture.
A solution like Longtail UX allows you to do all this and more.
Here’s how it works.
Creating ‘Smart Pages’
Longtail UX creates “Smart Pages” that organize your content in the way new customers expect to find it:
- All exact matching and similar products, relevant articles, reviews, ratings, and maps.
- Landing page variations and product rankings based on search intent (e.g., trigger keywods ‘best’, ‘cheap’, location-based, etc.)
These pages also work within your existing website structure.
Creating ‘Smart Links’
Longtail UX then dynamically interlinks your “Smart Pages” within the website.
It is calculated and updated based on the platform’s proprietary algorithms.
This further enhances total website SEO performance through improved contextual interlinking of website topics.
- To measure brand vs. non-brand SEO revenue, you can do the following:
- Manual measurement using Google Analytics and statistical analysis.
- Automated assessment using Longtail UX’s complimentary scorecard.
- To demonstrate the ROI of SEO to your C-Suite, you can:
- Use Google Analytics non-brand SEO revenue analysis comparing YoY trends.
- Identify keywords to create new pages that fill gaps in your information architecture – either by using your SEM Search term reports and ranking analysis or by using a solution like Longtail UX.\
- Overcome SEO limitations from your CMS, UX and tech resources:
- UX – by creating new pages linked outside of your existing website navigation.
- CMS and tech resources – using Longtail UX.
[Slides] Convert SEO From a Cost Center Into a Measurable Revenue Generator
Check out the SlideShare below.
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All screenshots taken by author, November 2020