SEOs often don’t get a fair seat when marketing budgets are decided.
SEO is marketing.
It’s almost time for many companies to hold boardroom meetings to decide on next year’s budget allocations, so the argument for why SEOs need to have their say in boardrooms (and marketing budgets) continues. I would like to proceed. schedule).
But before that, let me explain a little more why I feel SEO doesn’t work.
Proving the value of SEO is complicated
SEO can be a headache for some in the marketing department. It has a lot of moving parts and understanding exactly how it works is not as easy as PPC.
Common problems with PPC include:
- Choose a keyword.
- Write/place advertisements.
- Pay when someone clicks.
- Send that click to a landing page of your choice.
- Report on results (sales/leads).
That’s true. SEO is more complicated than this. And because of its complexity, I often ask prospective clients to when Invest in SEO, somehow SEO is even a really viable investment in the first place. Often the answer to these questions is “it depends”.
Remember, investing in SEO is more than just hiring an agency or an in-house individual to oversee and drive your strategy.
Unlike PPC, there are many other considerations such as:
- Required web design and development such as:
- Create a new architecture/navigation structure.
- Creation of new page templates to better support SEO.
- Create a blog/resources section on your website (if you haven’t already).
- Content such as:
- Page content.
- Witty content.
- Thought leadership, white papers, webinars.
- Public Relations and Legal Review:
- Ensure content meets corporate compliance needs (especially for medical/pharmaceutical/legal/insurance industries and other highly regulated industries).
Case in point: My agency has a client who hired us to help them rebuild their website (including auditing their existing and competitors’ presence).
This audit resulted in 130 hours worth of web development requirements. This client needs to see through to completion to demonstrate the investment they have made in us.
We highly recommend consulting a trusted friend/partner with SEO experience to help you make this decision. Many of her SEOs (nice people 😊) are happy to provide free analysis/opportunity assessments. Take advantage of our advice.
Let’s assume today that you’ve determined that SEO has an opportunity to add value to your business. No doubt in the boardroom he would want to better understand the following if he is trying to determine an SEO budget.
- size of opportunity.
- The scale of investment required to get there.
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size of opportunity
There are two sides to the coin when judging the “value” of an SEO effort.
One simple metric is to consider the “cost of exchange” of traffic. How much would this same traffic cost if bought via PPC (if you’re looking to target via SEO)? Semrush makes this available via the “Traffic Cost” metric .
This can be a large number, as seen on Search Engine Land. You may find that many of your competitors recognize this type of value, but you don’t.
This may be what SEO needs to say to the board that it’s “worth the investment.” It’s one way of measuring.
Understand the traffic potential of your SEO efforts
But as a mature marketer, you want to move beyond just “click value” to something more meaningful.
- visible value.
- Download the white paper.
- Sign up for the webinar.
How you measure this depends on whether your business is e-commerce or B2B/lead generation. Both industries need to do two things:
- Identify keywords that you might target.
- Determine what you need to compete (i.e. site structure/link acquisition).
I’m assuming you’re a marketing head and probably not an SEO, so I’ll give you a quick rundown on how to conduct this type of evaluation.
Using Semrush (subscription required) organic research section. Here you can enter the domains/website addresses of your direct competitors that you believe are doing well with an organic presence.
If you find a competitor that seems to have a large organic presence, top organic keywords click on the section Show all organic keywords.
A complete list of your competitor’s keywords will be displayed. However, this also includes competitors’ “branded” keywords (such as company names). You should filter this:
Still, this data isn’t great. Shows the keywords your competitors rank for in Google’s top 100 results.
Let’s make this more meaningful/useful by reducing that number to “important” rankings (this is a subjective metric). In this case, we’re only interested in the top 20 ranking keywords.
Now you have a list of viable keywords that you know are driving significant organic search traffic to your competitors.
This shows that:
- There are 19,029 keywords ranked in Google’s top 20.
- The “Local Guides Program” accounts for a large percentage of traffic to our competitors.
- The CPC for the “seo” keyword was around $6.20 when buying that traffic via Google Ads.
And, as mentioned above, you can see the “value” of this competitor’s non-branded organic traffic based on the “alternative cost” (“traffic cost”).
Ambitious, which is the next step. Download the top 20 ranking list to a spreadsheet.
Create columns in your spreadsheet to make some assumptions (i.e. top 3 rankings, 4-7 rankings, 8-10 rankings, or details to estimate for each top 10). ).
Since we have an estimated monthly search volume for each keyword, we can multiply these numbers by the potential click-through rate for each potential/future ranking.
Thanks to Backlinko’s work on average CTR for Google SERPs, we have some estimates.
SEO is an imperfect science. But it at least gives you some visibility into the traffic potential you’re investing in. in short, It puts some math into the prediction.
Assessing SEO Opportunities in Ecommerce and B2B/Lead Generation
Now that you at least have an idea of your traffic potential, break down the task of determining what potential “real” value exists in terms of something more specific (sales/leads, etc.) need to do it.
This article will focus on either an e-commerce website or a B2B/lead generation website.
E-commerce Opportunity Assessment
For an e-commerce website, you should have a general sense of:
- conversion rate to sales.
- Average (net) value of sales.
Knowing these things, you can estimate how much money you can make based on varying degrees of traffic growth.
- 10,000 visits per month x 1.5% conversion rate to sales = 150 sales.
- 150 sales x $300 average net sales = $45,000 per month.
Knowing this potential true value can help you assess whether the investment you think your SEO effort requires is “worth it.”
B2B/lead generation opportunity assessment
For B2B/lead generation, you need to know your lead conversion rate (preferably tracking form submissions, phone calls, chat/message apps, and other “lead”/conversion types).
work with this When You should be able to calculate your potential ROI.
Given more than (10,000) possibilities of the same traffic, the calculation would be:
- 10,000 visitors x 5% conversion rate to leads = 500 leads.
- Let’s say ½ of these reads qualify (500 x .5 = 250).
- Now let’s say you converted 40% of your qualified leads to sales (250 x 0.4 = 100).
- So you have 100 potential sales from your SEO investment.
What is the average net value of sales?
All businesses are different. You have a client with an average net value of sales of $400,000. This makes the ROI discussion a lot easier.
But let’s say the average net value of sales is $400. 100 sales x $400 = $40,000 net value from SEO investment.
Knowing this will help you determine how much you can invest in your SEO efforts and make a profit.
Bring math into SEO
These formulas are far from perfect. But they do offer an opportunity to put the math behind what you’re looking for in investing in your SEO efforts.
Stakeholders should also be reminded that SEO is not a quick fix. You might spend the first few months of your effort doing deep research before big changes happen.
As mentioned earlier, there may be other hard (internal) costs involved such as rebuilding the website, adding content, adding pages, PR/thought leadership items, etc. Please do your best to explain these things.
Sometimes I strongly advise against companies investing in their SEO efforts, but more often than not I am known as a channel champion.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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