Working with global brands and large national businesses around the globe, one of the annual tasks I am faced with is helping Marketing Managers to demonstrate why SEO is worth continuing.

As businesses are faced with budget cutbacks or changes to annual budgets, marketing is often the first budget to be cut (which is a mistake but that’s another article in itself).

Each year Marketing Managers are asked for proof as to how digital marketing has helped the business to succeed, and in particular, what role did SEO play in that success.

SEO ROI Can Be Hard to Prove

SEO is not as straight forward as PPC. At least with PPC you have cost per click (CPC) and cost per acquisition (CPA) to help measure ROI.

For SEO you have a monthly service fee. You may measure the number of organic goals completed, but generally that’s about it.

Let’s Measure the Value of SEO

SEO can be measured, and with a few simple tricks, together we are going to prove to the decision-makers that SEO is well and truly worth the spend (as long as you have the right SEO provider that is…).

Let’s go.

Follow these Tips to Measure the Value of your SEO

You will need:

  • Google Analytics
  • SEO Software (or access to SEO Reports)
  • Google Sheets/Excel skills
  • Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics (GA)
  • Helpful (but not necessary) knowing the value of each lead to the business

Step 1. Year on Year Comparison

This is your first step. You need to analyse YoY (year on year) results. Has organic performance improved? Yes? Great. No? Where and why. Your SEO Team needs to answer that question.


Click here to access your Free Worksheet

Complete this worksheet and move on to your next step.

Step 2. Review YoY Keyword Rankings

Have access to SEO software? Great. If not, ask your SEO Team to provide you with a keyword report comparing rankings YoY. You should see lots of green arrows as per the example below.

semrush position rankings example

Step 3. Custom Keyword Conversion Report – Google Analytics

I love Google Analytics. I’m a huge fan of analytics in general, but as GA is where I began my analytics journey many years ago, I have a big old’ soft spot for it.

Whilst the default reports GA provides are super helpful, Custom Reports are where it’s at.

I could provide the instructions step by step for the Keyword Conversion Report, but why reinvent the wheel? Hallam Internet provide an outstanding example and enable you to import the Custom Report Template into your GA account.

Head on over to Hallam Internet and grab your free Custom GA Report.

Step 4. Compare Converting Keywords to Targeted SEO Keywords

Are the converting keywords lining up with your SEO keywords? This is one of the key metrics to report on, that the keywords your SEO program has targeted have delivered leads/sales.

If, for example, a specific keyword has delivered 20 leads, and each lead is worth $1000, then the value of that keyword is 20 x $1000 = $20,000 (and that’s just one keyword!).

Step 5. New vs Returning Traffic

We want to know if SEO has delivered new visitors to your site. This report is already available in GA.

  1. Log in to GA
  2. Under the Audience navigation tab, select Behaviour > New vs Returning.
  3. You will then select Secondary Dimension and search for Medium. Your table should look like the screenshot below.
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The populated data will now tell you how many new visitors you received to the site from organic traffic – and that’s down to SEO.

Step 6. Benchmarking

You really want to prove to the decision-makers that your business is performing better than the competition online. One of the ways to achieve this is by reviewing the Benchmarking Report available in GA.

It looks like this:

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What the above screenshot is telling me is that my client’s website has received 321.79% more organic search traffic and 65.85% more direct traffic than the competition.

To access this report in GA, simply follow these steps:

  1. Login to GA
  2. In the left navigation pane, select Audience > Benchmarking > Channel
  3. Set the Industry Vertical and Region (as per screenshot below).
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Step 6. Google My Business (for local business)

If you happen to be a local business, or franchise monitoring multiple locations, start tracking and measuring insights from your Google My Business listing.

You will only be able to get weekly, monthly or quarterly insights, so I recommend you start keeping record of this data.

In the example below, my client has received 190 phone calls from their Google My Business listing in 3 months.

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Step 7. Competitor Metrics

Ask your SEO Team to provide you with a Ranking Distribution Report. This report shows where your competition sits for online visibility compared to your business. An example of SEM Rush data is displayed below. As you will see, Amazon has 20.42% visibility for the targeted keywords compared to Walmart (we don’t know what those keywords are, this is just an example of what you can access).

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Step 8. Use This Handy Calculator

Brightedge has this excellent free SEO ROI Calculator. This will help provide you calculate the monetary value of organic traffic.

Step 9. Compile a Comprehensive Report

It’s now time to compile all of the above data and prepare a comprehensive report to support your cause for an SEO budget increase (or at minimum, no cutback).

In Summary

SEO is a long game. It can take up to 12 months to see substantial gains from organic traffic, but you will see them if SEO is implemented correctly.

If, after completing the above steps you still have no idea which way to go, feel free to contact Munn Digital as this is a service we provide and are more than happy to assist you to keep that SEO budget!

PS. If your data is not supporting your cause, you may need to consider changing SEO providers.

Tracey Munn
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