Have you ever noticed when it comes to digital marketing more attention seems to focus on paid channels such as paid search and social than SEO? Digital marketing agencies see this all the time and in-house SEO teams are used to this as well. So why does such a high performing an important channel seem like less of a priority to those in charge of the marketing budget?
The answer is pretty simple. Paid channel performance is very easy to digest. You spend X and you get Y. In addition to being easy to digest you also see the results much quicker than that of SEO. So how can we make SEO more of a focal point for our clients, bosses or whoever maybe making the decisions? At The Missing Link, we have come up with a an approach to SEO performance that’s as easy to understand as paid search.
The Complexities of SEO
SEO is a marketing strategy that produces significant, long lasting results. Through on page optimization’s, technical adjustments to the website, back linking and more, business owners can see significant growth. This growth is not just for website rankings and traffic, but overall profitability.
With SEO you are changing many things on a website at once. Additionally, Google changes their algorithm several times a day and it will randomly crawl updated websites. Sometimes you can make a change to a website that takes effect in two days, sometimes it can take two weeks or it can be over a month. Assuming you’re making multiple updates within a given month, it is nearly impossible to tell exactly what change resulted in what growth. This is why typical SEO performance reports are provided on a monthly basis. Whereas paid search and social teams typically provide weekly updates. With more complexities and less frequent updates it’s not surprising paid search and social generate more attention from decision makers.
Simple Formula for SEO Performance
In order to simplify SEO performance, you need to know which keywords are driving traffic to your website. At The Missing Link, we employ the strategy of targeting only one keyword per page in SEO. Although we see several keywords driving traffic to each page for the purposes of this exercise we are only going to focus only on the keyword we are targeting. For this example, let’s use the keyword “widget”.
Once we have a top ranking for widget we look at the traffic being driven to the page that keyword is targeting. So now we have a page optimized for widget and a certain amount of traffic being driven to that page through organic search.
The final step is to determine the dollar value of that traffic. To do that we need to assign a CPC for the keyword. If this client is working with us on a Paid Search we will simply log in and find out what the CPC is for widget. If they’re not working with us on paid we will use Google’s keyword planner and get the average CPC for widget. Once we have that the rest is simple. All need to do is multiply the amount of organic traffic going to the target page by the average CPC for the keyword that page is optimize for. The formula per page is CPC x Organic Traffic. As you can see on the graph below, we can now show the client how much they would have had to spend in paid search to get the same traffic for “widget” as we did with SEO.
When we combine all of the pages and keywords we optimized the results get much more impressive:
Looking at the chart above you can see our SEO efforts resulted in almost $650,000 worth of traffic in a year. That’s an average of over $53,000/month. Now when you factor in the fee you are charging the client you can simply tell them, you spent X (Fee) and got Y ($650,000 worth of traffic), just like in the paid channels.
Although this method is not an exact science, due to the fact that multiple keywords will be driving traffic to any page, it does break down SEO into its simplest form. Being able to speak to SEO performance the same way we do in paid search really resonates with the client. It also makes them more engaged, motivated to learn and it helps push through implementation of recommendations. Whether you’re an agency, an in-house marketing team or any other SEO practitioner this provides an easier way to explain things.