Despite all the benefits of using search engine optimization in marketing campaigns, SEO strategies still tend to suffer from several misunderstandings. As such, it’s no wonder that business owners often feel confused when it comes to measuring SEO success. But make no mistake: You can easily learn how to measure the ROI of SEO. First, though, you need to be able to separate SEO myth from fact.
One of the most rampant SEO misconceptions is that the only way to win at it — and thereby see any type of ROI — is to engage in methods commonly referred to as “black hat” SEO tactics. These are strategies doomed to backfire, including keyword stuffing, hidden text, and, one of the favorites, entering into back-linking schemes.
Google might be fooled temporarily by black hat SEO tricks, but the effect will be impermanent and ultimately detrimental. Here at Ezzey, we’ve seen the negative side effects of black hat SEO practices firsthand, as they’ve killed merger and acquisition deals and racked up numerous Google penalties. Black hat SEO might not be illegal, but it’s akin to cheating on a test: If you get caught, you’re going to get kicked out.
Why, then, do savvy businesses fall for the idea that they have to buy links or engage in shady linking? In many cases, people have simply been told that they’ll never succeed otherwise. Fortunately, the opposite is true. Links are essential to success because 90% of your SEO authority comes from links. However, Google sees right through bad links that you didn’t earn.
How bad can the situation get? One Ezzey client came to us originally because their SEO strategy seemed to be going well. One day, everything changed because the client didn’t realize their SEO partner had set up bad links. The story has a happy ending, though. Our team took over and brought the client an 8X ROI using only “white hat” techniques that brought up that client’s SEO authority authentically and with safe practices. It wasn’t a quick fix, but it was the fix the client needed — and it was 100% legitimate in Google’s eyes.
Putting Together a Trustworthy SEO ROI Measuring Stick
As long as you keep SEO at the forefront of your marketing strategy, you can use several types of SEO strategies to start to gain momentum. After some time, you will be able to measure your SEO content strategy ROI. Then, you can rely on the following rules of the road to help you gauge whether your SEO strategy is paying for itself.
- Look beyond ranking changes.
Lots of agencies try to justify their existence by how many positions a client’s webpage has moved in Google. Don’t be mistaken: This is a good leading indicator. The problem is that the real ROI goes deeper than whether you’re in spot three or spot nine. It is not too difficult to make the jump from another results page to page one. Pushing page two keywords to page one is a quick-win SEO content strategy that works well.
How do you measure ROI beyond ranking? You have to figure out whether your SEO strategy is bringing in leads. For instance, how many people are you adding to your top, middle, and bottom sales funnel each quarter from your SEO campaign? Those numbers are far more essential to your bottom line and are good indicators of your future marketing success.
- Look at your content pieces’ long-term annual realized gains.
It takes quite a bit of time, energy, and money to create and publish a valuable piece of content. Too often, business owners forget that great content is like great wine: Its value can appreciate month after month, effectively increasing the ROI of the SEO strategy that made it possible.
When we look at the ROI of a content piece at Ezzey, we consider the SEO necessary to optimize and promote it. We also consider revenue beyond last-click attribution. A valuable SEO piece that has received constant reinvesting can produce 100X ROI in the long haul. Even if you’re in a competitive industry or small and specific niche, you can leverage SEO best practices to raise the authority of your content and, by proxy, your site authority.
- Set up specific KPIs for every month of your SEO campaign.
Measuring marketing ROI that’s coming from SEO requires you to look at different metrics for each month of your campaign. The reason is simple: Every month, you’ll be trying to do something a little different with your SEO techniques. Therefore, your measuring sticks need to adjust to the outcome you’re trying to achieve. With monthly check-ins, your SEO journey turns into one giant feedback loop that keeps you informed along the way.
At Ezzey, we focus on reaching critical revenue mass between months six and nine. With that in mind, our early KPIs aren’t necessarily all about revenue. Instead, they point to whether we’re progressing. For instance, in month one, we gauge baseline rankings. In month two, we check out the pages indexed in the Google Search Console. By month three, we’re knee-deep in Google crawl frequencies and link scores. The list goes on and on until month nine, when we start tracking traffic, conversions, and revenue. It’s all systematically laid out and predictable.
It’s not possible to know how to improve ROI in your SEO strategy without beginning to look at SEO in a new light. When you see how SEO truly works, you’ll be able to more effectively leverage it to hit your business goals. If you’re ready to begin your SEO journey with experienced industry leaders, contact Ezzey to get your free consultation here.