Analyzing Your SEO Campaign: Determining Its Value

Monday, April 11th, 2016
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Businesses live and die by their ability to turn a profit. That is why, as a business owner, you need to keep careful track of the profitability of every marketing effort you make. Tracking conversions and sales, calculating ROI, and adjusting your efforts to maximize profit and minimize costs is essential if you are to enjoy a thriving business.

When it comes to analyzing your search engine optimization campaign, however, it may feel daunting to apply these same metrics to your efforts. Search engine optimization is a wide-ranging field that impacts almost every aspect of your website and content marketing efforts. For instance, it may be difficult to determine exactly how many conversions came about because you used a responsive web design, or because you started a blog.

Thankfully, it is possible to get a handle on the overall value of your search engine optimization campaign, despite this challenge. Rather than rejecting analysis of your campaign’s profitability altogether, or trying to determine its value based on ROI alone, there is a middle ground you can embrace. By examining factors other than ROI, while also tracking your campaign’s profitability, you can get a clearer idea of how much your business is benefiting from your SEO efforts. Following is an overview of the ways in which your search engine optimization efforts might be contributing to your business’ success, and some suggestions for more accurately determining your campaign’s value.

Remember that SEO is a long-term investment.

One of the first steps to take when analyzing the value of your search engine optimization campaign is to remember that SEO is a long-term investment. This mindset will keep you from giving too much weight to brief setbacks or rankings drops over the course of your campaign.

SEO is a long-term investment because it takes time to implement. Search engine optimization is used by search engines to identify the most useful material for the search engine user. As such, it requires you to build a strong reputation as a knowledgeable presence in your field and to be able to present yourself as such online. This process takes more time than simply buying and placing an ad. In fact, demonstrating signs of success too early (i.e. by rapidly gaining external links) can hinder your SEO success.

In addition, search engine optimization is prone to frequent fluctuations in traffic flow, rankings, and so forth. One day, you may hold one place in the search results, and the next day hold another. If you insist on instant results from your campaign, you may be frustrated by these temporary adjustments in your metrics. However, over time, carefully executed search engine optimization almost always yields measurable and profitable results for websites. You simply need to take temporary setbacks in stride and be patient enough to wait for the long-term benefits to kick in.

Embracing this mindset can be difficult in an instant gratification world where many marketing efforts promise results almost immediately. Waiting for the slower pace of search engine optimization to yield measurable benefits may feel like an unprofitable move when faced with the opportunity to embrace these more fast-paced marketing techniques.

However, while you may need to invest more time into search engine optimization before enjoying the results you want, your investment will be worth it. If you can weather periods of less profitability during your campaign, and work with your SEO service to adjust your strategies when needed, you will enjoy success over the long-term. Over time, you will almost always see a gradual increase in your traffic volume, prospect value, conversion rates, and profitability. You simply need to be patient.

Take non-ROI indicators of success into account.

While ROI is an important metric when calculating the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, it does not tell the whole story regarding your SEO campaign’s success. Instead, there are a number of other metrics that can also give you information about how well your campaign is doing.

If you are going to successfully track your SEO campaign’s effectiveness, you need to watch these metrics instead of relying solely on your ROI. They can give you an idea of how successful your campaign is before you calculate your ROI. In addition, they allow you to pinpoint areas of your campaign that may need improvement. If you relied solely on ROI, you might miss these trouble spots entirely, or remain unaware of them until the end of the campaign, when it is too late to tweak your strategy and improve your ROI.

Rankings

Your rankings tell you how valuable the search engine crawlers find your web pages to be. They also provide a valuable source of traffic flow (which you can then convert into paying customers once they land on your site). As a result, while running your search engine optimization campaign, you need to make sure that your rankings are improving over time. While your rankings are likely to temporarily fluctuate up and down, you should look for a trend of improvement over the course of the campaign.

Volume of Incoming Traffic

In addition, a successful SEO campaign should bring in a greater volume of traffic to your site. This traffic should come primarily from organic searches (searches that come from search results instead of paid advertisements). As with your rankings, your traffic volume may fluctuate briefly from time to time. However, as with your rankings, you should enjoy an increase in organic traffic over time.

Quality of Incoming Traffic

In addition to increased traffic, you should look for improved quality of traffic to your site. The quality of traffic is determined by a number of factors. These include the amount of time visitors spend on your pages, the number of pages they visit, the bounce rate your web pages experience, and so forth. When visitors are spending more time on more of your pages, and when your bounce rate is lower, you can feel confident that your SEO campaign is attracting visitors who want the products and services you offer. As a result, they are more likely to purchase from you, leading to greater profits and an improved ROI.

Conversion Rates

Finally, the conversion rates your website experiences can also serve as a metric of the success of your search engine optimization campaign. The conversion rate refers to the number and percentage of visitors who engage in certain actions after visiting your site. These actions can be determined by you and your SEO service, but can include purchases, filling out forms, signing up for email lists, and so forth. These rates are important, because they highlight the number of sales and the number of leads your campaign is generating, giving you a clearer idea of exactly how profitable your SEO efforts are.

Before you ever begin to calculate your ROI, these metrics can give you an idea of how successful your search engine optimization campaign is. In general, the SEO services you hire should be able to help you set reasonable goals in each of these areas. If you then find that you are falling short of any of these goals, you have the opportunity to work with your SEO service to tweak your strategy. Not only will you have a better idea of the success of your campaign, but you will also enjoy a more profitable campaign.

Understand how SEO contributes to profit.

While the number of sales you enjoy is the most obvious metric for determining your campaign’s value, it is not the only one. Instead, search engine optimization boosts the profitability of your website in a variety of ways. It is only by taking all of these into consideration that you can get an accurate picture of SEO’s value to your business. Following are a few of these ways.

SEO increases brand awareness.

Brand awareness leads to more conversions and sales by getting your business in front of potential customers. When they know about (and like) your brand, they are more likely to turn to you when they need the products and services you offer.

Search engine optimization increases brand awareness by putting your website where it will be noticed by more people (i.e. higher up in the search results). In addition, by creating great content for your website, it also provides valuable information for visitors. This content (such as blog posts) can also be shared through social media in order to create even more buzz around your business. All of these efforts mean that more people hear about your business (and hear about it in a positive light).

SEO establishes your business as a thought leader.

In addition, by emphasizing the creation of excellent content, search engine optimization allows you to establish your business as a thought leader in your field. This means that material such as blog posts, social media posts, and so forth allow you to demonstrate your expertise in your field. The result is that people who access this material come away with a positive impression of your business.

When people view you as a leader in your field, they are more likely to choose you when they need the products and services you offer, because they want to take advantage of the services of a knowledgeable company. When your visitors come away impressed by your business, they are more likely to share your content and talk about your business with others. The result is more conversions, more sales, and a reputation that has the potential to generate profit for your business over the long term.

SEO increases valuable traffic to your website.

As mentioned above, one of the metrics of a successful SEO campaign is an increase in both the volume and the quality of traffic to your website. More people visiting your site should translate into more people converting to paying customers once they are on your site. As a result, increasing the amount of traffic to your site can help to boost your business’ profitability.

Of course, getting more people to your site works best if (1 those people are interested in what you have to offer and (2 your website is designed to maximize conversions once people land on it. Search engine optimization assists you here as well. For instance, when selecting the keywords to use throughout your campaign, your SEO service will select those that are most relevant to your business. This means that your SEO efforts will target people who are looking for the products and services you offer. As a result, your efforts should result in website visitors who are inclined to respond to your marketing efforts.

Second, SEO strategies can be integrated into the very fabric of your web design. Through techniques such as mobile friendliness, relevant content, simple navigation, and thoughtfully crafted landing pages, search engine optimization can create a website that maximizes your chances of impressing and engaging your website visitors. The result should not only be more website visitors, but also more conversions and sales. The result: Greater profitability that makes your investment in your search engine optimization campaign more than worth it.

Calculate your campaign’s ROI.

Return on investment, called ROI, tells you exactly how much money you are making off of your marketing dollars. It is an expression of how much money you have made over and above the money you invested in a particular strategy. Because of its usefulness in describing the profitability of your marketing efforts, it is a valuable tool for evaluating your search engine optimization campaign.

While some SEO experts argue that because search engine optimization contributes value in ways that are difficult to measure, it is unnecessary or impossible to accurately calculate ROI. However, in the end, the SEO campaign must prove its financial worth for your business if it is to remain a part of your marketing efforts. As a result, calculating your ROI should be a part of your evaluation of your search engine optimization campaign’s success.

The process of evaluating your campaign’s ROI is relatively simple. At its most basic, it requires you to subtract the cost of your campaign from the revenue you earned from your campaign and then to divide that number by the cost of your campaign. Alternatively, you can calculate ROI per lead. In this case, you simply estimate the amount of money you make from each lead, subtract the cost of each lead, and divide that number by the cost of the lead. However, in order to successfully complete these calculations, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Track your statistics.

Calculating your campaign’s ROI requires you to carefully track your statistics over the course of the campaign using tools such as Google Analytics. These tracking tools will help you to gather the information you need (such as traffic numbers, sources of the traffic, conversions, and so forth) that you can use to more accurately calculate your ROI. Your SEO service should be able to help you identify and set up the tracking tools that will be most helpful in your campaign.

Separate SEO traffic from other traffic.

In addition, calculating your ROI requires you to segment your website traffic. For instance, you need to be able to identify which visitors came to your site through organic searches from those that came through other means (such as paid advertisements). By doing so, you can more accurately pinpoint the traffic (and conversions) that came about because of your SEO campaign.

Assign a value to each conversion.

Determining your ROI also requires you to assign a value to each conversion you experience on your website. For instance, if you find that each new customer or each sign up on an email list is worth about $100, you can assign that value to each conversion. This allows you to get a rough estimate of the revenue you made from your SEO campaign. From there, you can simply subtract the cost of your campaign (or lead), and determine your overall return on investment.

The value of a search engine optimization campaign tends to be long-term and multi-faceted. This is why it is important that you take as many factors as possible into consideration when trying to determine the effect SEO has on your business’ profitability. By remembering that SEO is a long-term investment, taking non-ROI indicators of success into account, understanding how SEO contributes to profit, and calculating your campaign’s ROI, you can more easily and accurately get a clear idea of how valuable your SEO campaign is to your business. By doing this, you should cultivate a greater appreciation for and commitment to your search engine optimization efforts.

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