Tag Archives: ROI

Search Optimization – How to measure ROI

Often companies try to measure ROI for SEO for good reason. Because it’s often stated that the ROI on SEO is potentially higher than any forms of marketing online and offline.

But proving it is sometimes difficult without proper tracking. For PPC / SEM it’s easier (not easy, just easier), just measure what you spent vs what you get back. However for SEO it’s not exactly that simple. Things like “branded keywords” might be partially attributed to the overall marketing effort (some argue however that “branded keywords” are also due to the hard work of the SEO effort.

I’ll outline in short form what is the best way to reasonably keep track of SEO and the ROI associated with it.

Consider the nature of SEO. If someone clicks on your Google listing, it does not raise the price of your marketing effort one penny unlike PPC that you get billed per click. This is why SEO has often been labeled the most efficient marketing method possible. There is no direct additional costs for each additional visitor (bandwidth and servers not factored in, since that would be a factor in any marketing method). This means that any additional content that you post, ranks well and attracts potential customers is effectively free after the initial effort of making that content. So measure the “cost” of making that content, and measure how many conversions it creates over a period of time. This period of time should be measured in months or more. It is common for us to get clients from a post that we made 4 years ago. So these content pages though might degrade over time, by no means go away. Then you can measure how many people visited your site from that specific content page, and then came back to your site over the course of the next X months and converted.

Another line of thought is how much did that SEO effort cost you? Well that post did cost you something, you had to have someone (or yourself) sit down and write up that content, or photo, or video. Time is money. But that hour or two of effort can pay off the next day, the next month or even the next year. In essance you have to measure how much effort in a dollar figure that content cost you vs what it returned over the course of a year. Many clients see an ROI on some content they created to be something on the order of over $4,000 dollars returned for every $1 spent on SEO. We had a client that created a content page regarding the launch of a new mobile product. The article simply had the specifications of the device listed, battery life, and a few other items. This content was already published but not together or in a logical format. We advised them to create that page. Their conversion rate was literally over $4,000 return for every $1 dollar invested creating that page when measured over the course of the year. Creating that content page took several people about 6 hours (photos, people to take images, and a short video). They made a fortune from it. What happened was simple, the page ranked well. Was picked up by the technology section of Reddit and became a ROI machine. The point of this is that you can’t measure the success of content in days, it is something measured in months or longer.

The content rule, takes a short time to create content yet pays off continuously over an internet lifetime.

Advertising in a Recession means Digital, SEO, and SMO

During a recession, the first thing to go is advertising. It has been like that since the beginning the industrial age, it will continue to be like that in the future. This is not debatable. Though if you dig hard enough you might find one firm (notably P&G) that increases spending during recessions and even during the great depression.

That doesn’t exactly mean that advertising totally halts, it means that massive ad budgets are slimmed down to a fraction of what they were before.

In the last major recession ad budgets took the normal historical hit, but something has changed since the last major recession. It’s now very possible (and in most cases desirable) to run a robust advertising campaign completely online using SEO, SMO and viral campaigns.

Many advertisers are very pleased to see the lower cost of entry, and generally the much higher ROI.

In plain English, you can do more online with a fraction of the cost.

Let’s face it, print media is a dying industry… with every major newspaper showing declines in circulation and even back in 2005 the papers were resorting to shrinking the size of the paper. Americans overall are driving less due to increased gas prices. So your billboards are not getting the ROI you’re paying for, less people are reading the paper… and everyone is online at the expense of TV … literally and of course… the Yellow Pages are being used as door stops… it’s almost not worth mentioning them anymore as a valid marketing strategy.

People are not getting print media, not getting in their cars to see billboards, and not watching TV.. because they are all online searching, playing games, looking up economic reports, basically “hiding online” until the recession is over.

It almost sounds like a storm… and it is of sorts.. when gas exceeded 4 dollars a gallon, people refused to go out.

The last thing however they will cut out is internet access… they depend on it too much as a communication tool… Meaning that the lowest cost advertising method is also the one to help generate a positive ROI.

Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Optimization and digital overall will be the winners in this recession at the expense of TV, Print and Billboards.

It’s quite possible this recession will speed up the changeover to SEO / SMO and Digital faster than expected… as many larger firms are opting to an online only campaign during the recession… for good reason.. it’s the corporate version of what their clients are doing… “hiding online” during a recession.

What a better place to market to them. It’s the only place you will find them at this time.