How to measure SEO ROI?

SEO is a major investment of time and money. As a savvy business owner, you must know at the end of the day that you’ll get the right return on that investment so you can grow your business efficiently. To do that, you need the data and the facts. But, in the past, you may have found the return on investment in SEO abstract at best when trying to measure SEO ROI.

The good news is that, yes, SEO ROI is very measurable and quantifiable when you understand the many ways that SEO impacts your overall marketing, sales, and website efforts. Here are the clear, indisputable and fully measurable ways to calculate your SEO ROI.

1. Make Sure You’re Tracking Website Data

You’ll find many tools on the market to help you track SEO ROI, but one of the most important tools is free to use. That’s Google Analytics (GA). While more advanced tools will help you dive deeper into the fruits of your labours, GA is an excellent start.

Note that if you haven’t previously signed up, it may be a few weeks before you have useable data. Once set up, see exactly how much traffic arrives through search engines, social media or direct. 

Pro Tip: Additionally, sign up for Google Search Console, which will provide you with additional insights into how your SEO efforts are impacting your visibility and tools you can use to improve your visibility in search.

Now, you’re ready to start taking benchmarks and measuring results.

2. Quantify Your Increase in Website Traffic

Compared to social media, Search engines send 10X Internet traffic to websites. 93% of all website traffic starts in a search engine. That includes people taking the roundabout through social media or another site before reaching your website, but still demonstrates the importance of search engines.

When you think of SEO, your first thought may be the increase in traffic arriving through search engines. After all, more traffic to your website should lead to a higher number of sales, increased revenues and reduced marketing costs elsewhere as more people find your site organically.

To determine how much traffic is coming into your website, visit the GA dashboard.

But traffic alone isn’t the best way to measure SEO ROI because traffic doesn’t automatically translate into sales. That’s why when you’re considering how to measure SEO ROI, you also consider traffic quality. Are you attracting likely customers?

3. Know that You’re Attracting the Right Audience

72% of marketing professionals say that relevance to your target audience is vital to successful SEO.

You understand the importance of attracting your target customer to your website. It doesn’t matter how much traffic you have if no one is converting.

You attract the right audience with SEO through:

  • Researching what your target looks for in search engines
  • Building content and features around what they’re looking for 
  • Analysing data to ensure that you’re indeed attracting the right people
  • Optimising your efforts

How Are Visitors Interacting With Your Website?

There are several ways to see if you’re attracting the right audience. Some are early indicators that help you know you’re on the right track. These include things like:

  • How many visitors leave without clicking on anything (bounce rate)
  • How long they stay (time on page, average session duration)
  •  How many pages they visit (number of pages visited)
  • Whether they take a desired action like signing up for an email
  • Number of repeat visitors (New vs Existing)

You can see all of these things in Google Analytics. Additionally, you can view basic demographic information like location, gender, age, device that may be useful in understanding the audience you’re attracting.

But the ultimate test of whether you’re attracting the right audience comes in an increased conversion rate, which may be a delayed indicator of SEO success.

4. Visualise Your Increased Conversion Rate

While SEO strategies rarely stand-alone, just search engine optimising your website can increase conversions by nearly 15%. In conjunction with a more comprehensive digital marketing strategy, that number can rise significantly.

Why do companies who invest in SEO have higher conversion rates? It’s because searchers are of high intention. They’re looking for something specific and may be ready to buy now when presented with the right product or service. 

Measure your conversions by setting up funnels in Google Analytics. Set up funnels that lead to a “thank you” page, payment confirmation page, email signup page, etc. View your funnels regularly to see what percentage of people who enter the funnel get to the end of it.  This is called a “goal completion”.

Optimise those funnels to experience and clearly visualize increased revenues and overall SEO ROI.

5. See Improved Ad Performance /Reduced Ad Costs

The benefits of SEO extend beyond traffic that arrives through search engines. All traffic is impacted. When you employ smart SEO strategies, you design a faster, more user-friendly and easier to navigate website. People appreciate that regardless of where they’ve come from.

For example, those who arrive through a social media post or email link are more likely to engage with your site and convert. That increases the effectiveness of your social media and email marketing efforts. You can think of this as indirect SEO ROI.

But nowhere can SEO be more financially visible and impactful outside of the organic search results than when you consider how it impacts ad campaigns. In this scenario, you’re paying for every single click.

If a person clicks an ad only to reach a website that is slow and hard to navigate, then you wasted what you paid for that click. Now multiply that by hundreds of thousands of people who click and then leave because of your website.

Not only does SEO help you make the most of each and every click by delivering the best customer-user experience; over time major ad services will reduce what you pay per click based on the fact that you’ll have a higher Quality Score (AdWords) or Relevancy Score (Facebook/Instagram).  On average, you’ll save as much as 16-80% per conversion.

While there are other factors to consider like ad relevance, keyword/targeting strategy and landing page alignment that impact these scores, how a person interacts with your website once they arrive is a clear indicator to these ad platforms of the quality of your campaign.

6. Less Customer Churn

44% of website traffic now comes in through Google. We’ve already established that when people use a search engine, they’re of high intention. They may be ready to buy now. 

This means that if a previous customer uses Google to find a product/service you offer but sees a competitor instead of your website, they may choose to go elsewhere.

SEO improves visibility in search results for more queries that your customer is likely to enter into a search box. This creates more opportunities for you to engage your existing customer, speed up the sales cycle and increase their customer lifetime value.

How to Measure SEO ROI?

Start by making sure that you’ve set up some kind of analytics software to track website engagement. Pay attention to the quality of the traffic you’ve attracted. Measure your conversions, and track conversions directly attributable to SEO by creating funnels.  Know that SEO ROI can additionally be seen ad campaign performance as well as social media and email.

All in all, SEO makes every aspect of digital marketing work together more effectively by optimising the way that your target customer experiences your website.


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