How to Measure the ROI of your SEO Campaigns

February 7, 2012 - by admin · Filed Under SEO Leave a Comment 
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    For many affiliates, SEO is going to be the highest variable cost in their monthly budget.  By variable cost, I’m referring to an ongoing cost as opposed to a fixed cost such as hiring a theme designer or coder.

    There’s obviously going to be a few ways to measure the ROI of your SEO, and it largely depends on what exactly your goals and objectives are.  For example, are you merely trying to rank for competitive keywords, are you trying to improve conversions quickly, or are you trying to increase long tail traffic across the board?

    Best Ways for Measuring the ROI of your SEO Campaigns

    The easiest and most effective method that I use when measuring the success of my SEO campaigns is by studying my analytics data (I use GetClicky.com) and then seeing the increase in organic traffic from the search engines.

    If you have a fairly large brand site then I would simply remove the “brand query type-ins” from this figure to give you a true estimate of organic traffic increase from search engines.

    Rather then looking at general traffic increases, which can be susceptible to seasonal search volume (for example retailers will receive far more traffic during the holiday periods from people searching for gifts), you could also check your keyword rankings for individual or long tail keywords.  A great way of doing this quickly is by using a free rank checker tool such as SEMRush.

    The SEMRush Trends feature allows you to see any increases or decreases in your search engine rankings on a graph, via monthly data point (as you can see below).  You can then see if your site has improved or gained in positions for a variety of keywords.

    Organic SEO Traffic and Keyword Rankings for PokerListings.com

    Tip: If you want to track multiple SEO campaigns for your sites, including individual keyword rankings and those of your competitors, then I recommend signing to a professional SEO tool like SEOMoz Pro (free 30 day trial if you use this link), which normally requires a monthly subscription fee of $100.

    Measuring Conversions, Leads and Revenue Generated from SEO Campaigns

    Obviously if you’re an affiliate or ecommerce site selling goods on your site then you’d aim to see an increase in sales or leads from an increase in organic traffic.

    I guess one would “expect” a correlation between an increase in search traffic and conversions; if your traffic increased by 25% in one month then you’d want to see an increase in conversions of 25%.  You could then calculate your ROI by measuring: (Increase in Sales – SEO budget)/SEO budget*100.

    That’s all good, but it still depends on which keywords your optimizing you’re SEO campaigns for and what you’re trying to do with the traffic.  You also have to allow for monthly variance (e.g. 25%), so it’s a little unreliant to based your SEO success purely on conversions.  I’ve seen the inner workings of major SEO companies in the UK, who’ve been working on SEO campaigns for giant bookmakers like Betfair, and I can assure you that conversions aren’t always the top of their list of priorities.  They basically just use tools like SEO Raven and other keyword ranking software to measure their success.

    Short Term vs. Long Term SEO Campaigns

    One final thing I will say about measuring SEO campaigns is that you need to be careful when comparing short-term goals and long term goals.  For example, if you gave me $xxx and challenged me to rank for a certain keyword within a few weeks then I’d probably use some blackhat SEO methods that involved web 2.0 and link wheel marketing.  Blackhat methods can be very cost-effective and generate immediate results.

    On the other hand, if I was going for long term, sustainable SEO campaigns, that has a lower attrition rate in future Google updates, then I would scale it slowly with higher quality links, varied anchor text and guest posts.  Given my recent experiences, I might also be tempted to wait an extra 6-9 months before engaging in serious SEO on new sites.

    Edit: I forgot to add, split-testing different sections of your site to see which SEO methods are most effective is also a really good idea.

     

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