It used to be much harder to track certain aspects of SEO ROI. But, with advances in online tracking, that gap has been bridged for the most part. Some aspects of SEO are still somewhat difficult to give direct attribution to and therefore calculate ROI. However, nowadays you can track everything from how users engage with your website to how effectively a page converts users into leads to the impact of offsite SEO.
While we don’t know exactly what Google’s algorithm is looking for when it crawls a site, we do know that Google looks at a website as best as it can through the eyes of a user. If your site has the necessary elements a user is looking for and it’s easy to use, then your SEO is likely on point.
The main thing you need to calculate true ROI is the actual monetary values of the service, product or experience you’re trying to sell or promote. As a digital marketing agency, one of our biggest hurdles to calculating true ROI is the feedback and information from clients regarding profit margins for procedures and practice areas. Without this information, we can’t truly develop a profitable strategy.
Now we’re going to take a look at some of the metrics that can and should be tracked to identify value – whether it’s monetary or behavioral traffic.
The number one thing clients and marketers want to track is conversions. I’d like to define two different kinds of conversions. Most agencies – including ourselves – are tracking leads as conversions. Leads are defined as users that either fill out a form on the website, a call that comes through the website as well as online chat and text messages.
Once the practice receives these leads, the in-house team is responsible for converting the lead to a consultation. The consultation is the second lead type and the more valuable one. You can assign a dollar value to what those consultations usually turn into. If it’s a breast augmentation consultation, it may be worth $5,000. If it’s a personal injury accident it may be worth $50,000. This can give you an idea of the value of leads coming in from the website and other marketing channels.
If you’re using call tracking (which you should be), you can track phone leads from sources like organic, direct and referral traffic and see which traffic source is the strongest and which may need more marketing dollars to make it more effective. This would then allow you to see data like: Direct Channel leads are driving X dollars on average in a certain time period.
One of the top signals Google looks at for search rankings is behavioral signals from users on websites, otherwise known as on-site signals. Google isn’t going to rank a website on the first page if the website doesn’t engage users. So, ROI isn’t just about monetary value; it’s also about improving other aspects of your site. For example: The content ultimately has an influence on both conversions and ranking positions.
At Page 1 Solutions we do content audits for websites we inherit from other agencies and even for our own websites that haven’t had an audit in many years. This process allows us to see the big picture of everything on the site: what may be duplicated, what isn’t necessary anymore and what can be consolidated into long-form pages. Once inventory of all the content on the website has been completed, our marketing team members develop a content plan to address any issues we find. Client feedback is often very valuable on where to focus first and what information needs updating.
Once the changes have been made, our team adds an annotation within Google Analytics to denote when the page was updated. This enables us to compare the time before and after the update to see how the content changes resulted in better behavioral data. We report these changes to our clients as well, so they can see the benefit of their marketing investment.
A way you can translate this to dollars is to see how much your investment in the content audit and content changes cost. Then track the behavioral data to see if users to the page increased and if conversions from that page increased as well. Then you can use the assigned value for that type of lead and see if you’re experiencing an increase in value from that page.
For example, if our team rewrites a liposuction page and you saw an increase in leads of 30%, you can calculate how much that 30% increase is worth. The revenue likely paid for the content changes while still giving you a nice profit margin.
The above examples aren’t the only ways to track ROI, but they are the most asked about from our clients. I want to stress that true ROI can only be calculated with the information that practice owners have in regards to profit margins, overhead, etc.
So, if you’re working with Page 1 or any marketing agency, don’t hold back when your Internet Marketing Consultant starts asking you those questions. It’s only for the benefit of your business and to make sure the correct strategies are in place.