Investing in SEO is always a good idea – it’s a business decision that any online retailer can make with confidence that the potential to reap a high return exists and can be cultivated in time. You’ll often hear people claim that pay-per-click is a more sound investment since you know at any given time what you spent and what that investment made for you: a calculated return-on-ad-spend aka ROAS.
Today, we’re going to give some room for SEO to make its case and we’ll explore how you can calculate the current ROI of the multiple elements that are at play in your SEO program and how to take it to the next level. Your goal as a business owner should be to a. increase the profitability of your SEO investment through data-inspired iteration and then b. scale where you are the most profitable to build a stronger, larger “army” if you will, of profitable, visible keywords.
First, you’ll need to bring some perspective to your next step: it is guaranteed that there will be many keywords that you invest in on the SEO side that take longer to rank for than you hoped; and there will also be keywords that you currently rank well for, but don’t make you as much money as you thought.
When determining the ideal mix of keywords to target through SEO, you will have 4 essential options for any keyword: stay your ground, fund your momentum, increase profitability or scale your success.
Let’s determine how to get to those decisions:
- There are some cases in which no determination can be made as to whether or not your current SEO investment has made its value yet – those are keywords that you have invested in to increase rank, and though you are not yet on the 1st page, there is a clear positive trajectory with rankings and there’s no contraindication of success at this point. That’s a “stay your ground” type of keyword.
- Now – some investments hinge on sunk costs – a financial concept that really gets under a lot of people’s skin. You have invested x amount in the hope that you would rank on the 1st page for a keyword, but realize a few months into your program that the competition is targeting that keywords much more aggressively than was consensus at first and your ranking is not moving upward but is rather flat-lined; it will indeed require x+y in order to overcome the top rankers for a particular keyword. This is a very common junction in SEO and one that should be faced with swift recourse. Whether your investment was in terms of unique copy, deep optimization or popularity, the good news is that your past investment is still in play – you just need to further fund your momentum. Both “stay your ground” and “fund your momentum” investments fall under the umbrella of keywords that do not currently rank on the 1st page of Google (or Bing or Yahoo!)
- If you have achieved ranking on the 1st page of Google, then with the correct analytics tracking, you should be able to determine the revenue generated by that concept – for example, if you target the term “beanie hats”, then you should aggregate the total revenue generated by any term that includes “beanie hats” within it and be able to determine the overall revenue generated therein. If your ranking has not reaped a high enough reward to justify your SEO investment, it’s time to switch gears and capitalize on your investment through conversion improvements – whether that be creating a customized experience from a template landing page or engaging in complete multivariate testing to systematically determine how you can engage your disenfranchised visitors. This will help you improve the profitability of a great SEO success.
- In other cases, you’ll find keywords that you rank on the first page for and they are also making you a lot of money – congrats! This is the type of scenario that you want to re-create over and over again. Use the success of this keyword family to generate hypotheses of why this is working so well on your site and explore new opportunities from there. Scale your success.
- Finally, when you have started preparing the ROI of your SEO efforts and the next steps to either get the visibility you need or capitalize on it – you’ll also be wondering whether there are opportunities to target new keywords that are not currently on your list of SEO targets. The best place to start – PPC data. More than any other keyword data available to you, this data will give you almost apples-to-apples data into the potential of keywords if you choose to target them with SEO. If you can find outliers that have a phenomenal return on visits from PPC, they may be ripe with opportunity for SEO so that you may scale your success once again. The keywords you choose will then enter at the beginning of your analysis: keywords that are not yet ranking on the 1st page. And the cycle continues.
I hope this video has been helpful!
Best of luck with your analysis – at Exclusive Concepts we perform analyses like this on a daily basis and can help grow your revenue from SEO in the most efficient of ways. We would look forward to the opportunity to discuss.