Organic search plays an important role in website traffic; according to BrightEdge research, organic search has an average traffic share of 53% across industries.
Despite this, many marketers hesitate to incorporate SEO into their digital marketing plan because they don’t know how to measure their return on investment.
Unlike channels like digital advertising, SEO requires a bit more effort to calculate ROI — but companies that use it can see a significant impact on their keyword rankings and website traffic.
In this blog post, we break down the different ways you can calculate the ROI of SEO and determine whether SEO is worth it for your business.
FREE SEO ROI CALCULATOR
- Calculating ROI based on organic traffic level
- Calculating value of organic traffic based on CPC data
What is SEO?
As you know, search engine optimization, or SEO, involves the strategic use of a variety of specialized tactics, including keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and both technical and content optimization, to drive qualified traffic to a website by improving its organic positioning in search results.
SEO is used to achieve better keyword rankings in the search results, which drives more qualified traffic and leads.
What is the average cost of SEO?
The average cost of SEO can range anywhere from $500 to $10,000 a month, depending on the person or company you are hiring to do the work, their level of expertise, the size of your website, and the services you need. Additionally, companies in more competitive industries may find that they need to invest in a larger SEO package or more retainer hours to stand out in the market. In this case, especially when starting with lower rankings, it may take longer to see results. You may need to invest time and resources into link building to rank for competitive terms and/or target long-tail keywords at first to build up relevance and authority.
How to calculate ROI for SEO
You can calculate ROI for SEO with one of two methods:
- Calculating organic traffic level based on search volume of keywords and relative positioning, and multiplying by lead value; or
- Calculating value of organic traffic based on the cost per click (CPC) of keywords
At Pure Visibility, our SEO packages range from $3,000-$5,000+. Each six-month package includes a dedicated project manager, a comprehensive Visibility Audit, monthly SEO tasks based on audit findings and monthly meetings to review progress. We prioritize our recommendations to make the most impact and ensure your resources are not wasted with trial and error.
Keep in mind that your mileage may vary with these methods. There are many variables that come into play when calculating value.
The main factor to consider is the different types of SERP results that appear for your keywords. If there are a lot of SERP features like Maps, People Also Ask, and Featured Snippets, you’ll get less click-throughs in aggregate, and therefore less ROI. We have accounted for this in the spreadsheet calculator tool we created.
Calculating ROI based on organic traffic level
To calculate the ROI of SEO based on organic traffic level, you’ll need to use a SEO tool like Ahrefs or Semrush to see the average monthly search volume estimates for your target keywords.
Keep in mind that the higher you rank, the more clicks and organic traffic you will get to your website; according to Advanced Web Ranking, almost all of the traffic that comes to a website through Google is from the first page of search results. Of that traffic, about 39% goes to the first organic link.
Take your organic traffic (ex. 1,000 visits) and multiply by your page’s average conversion rate (i.e. 3%) to get your number of leads/inquiries/sales (i.e. 30). You will then want to multiply by the value of a lead/sale (i.e. $100 product or long-term value of a customer as $10,000) to give you your ROI of ranking #1 for that particular keyword.
Calculating value of organic traffic based on CPC data
You can also calculate the ROI of SEO based on the CPC value of your organic traffic. A tool like Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner will give you an estimate of a keyword’s CPC. This is what it would cost to appear for that keyword if you were bidding on it when running digital ads.
Other considerations for SEO ROI
Keep in mind that these are not the only considerations when calculating the ROI of SEO. To get the most accurate ROI, you will also need to input any expenses related to SEO.
This may include:
SEO agency costs
Do you outsource your SEO work to a digital marketing agency? Be sure to include the cost of your SEO package or SEO retainer in your calculations.
The same is true if you have hired or plan to hire someone to work on your SEO in-house. An additional person’s salary and benefits will have a significant impact on your overall ROI!
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When doing SEO you will also need someone who can make changes to your website and build new pages as needed. If you need a web developer to make these changes, that cost should be noted.
Link building and outreach
Link building and outreach are valuable for SEO, but often an additional expense. Whether you’re working through your SEO agency or a more traditional PR firm, you’ll want to include the cost of these promotional efforts in your calculations.
Content writing and optimization
Like link building, SEO content writing is an important but often time-consuming part of the SEO process. To get the best ROI, you need to focus on identifying new high-value keywords and creating new content (or optimizing existing pages) to rank for those keywords.
At Pure Visibility, content writing is part of our standard SEO packages, but other agencies may charge separately for the service. Either way, you’ll want to make sure that you’re factoring in the cost of content creation.
How long does it take to see the ROI of SEO?
It typically takes a minimum of six months to see the ROI of SEO. However, it is not uncommon to see some level of improvement in as little as two weeks after implementing changes.
SEO is cumulative, so your optimizations will build on each other and make it easier to get results as time goes on.
Free ROI of SEO calculator
This Google Sheet will help you calculate the return on investment for your specific SEO efforts.
To use this SEO ROI calculator, you will need:
- average sale price / qualified lead value
- average conversion rate for the page you are targeting
- average click through rates of keywords
- average monthly search volume for keywords
- monthly cost for SEO services
Plugging in this information should give you an idea of what type of return you’re getting on your current SEO efforts.
FREE SEO ROI CALCULATOR
Not happy with your numbers and need help developing and executing your SEO strategy? Get in touch!