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How to Determine SEO ROI

December 8, 2021

SEO ROI Goes Well Beyond Pure Traffic Numbers

Search engine optimization encompasses a broad range of tactics to increase organic visitor traffic to your client’s website. By implementing a two-pronged strategy of great content and technical optimization, you can improve the quality of your website, which contributes to greater SEO ROI. 

How SEO ROI Differs from Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

No Ad Expenditure

Unlike digital advertising solutions like paid search and paid social, SEO does not require an active ad expenditure as part of the campaign. Instead of looking at ad spend versus results, determining SEO ROI involves considering a number of different factors that go beyond a money-in, money-out perspective. 

Greater Focus on Your Client’s Website 

Digital advertising campaigns are designed to point back to a specific landing page on your client’s website. Unlike this strategy, SEO focuses on the entire website from its technical health to its front-facing user value. 

Long-Form Content is King 

Advertising campaigns leverage brief, effective copy to quickly point target audiences to a landing page. SEO content strategies often involve pieces of content with word counts above 500 per deliverable. The more desirable the keywords you’re competing for, the longer the content will likely have to be. 

Intended for Steady Growth Over Time 

Advertising campaigns are often designed with specific time windows in mind. For example, a holiday shopping campaign usually starts in late October or early November and ends around December 26. 

Conversely, SEO strategies are intended to improve your client’s website over a longer period of time on an ongoing basis. These campaigns tend to start generating more noticeable improvements in organic traffic after the first 3-6 months, depending on the initial health of the website. 

What’s Hurting Your Client’s SEO ROI 

Search engine algorithms like Google crawl through your client’s website and analyze a variety of features to determine the value of the user experience you’re providing. If these bots detect certain technical red flags, they will penalize your client’s site with lower organic rankings. Some common pain points often found on websites include: 

Slow Load Times 

Search engines pride themselves on providing their uses with quick answers to their questions. When a website takes too long to load, this does not contribute to the quickness that a person, and therefore the search engine algorithm, expects. 

Thin Content 

The less content on a page, the less information your client is providing about a product, service, or topic related to their industry. If a competitor has longer content about their similar offerings, they will usually receive a higher search position than your client. 

When a search algorithm sees thin content on a page, it figures that it offers little to no helpful information. Depending on the amount of code on the page, algorithms can also flag it for not having a proportional amount of text. 

Toxic Backlinks 

Search engines account for the links that your client’s website accumulates. If there are too many coming from spammy websites, these are considered low-authority. When too many toxic sites are linking back to your client’s pages, this can generate a penalty in organic rankings and, by extension, harm visibility and traffic potential. 

Inefficient Website Design 

Website design plays an important role in a client’s SEO performance potential. For those that implement a highly visual aesthetic on their site, this can often result in a large amount of third-party code. This increases the network payload, slows load times, and can cause your content to appear thinner by default. 

When a search engine algorithm looks at your client’s website, it doesn’t view it as a human does. We see eye-catching images, sleek branding, and products or services that we might consider purchasing. Artificial intelligence views these as the code that is used to display them and factors this into ranking decisions. 

Missing Important Technical Elements

Pages that are missing technical elements like one H1 heading per page and meta descriptions are depriving themselves of organic performance opportunities. As with keywords, these elements help “clue in” an algorithm as to what your page is about.

Keyword Mistakes 

You cannot have a conversation about SEO without discussing keywords and keyword strategies. Keywords are the driving force behind any successful SEO service. 

While keywords tell search engines what your content is about, they can be misused. This will also contribute to less-than-desirable organic rankings. 

Some common ways that an improper keyword strategy can hurt your SEO ROI include: 

  • Keyword stuffing (overusing) 
  • Focusing on the same keyword across multiple pages 
  • Not using keyword at all 
  • Using keywords that don’t match target audience members’ search intent 

Lack of Directory Listings

Listing your client’s website across industry-relevant online directories helps build their presence across other authoritative websites. These play an instrumental role in driving higher amounts of organic referral traffic. 

For example, if your client is a local restaurant, they should be on Yelp. Similarly, a counseling practice should list its practitioners on Psychology Today. When an audience member is looking to move from consideration to decision, these listings can play a major role in influencing their actions. 

The 7 Pillars of SEO ROI 

An All-Encompassing Audit 

Every successful SEO campaign should start with an exhaustive audit of the client’s website and cover all aspects from content to granular technical and UX details. This provides the SEO analysts servicing their campaign with a holistic “lay of the land” to create a strategy that addresses specific pain points. 

Technical Health is SEO Wealth 

As an SEO campaign proceeds, analysts should perform optimizations on the client’s website to reduce the number of technical errors. Over time, this reduces major roadblocks toward achieving higher organic rankings. When your client asks how their SEO campaign is performing, you can look at the report and tell them that specific technical pain points have been addressed and eliminated. 

Building Better Backlinks 

Disavowing spammy backlinks and replacing them with new, high-authority ones will increase search algorithms’ perception of your client’s website. As you accumulate a better link portfolio, you can identify this as a key return on investment. 

Content Quality is King 

SEO content is the vehicle that drives multiple aspects of your SEO strategy. From integrating keywords to providing rich copy and lengthening text on a page, these tactics all help expand your client’s reach. Beyond this, also focusing on the quality and context of the content will further increase its relevance to your target user base and the search engines that are providing them with the information they’re seeking. 

The Right Keyword Opportunities

Matching relevant, high-volume keywords with the right search intent will better position the content on your website in front of those that are looking for it. Determining the best keywords for your client’s website, and then performing actions to optimize for them should start with the audit phase and continue steadily over time. 

Desirable Directory Listings 

As we mentioned above, a great portfolio of desired directory listings is a major funnel for referral traffic. When you optimize your client’s presence across the right directories, you can point to a likely increase in organic referral traffic as a significant return. 

Holistic, Transparent Reporting 

Transparent reports of your SEO campaign compile your efforts into a single resource to demonstrate ROI. These reports should be transparent, offer human insights to add context to the data and touch on specific actions that moved the needle forward for your client’s website performance. 

Drive Better SEO ROI With a White Label Partnership 

At Conduit, we partner with successful agencies to provide premium white label fulfillment solutions for their clients, including SEO. Our in-house team of certified expert analysts, 24/7 Live Reports, and competitive content strategies allow you to say “yes” to better opportunities for current and future clients. 

To start scaling your agency higher and generate a better SEO ROI for your clients, visit our Agency Partnership page to learn more. 

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