Why we should not measure the ROI in SEO?


“What is the ROI of my SEO campaign?” This is the crucial question that any owner of a business or marketing director would face while looking at the media plan.

As the subject here is investment in SEO, I would like to contribute with about 4,70,000 results that Google found for ‘how to measure roi in seo’ and say that, no matter what, SEO is not advertisement.

According to Google, one of the investment definition is: Application of resources, time, effort, etc. in order to get something.

Another definition is: Use of capital in a particular business or company in order to obtain profits.

I’d rather stay with the first definition, but much of the businesses are still hooked by common sense that if an investment does not offer a positive ROI or any other marketing channel offers a higher ROI than others, it should be abandoned. And then what happens? “It’s not easy to calculate the ROI on SEO campaigns, we will reduce the budget”. Or worse, if the agencies do not provide the ROI on their reports, the client itself will calculate and will probably do it wrong.

The return on investment is the most important metric in any campaign. Even more important than sales or conversions, but we are talking about SEO and again: SEO is not media advertisement.

SEO is like a stock market

This idea is not mine. I found in a very interesting article written by Sam McRoberts, which compares a SEO campaign to a stock market.

“You do your research to identify which are the most relevant words in terms of traffic and conversion, and it gives you a good sense of risk and return. The same thing happens in the stock market”.

That is, after searching, identify and select some actions (keywords), you make your application and analyze their behavior. You will notice a surge, periods of growth and decline (positioning), but the profit will only come in the long term, as well as a SEO campaign. There is a trick to enrich fast, not by illegal means (Black Hat), but at the risk of being arrested (punished by Google).

In the long run, you will see its growth amid the ups and downs of the market, seasonal periods, competitors, Google algorithm updates and many other fluctuations.

The practice of SEO, as in the stock market, must be seen in the same light. You cannot act on impulse and get rid of all its shares to the smaller sign of crisis. It is necessary to anticipate, prepare and be committed to long-term, of course, since it’s done right.

Sam McRoberts also points out that comparing SEO with the stock market is very different from a lottery, because here a solid knowledge in the area of operation, other than a slot machine is necessary, for example, where the outcome depends purely on luck.

“SEO, as in the stock market means making decisions based on what we know now, what we know about the past and what we expect for the future. Of course, the long-term rewards will only happen if your SEO strategy is executed in the right way, by a true professional who knows the market and knows how to build a strong campaign”.

Besides that,

An SEO campaign will not only increase organic traffic, sales and conversions, but will also have influence on other channels, such as direct traffic, PPC, Display etc.

We also know that measure based goals or transactions only in the last conversion channel does not guarantee the effectiveness of their marketing investments, it is necessary to consider the role set of all traffic channels for user interaction. You have to consider that as well when assessing the SEO ROI and the important role of these organic searches assisted conversions.

SEO is not investment, it is the obligation

The own Google says :

“Never accept money to include or position sites in our search results. There is no cost to appear in our organic search results”.

Thus, any increase in traffic, positioning or conversion generated by your SEO campaign will not have any relationship with a penny, but will be directly related to the quality and relevance of your site next to searches that are performed by users.

Do not see your SEO campaign exclusively as a project, with a beginning, middle and end, deadlines and certain features, but as an ongoing activity, cyclical. SEO is a prerequisite for any and every site, be it a blog, a corporate website or e-commerce store.

A professional SEO campaign helps ensure the value of your site and your brand. You can develop a site without even having heard of SEO, but the result can be fatal for your business, since its content and its relationship to other sites will be vital for people to find. You can even invest 100% of the budget on paid campaigns so will still have traffic, you will not have is any guarantee that your site will survive in the world of organic searches.

Focus on other KPIs

How can you evaluate your efforts in SEO without measure ROI?

Use other KPIs and metrics necessary to the success of your campaign. Below is a list of important KPIs that you can and should follow:

  • Organic Traffic
  • Traffic Non-Branded Organic (remove the searches for your brand)
  • Rejection Rate
  • Session Time
  • New Users
  • Page Depth
  • Conversion Rate
  • Average Ticket
  • Recipe
  • Number of Keywords Indexed
  • Quantity of External Links
  • Number of Domain that link to your website
  • Not Quantity but Quality

SEO has never been only a matter of traffic or links, but the investment’s ability to generate value for your site, attracting qualified traffic that converts visitors into customers or people who learn something useful through its content.

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