SEO sounds interesting to you. Everyone seems to have been talking about it for ages; you have read articles online and encountered numerous conversations on social media about how it could convert sales up to 10 times better than other marketing channels.
You have spoken to a few companies that can do this for you and would like to kick your project off – BUT – the costs are not cheap, and you are finding it difficult to grasp what the returns could be for your business.
Stick around for the next 5 mins, and we will explain how you can understand and calculate your potential returns on our SEO investment.
If you consider SEO as an investment instead of simply a cost, then you are already on the right track. A mistake many people make is to look at SEO as a cost and think about how to reduce it instead of an investment and how to maximise the returns.
Think of it like buying stocks; the goal is not to buy the cheapest stocks but to get the ones with the best opportunity for growth.
Your goal, then, is to ensure you maximise your chances of getting good results. Avoid trying to do everything yourself to save money or go for the cheapest company you can find. Instead, pick a winning horse; work with a company that can strategically target your most significant opportunities and take advantage of weak spots in your market.
Good SEO that gives good returns needs to be planned well, and this is the first step. You must figure out how things work in your target market and how your audience looks for your products online.
A thorough research should uncover an exhaustive list of keywords that people are using to look for what you are offering, how often every month they look for each search term and how relatively difficult it is to get good rankings for each search term.
It is also essential to understand the relevancy of each search term to your business (what marketers call “keyword intent”). This means how probable a search term is to lead to a sale or conversion on your website, given its meaning and compared to what you offer.
The goal is then to select the search terms with the highest search volumes strategically, lower difficulty levels and best odds of leading to sales online.
Once you know where your strategic target is (in terms of search terms), you need to ensure that you have enough resources to get there. Some SEO campaigns might be more challenging than others, requiring more work and a more extended period of time.
A good SEO professional should help you determine (at least roughly) how much time and money will be needed to get significant results in your market and what those results might look like.
This way, you can ensure that you afford to launch your campaign and have the right expectations regarding time.
This will ensure that you don’t make the mistake of abandoning your campaign mid-way out of frustration or lack of funds.
Now that you know the resources needed to gain traction with your campaign and what that traction might look like, it is time to start putting the numbers together. Your SEO professional must understand how to interpret the data provided by the SEO tools and make the necessary adjustments according to the tools used. This is to use numbers as close to the actual market as possible.
Using industry averages, your SEO company should be able to roughly estimate the traffic that could be generated from your target keywords when the SEO campaign reaches a certain level of maturity. This would then be connected to your website’s conversion rates and the price of your average sale on the site.
With these numbers, you can start understanding what type of returns you are looking at, provided that the SEO campaign does reach its maturity within estimated times (or thereabouts). You can always leave some space for contingency.
As you can see in the simple examples above, you have a good marketing investment opportunity if these numbers are promising. It is very important to remember that these are rough indications, and no one can provide exact numbers or guarantees.
In the beginning, your campaign will start as any other marketing campaign does, with you pushing money into it. After some time, which could be estimated in advance, you should then start breaking even and continue to gain from there onwards. SEO being a marketing channel that provides long-term results, the gains are typically made in the long term, lasting years with simple maintenance and assuming no significantly disruptive changes happening in the search engine algorithms or your market.
Although this is not specifically part of the SEO work, your returns can be amplified by boosting your website sales conversion rate.
If you are investing money in marketing to bring more traffic to your site, your website must be doing the best possible job of converting your traffic into sales. This is a different exercise, but one that your marketing provider could also help you with.
Improvements in your conversion rates result in direct improvements in your website revenue.
Going back to the first point above and seeing SEO as an investment instead of a cost, SEO work that promises quality results does come at a cost, and one must be willing to invest to reap the rewards.
There are several reasons for this, but mainly the following are the key factors:
Your best bet, therefore, is to work with an SEO professional that could provide you with high-quality results for reasonable, mid-level costs. This can be achieved through: