How to turn SEO into a measurable revenue generator

Tired of constantly defending your SEO budget for the C-suite?

On November 4th, I hosted a webinar in Search Engine Journal presented by Andreas Dzumla, CEO and co-founder of Longtail UX.

He went through a new approach to attributing your company’s sales growth to your SEO efforts.

Here is a summary of the presentation.

How to turn SEO into a measurable revenue generator

One of the biggest challenges for SEO professionals is measuring your ROI.

If you can’t prove your ROI, your budget and role are at risk. It doesn’t have to be like that.

In uncertain times like these, your company’s C-suite wants to gain new insights and make quick profits.

You should be able to:

  • Measure ROI in SEO.
  • Offer new solutions that can have a bigger impact on the business.

SEO as a marketing channel: the problem

For many companies, SEO still seems to get little to no respect compared to other marketing channels – especially when it comes to paid search.

There’s a huge pot of money in PPC advertising.

In 2019, global search advertising totaled $ 136 billion.

For paid search teams, it’s easier to use many automation tools to optimize and manage paid search campaigns.

Efficient budget decisions can be made due to the complete transparency in measuring the ROI down to the search query level.

But what about organic search?

While most of the clicks on SERPs go to organic listings, proving its worth has proven to be a challenge.

In the past, SEO lacked reliable automation tools for managing large campaigns.

It is also difficult to measure ROI, which then leads to limited budgets.

Organic search - No sales data

Approaches to calculating the SEO ROI

Since Google removed keyword-level analytics in 2013, SEO professionals have found workarounds for calculating SEO ROI.

Here are just a few of them.

1. Year-over-year comparison of Google Analytics’ organic search channel

Comparing your organic traffic from the current year to last year in Google Analytics is one of the options that SEO pros have resorted to.

The downside is that:

  • You have no idea if the keywords that drive traffic are branded or generic.
  • The increase in sales could be caused solely by TV advertising, while actual unbranded SEO performance decreases.

2. Year-over-year comparison of the Google Search Console

However, you can also do an annual comparison in GSC:

  • No sales = no ROI.
  • The keyword data only shows a subset of the 1,000 most important keywords (if your paid search term report may contain 500,000 high-revenue keywords over the same period).

3. SEMrush and other third party data

Subscribing to SEO platforms is often costly, and the data isn’t the most reliable either.

Separating branded and non-branded keyword data also takes a lot of work.

4. Counting the income from landing pages

With this approach, you create landing pages and:

  • Address a search need.
  • Fill a gap in your site navigation (information architecture).
  • Improve where you are not in position 1-5 on Google.
  • Customize certain products.

But how fast can you create 100,000 dynamic landing pages?

How to fix these problems

Here are some steps you can take to measure SEO ROI.

Measure the baseline between brand and non-brand

Branded vs. non-branded baseline

This unlocks the real value of organic search, unrelated to brand search.

It also serves as the basis for calculating ROI over time (i.e. changes in investments from last year).

Find your market share growth

Suppose you already have a strong brand with loyal customers. What about those customers who are ready to buy the products you sell but aren’t looking for you?

Look beyond your branded market share and unlock a new revenue opportunity in your unrecorded category.

Income from categories not covered

Predict traffic and revenue opportunities better than any other third-party tool

Hundreds of thousands of specific organic search term opportunities are clearly visible in Google Ad Search term reports:

In most cases, Google Keyword Planner indicates that there is no search volume.

Solution: Create new pages to fill in the keyword gaps

As you create new pages that fill in your keyword gaps, give your product categories a halo.

Longtail halo

This will help your brand:

  • Acquire new customers who are currently looking for specific products, but not your brand.
  • Become a synonym for your product categories.

Using technology to measure the ROI of each page

You need to create new landing pages to fill in your keyword gaps.

This is possible on a large scale with the solutions available in the market that allow you to:

  • Create thousands of new landing pages to scale accurate product search.
  • Dynamically link thousands of new pages in context.
  • Skip the always-late line for the tech team project.
  • Identify underperforming pages and replace them with better keywords without any technical work.
  • Optimize new customer acquisition regardless of your website architecture.

With a solution like Longtail UX, you can do all of this and more.

This is how it works.

Creating “Smart Pages”

Longtail UX creates “Smart Pages” that organize your content the way new customers expect:

  • All exactly matching and similar products, relevant articles, reviews, ratings and cards.
  • Landing page variations and product rankings based on search intent (e.g. trigger keywods “best”, “cheap”, location-based, etc.)

These pages also work within your existing website structure.

Creating “Smart Links”

Longtail UX then dynamically links your “Smart Pages” within the website.

It is calculated and updated based on the platform’s proprietary algorithms.

This further improves the SEO performance of the entire website by improving the contextual linking of website topics.

Recap

  • To measure branded and non-branded SEO sales, you can do the following:
  • To demonstrate the ROI of SEO for your C-suite, you can:
    • Use Google Analytics’ non-branded SEO sales analysis to compare year-on-year trends.
    • Identify keywords to create new pages that fill gaps in your information architecture – either using your SEM keyword reports and ranking analysis, or using a solution like Longtail UX.
  • Overcome SEO constraints through your CMS, UX and technical resources:
    • UX – by creating new pages linked outside of your existing website navigation.
    • CMS and technical resources – with Longtail UX.

[Slides] Convert SEO from a cost center to a measurable revenue generator

Check out the SlideShare below.


Photo credit

All screenshots by the author, November 2020

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