How much is ranking #1 in Google worth to your business?
Think about that for a minute. Obviously it would depend on which keyword you’re ranking for, so let’s say it’s the most relevant keyword for your product or service. Crunch those numbers and then let’s see if they match my answer…
My response to that question is that rankings alone are worthless. Yup, that was a trick question. I’ve found that too many businesses that use search engine optimization (SEO) have an unhealthy obsession with search engine rankings.
So in this article I want to shift your focus away from rankings, and toward the real value of SEO. Plus, toward the end I’ll show you how to really measure your SEO campaign to see if you or your SEO company is making any progress.
The Real Value of SEO
If you paid for a TV ad, and then saw your ad on TV, would you consider it a success? Or how about a radio ad, if you heard the ad would that mean it worked?
Of course not!
You don’t invest in TV or radio just to see or hear yourself. So why then, would you measure an SEO campaign by whether or not you see yourself on the first page of Google? Sure, it’s cool to say you’re #1, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything to your bottom line.
The real value of SEO is driving traffic, leads, and sales for your business. That only happens when your prospect clicks on your listing in the search results, and then takes action on your website. (Read Website Traffic Is Worthless Unless… for more information about getting prospects to take action.)
How to Measure the Potential Value of SEO
OK, now that you know the goal of SEO is to drive traffic, leads, and sales, then we can start to evaluate the potential value of an SEO campaign.
To measure potential value, you’ll need to know the following:
- How many times are your relevant keywords searched each month? This will tell you the size of the search market.
- How much traffic can you expect from ranking #1 for your target keywords?
- How much of that traffic will convert to leads or sales?
To find the answer to question #1, we can use Google’s Keyword Planner tool. You can find all of your relevant keywords and also how many times they are searched each month. Note that this is a low estimate because the tool is only showing data for the exact keyword phrase.
According to Chitika’s study, the #1 ranking website in Google will get about 33% of the clicks. That means, if you rank #1 for a keyword that is searched 1,000 times per month, then you can expect to get about 330 visits each month from that keyword. So multiply the keyword monthly searches that you found in question #1 by 33% to give you the potential website traffic from SEO. Again, this is a rough estimate and you can do this analysis for other search engine positions by using Chitika’s table.
Finally, we can estimate the total number of leads or sales by multiplying the monthly traffic number from question #2 by your historical conversion rates. If you don’t have historical website conversion rates, then I recommend you use a low estimate of 0.5%, and a high estimate of 5%. For example, if you found that you could drive 1,000 visitors per month from SEO, then a low sales estimate is 5 sales and a high estimate is 50 sales. Of course, this depends greatly on your type of business and the keywords you’re targeting.
How to Measure the Real Value of SEO
Once you’ve decided SEO is a good opportunity, then it’s important to measure your progress. Remember, I’m not talking about your rankings! I mean measuring the traffic, leads and sales that are generated from your SEO campaign.
This can be done using Google Analytics. There is a nifty report called “Channels” that is located within the Acquisition section of Google Analytics. That report will show you your different marketing channels, including “Organic Search.” Use that to measure how much traffic you’re getting from SEO.
To measure leads and sales you’ll need to set up Goals in Google Analytics. That’s outside the scope of this article, but if you need help, then I recommend our Introduction to Google Analytics video course. Once you have your Goals set up, then you’ll be able to easily report on leads and sales that were generated from your “Organic Search” channel.