While many believe SEO is limited to keywords and tagging, there’s a
lot more to optimizing for search. On-page, off-page, and technical SEO
efforts are all important for ensuring you rank at the top of search engine
results pages (SERPs) when new, existing and potential customers are
searching for your pages online.
On-page SEO efforts include everything you do on the pages of your site
that a user can interact with. From changing titles to updating content, this
work can serve a dual purpose of improving your SEO efforts as well as
your overall product and user experience.
Off-page SEO is any SEO that isn’t controlled by your page, like backlinks.
If you have read up on search algorithms and ranking signals, you already
know the value of external links. Links to your site are one of the top 3ranking signals and there isn’t much you will be able to achieve if your site
never gets cited on the web. While a site with absolutely no links to it can
still be great, ranking for highly competitive terms is highly unlikely without
good off-page SEO work.
All the small details of your backend systems can have an effect on how
your site performs. Your technology stack can make accessibility to your
site by search engine bots nearly impossible. Technical SEO can hence
make or break all of your ROI if configured poorly.
When done correctly and consistently, SEO can have a huge impact on
your business’s bottom line. SEO directly contributes to the size and
quality of traffic to your website, the ease and amount of engagement with
your content, as well as your ranking and brand visibility.
On top of all this, SEO can drive trust in your brand’s credibility and
authority, affect the efficiency of your ad performance and customer care
departments, and ultimately lead the sustainability of your online strategy
Below we breakdown the revenue streams SEO can impact, and exactly
how they contribute to your business.
As the first step before conversion, traffic is an important metric. The
number one goal of SEO is to drive qualified traffic to your website in order
to drive conversions.
Improved optimization leads to better ranking on SERPs, which ultimately
generates traffic to your website. But traffic alone is not enough. How you
retain, engage and convert that traffic is what will ultimately affect your
Once you have visitors to your website, you’ll need to engage them in
order to convert. The user experience is a huge factor in search engine
optimization, which focuses on making the engagement with your website
as enjoyable and efficient as possible.
It’s important to know that while a conversion is an engagement, not
all engagements are conversions. Engagements, or micro-conversions,
can include browsing your website, reading or watching content,
filling in forms, and clicking on call-to-actions. Some if not all of these
engagements can lead to conversions, so it’s of utmost importance to
ensure this engagement is smooth, easy and enjoyable in order to lead to
revenue in the future.
Search Engine Optimization focuses on optimizing for Organic Search.
This means it directly impacts your visibility on SERPs, which gives you an
idea of how well your site is performing in Organic Search results. Visibility
directly impacts traffic. If a customer can’t find your website or your
content, they can’t engage with it, which means they can’t convert — or
worse, they’ll convert with competitors who can be found.
The best place to hide a dead body is the
second page of Google search.
Website authority is one of the most important factors for ranking.
Backlinking, or links from other websites to yours, tell search engines that
your content is trusted by other sources, building authority.
While there are various strategies and techniques for generating
authoritative backlinks, it’s essential to remember that it starts with your
content being good enough to link to. Good, linkable content, builds trust
with search engines as well as the users who ultimately engage with it.
SEO, or rather the impact SEO can make, can generate huge efficiencies
for various other marketing efforts and departments. For example, while
content like FAQ pages are great for ranking and visibility, they’re also
helpful for customer care departments. By solving the solution online,
there’s less need to speak to representatives, easing the call load and
driving better staff efficiencies.
As previously mentioned, SEO is a long-term strategy rather than a one-off
campaign. Algorithms are forever updating, making it important to always
stay ahead of search engine optimization.
The SEO cycle starts with identifying issues and solutions to achieve
business goals, moves to implementing those solutions and measuring
their effectiveness, and ends with reviewing the strategy and starting the
cycle again. An effective SEO process that continues to test, learn and
evolve leads to sustainable, measurable ROI.
“ROI” means many things to many people, organizations, and companies.
So let’s start with some basic definitions that will lay the groundwork for
how ROI is generally defined:
Return On Investment is a method of determining the efficiency of an
overall investment. Typically, it is a way for investors, marketers, and SEOs
to determine whether they are receiving enough gain to continue investing
in a particular project or strategy.
ROI is essentially ambivalent when it comes to total profit. Rather than
focusing on how much was made, ROI focuses on the profit a marketing
effort produced compared to the amount invested in the effort.
There are two types of ROI: anticipated and actual. Let’s breakdown the
Anticipated ROI, or projected ROI, is an estimate of the return that will
be generated from the investment. This is why projecting SEO ROI is so
important. It not only provides the anticipated ROI, but helps companies
understand what they can expect to achieve from SEO efforts, as well as
how much they need to spend in order to expect results.
Actual ROI is the actual return generated, minus the initial investment
spent. This is calculated once the campaign or agreed-upon time period
has ended and results are measured and reported. The actual ROI is
compared to the anticipated ROI to determine whether goals were met or
exceeded, and will have an influence on whether further investments are
made in SEO.
When it comes to calculating the return on investment, “investment” is the
easy part of the calculation. Working out the “return”, however, depends on
what goals and objectives are important enough to denote value.
These goals and objectives will be unique to every company, brand, line
of business, platform, digital asset, user, and so on. Every revenue-driving
action needs to be identified, assigned value and tracked in order to
calculate ROI, which is one of the reasons why calculating SEO ROI can be
Identifying these key value indicators are important for accurate
calculations, but there are a few main revenue drivers every SEO strategy
should focus on:
• Increasing traffic
• Driving qualified traffic
• Improving UX
• Generating more consumer touchpoints
• Improving ad performance
• Increasing conversions
SEO’s main focus is to ensure your site is visible on SERPs, this visibility
is what contributes directly to increasing traffic. And while traffic alone
isn’t enough to generate revenue, it is the first step towards creating
conversions that contribute to the bottom line. With 67.6% of all clicksgoing to the first five organic results on Google, more than half of all traffic is going to those who invest in SEO.
Many assume that traffic is a quantity approach, but when SEO is done
with revenue in mind, it’s focus should be on quality. Optimizing for search
doesn’t mean optimizing for traffic. The focus is on targeting qualified
traffic. That means tailoring content, design and UX on both your website
and the SERPs to attract and engage audiences most likely to convert and
contribute to revenue.
Another misconception some may have about SEO is that the optimization
only extends to what users are seeing on SERPs. This assumption
isn’t only incorrect, it’s damaging to potential revenue. Search engine
optimization extends to the entire online experience, and that includes your
website user experience (UX). Good SEO is good UX, and a positive userexperience improves conversion rates by up to 400%.
With so much information and so many options available today, it’s rare for
a consumer to find and convert on a first visit. The modern consumer will
most likely go through multiple touch points before making a purchase,
which is why so many companies invest in omnichannel marketing in order
to take advantage of multiple touch points.
SEO is one of the most advantageous tools for increasing consumer touch
points and thereby driving revenue. Many aspects of good SEO improve
consumer touch points that extend beyond just Organic traffic. In fact,
content creation, link building, and site UX all affect how users interact with
the brand and are not just SEO best practices.
In terms of performance, SEO is often overlooked by paid advertising, but
did you know SEO can improve the performance of that advertising?
Pay-per-click advertising can be hugely cost effective as it only charges
you for actual clicks on that advertisement, which means clicks to your
website. But once that ad’s been clicked, you’ve been charged, regardless
of whether a consumer stays on your website or converts. SEO is what
will ultimately keep users on site and drive them to conversion, ensuring
money spent on clicks doesn’t go to waste.
SEO ROI is usually exclusively focused on the revenue it can produce,
but when done well, SEO also has the ability to reduce costs and save
investments made elsewhere. Reducing costs on customer care, sales,
customer churn, and even advertising are just some of the areas SEO can
assist in reducing expenses.
For improved visibility and user experience, including clear, keywordrich customer care and sales content on-site is an SEO must. With the
introduction of informative content like FAQs, how-to’s, detailed product
descriptions, and after-sales guidance comes increased visibility as well
as a bonus result: reduced costs. By creating this content to achieve SEO
goals, customers are also able to find answers and guidance to questions
that would usually be handled by customer care or sales teams. This
availability of information and improved service reduces the need for
extensive customer care and sales departments, thereby reducing costs.
Paid advertising relies on targeting audiences, keywords and intentions.
Investing in an effective SEO strategy and plan should mean the foundation
of this work has already been done, saving money before a cent has been
spent on a paid ad. Additionally, research indicates that paid ads targeting
keywords that already have an organic presence outperform those
without any established organic visibility, almost halving the cost per click.
SEO is a great way to make your website visible to new audiences and
potential customers, but the strategies behind search engine optimization
also work to retain customers and reduce churn. Being visible on search,
featuring in snippets, and keeping visitors engaged and returning through
the use of strong content and a good user experience are all tools for
improving customer retention. And while many may be looking to attract
new customers rather than focus on those that already exist, research
shows that not only is it cheaper to retain a customer than it is to attain
a new one, increasing customer retention by only 5% can correlate to an
increase in profits by up to 95%.
Whether it’s new information or it’s always been clear to you, SEO is
undoubtedly worth the investment. The next step is understanding
how to implement good SEO. While the steps needed to optimize your
particular asset will depend on a multitude of unique factors, strategic
planning, content strategy, technical development, planned promotion,
measurement, optimization and repetition should form the foundation of
every good SEO strategy
Effective SEO needs a strategic plan in order to deliver a return on
investment. Research, audits, analysis, and reporting are all part of this
phase and should result in a few key deliverables:
• Audience report defining the audience personas, user journeys, and
• Competitive analysis of your closest competitors, how they’re
performing, and actionable insights on how to outperform them in
• Keyword research identifies and outlines opportunities for improved
content, ranking and visibility.
Content that improves visibility, drives engagement and leads to
conversion requires strategy. In order to contribute to revenue, an adequate
content strategy should include auditing, planning and recommendations
that lead to optimal content development and performance.
• Content audit of existing assets to determine qualitative and
quantitative performance and recommend improvements in order to
reach business goals and drive ROI.
• Content plan detailing cross-channel strategy for content
development, maintenance and governance.
• Content recommendations based on the direction given by the
content plan on any content in need of SEO improvements.
“Better content is outweighing more content.”
– Rand Fishkin, Moz Co-Founder
Technical SEO is what ensures websites are crawlable, indexable
and optimized to appear on SERPs. Audits, recommendations and
implementations form part of the technical phase of an effective SEO
• SEO site audit and implementation of technical, content, linking and
page-speed issues impeding visibility.
• Technical recommendations detailing technical specifications to
ensure the visibility of web properties in organic search and social
• Implementation audit cataloguing the progress of technical and
content recommendation implementations.
SEO doesn’t have to work on its own in order to reach the full potential of
business goals. SEO can do a lot to identify, optimize and enhance tools
and channels for promoting your brand and content. These can take the
• Content promotion through organic marketing strategies such as
• Link building plans to reach out to third party websites and drive
authoritative, high quality backlinks.
Measurement is ultimately what identifies how well SEO performed and
whether a return was made on investment. In order to measure accurately,
and ensure everything is being done to meet KPIs, measurement needs
to be planned, performed regularly, and presented to stakeholders with
enough power to authorize any changes needed to meet goals. Some
important measurement outputs include:
• Measurement plan outlining the strategy for measuring key
performance indicators and how these map back to business goals.
• Reporting regularly to review performance metrics defined in the
• Performance reviews with key stakeholders to ensure strategies and
plans can continue at the pace required to generate ROI.
While all steps up to this point have been done with optimization in
mind, SEO is not a one-off solution. Continued optimization is driven by
measurement and analysis, and is what ensures SEO continues to drive
results and meet updated algorithms. This can include:
• Conversion rate optimization tests design and messaging changes to
improve a site’s ability to meet business objectives.
• Media optimization to capitalize on the synergistic effects of using
both paid and organic marketing together.
All content, technology and media should continue to be planned,
developed, implemented, tested, measured, and optimized. SEO is
continuously shifting and evolving, and so are consumer needs and
business goals. In order to meet those goals, drive results and generate
an optimal return on investment, SEO needs to be assessed and actioned