ROI is the acronym for Return on Investment, the amount of money you put into a project versus the sum of money that you expect to earn from the project once it is completed. When this question is asked by a client of a prospective SEO campaign, it is certain they want a financial reward, however the return on deliverables is quite varied across the SEO spectrum.
Complicating ROI Beyond Understanding
ROI is different across companies. A business with a tight budget but high expectations may wish for a 20 to 1 return, £1 in, gain £20 back. Another may only seek a ten to one ratio. A company knows what it wants based upon experience in a variety of other channels. If print or digital advertising returns x amount after investment then they would expect similar or more from an SEO campaign.
The key for any SEO agency,operative or client is to explain and differentiate the channels, showcase the best of achievements and what is possible and to not over complicate issues with a ton of figures that forgets that the main purpose may not always be financial reward. It could also be brand awareness, visibility, increased social media reaction. However all these figures still translate into new customers, if that is calculable then a per customer worth can be attributed and over time realised.
How To Find Non Monetary ROI
If you put money into a scheme, do you expect money out as the one sheer result or would you expect an increase in income plus a variety of other results, and what would these results actually be? If your income increased 160% for one month after the SEO campaign was started and you investigated all channels and found 95% came from new activity, a company could be happy.
The SEO company wouldn’t be. The would include in their reports all the other measures and statistics that were discovered, that rose over that duration to present a healthier fuller picture of where not only those increased conversions came from, but a forecast of more to come.
For example, an increase in organic visitors, heightened activity from PPC whether reduced or increased overheads. A greater inclusion in search, ranking for more keywords, better keywords, key phrases. For exact match and for long term and creating more brand awareness. Perhaps an increase in mobile search due to redesigned websites, people remained longer on your website and or sped through to the shopping basket, bought something and left their email address on the way out.
Real ROI Real Return ON SEO Campaign Activity
It has been clearly demonstrated that a return on investment in SEO is varied, often monetary income is the reward long term but so too is the worth of the results spread across different channels. So when should a company truly realise its ROI worth? After six months, the first month? And how to best calculate SEO ROI to match the actual and original financial investment?
Attributing all income and success to a single SEO campaign is difficult. You would need the figures from before its inception and then decide on a term after and subtract to remain with a plus or minus. Rather than overall income, you should split it between channels such as PPC campaigns, Email and video marketing, organic search, social media, company blog and website as well as any offline media, for example, print, radio, direct mail.