Measuring ROI for SEO

June 23, 2018

How do you begin to measure any return on investment from a SEO campaign? With the rate of change in SEO, increased competition for placement and Google's algorithm changes, continuous measurement is more important than ever.

Digital marketing is always changing, this has been caused by Google's algorithm changes and higher competition from businesses using the internet for marketing promotions.

Digital marketing includes search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media to promote a business and its website, gone are the days when a campaign could be measured by the amount of visitors the site has produced. Whilst these are fairly easy to report on and measure they do not entirely show the marketing contribution to the bottom line.The marketing department is increasingly being asked what the return on investment (ROI) is from their digital marketing campaign. How do you report that the digital marketing campaign is working, what the return on investment (ROI) is.

To understand what the ROI is, we need to understand what the goals or aims of the company are, what they wish to get from a digital marketing campaign and then measure these goals. For this we need to look at the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the goals for each one.


  1. General Performance - Traffic, leads, Reach
  2. Channel Based - Website, blog, social networks, search engines
  3. Source based performance - Direct traffic, Organic search, referrals, email, PPC
  4. Campaign based performance - Lead generation, click throughs, conversions, conversion rates
  5. Setting realistic and measurable goals

Once you are agreed on the KPIs, the next stage is to measure these, what style of report and how these are presented. It may be necessary to change the KPIs over time and thus the goals too. The report can simply be an excel spreadsheet with incoming enquiries that result in sales. So collaboration between the sales department and marketing is a clear indicator here. 

QUICK NOTE: There are methods by which a digital marketing campaign can present bespoke telephone numbers to independent IP addresses, so that calls can be monitored, which backs up the results produced from a campaign to support the return on investment report. 

Monitor Your Goals

It is important to measure your goals on a frequent basis, for instance website traffic could be on a daily or weekly basis, not on a monthly basis as this tends to draw a straight line graph in Google Analytics. You will need to see what causes fluctuations in your visitor numbers, why are your conversion goals different - is it due to a national holiday, are Mondays notoriously busy, or quiet; are Fridays the same?

By monitoring your KPIs and results, we can manipulate your campaign to make changes to these.

Gather Data

Data gathering requires interactions from your sales managers, inbound leads identified, outgoing leads identified and recorded. What is an outgoing lead - is this one from your sales people, cold calling prospects? Inbound from social media and website contact?

Reporting On The Performance

Reporting on such targets and goals, KPIs and information should be as often as possible, monthly is ideal, to track an ongoing campaign, to make changes each month increase in targeting goals that are working and manipulate those that are achieving less.

Calculate Your ROI

By calculating your spend on digital marketing and the sales increased, can you determine whether your digital marketing campaign was successful.Case Study On Return On Investment For A Digital Marketing Campaign

If you are presenting data that only includes the amount of visitors to your website, amount of click throughs to the site and visitors from social media, you are missing out on the bigger picture. Are these visitors the right ones? For instance, we took on a client that had 10,000 visitors to their website every month, from their blog. Great eh? Their old digital marketing company presented reports on this and both the agency and client were happy. But is being happy a good ROI?

In this case the company were sales consultants, offering cold calling, appointment setting and similar services and their blogs were about HOW to make cold call sales. The visitors to their blog and website were being taught how to do the service that they were trying to offer. So, the visitors were mainly sales people or sales trainees that were getting high quality lessons on how they can do their job, they were not qualified visitors that were going to BUY their services.

We changed the way the blogs were written and directed the blogs to qualified visitors that wanted to buy their services. Visitor numbers dropped but their enquiries and leads grew. This was a direct result from the content marketing, blogs, social media promotion of content and directed to those actually looking for their services and the enquiries from the call to action (CTA) on the blogs. By using Google Analytics, we added conversions to the page after the enquiry form was completed. By measuring these we knew that the conversions increased.

Their return on investment grew.


  • Conversions - we measured the amount of visitors completing an enquiry form.
  • Leads - Enquiry forms.

Conclusion on measuring your return on investment from a digital marketing campaign

Set your aims, your goals to achieve your key performance indicators, measure and test these so that your goals are met; then you can report on them.

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