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A question I get asked by clients all the time is How do I measure the ROI on my SEO campaign? Most business owners and marketers are happy to invest heavily in SEO when the outcomes can be reliably predicted and measured. The problem is, as you may have already figured out, SEO doesnt quite work this way.
In late 2012, SEO and Internet marketing consultant Sam McRoberts wrote an excellent article titled Investing in SEO the Warren Buffett Way. I encourage you to check it out, but heres the gist of it: SEO works very much like the stock market. You choose your stocks (keywords) based on the knowledge you have at hand, and then you wait. Youll likely experience periods of growth and decline (like ranking fluctuations), but one thing is certain: the stock market and SEO are both long-term endeavors. Theres no quick path to riches in either case.
However, over the long term, you can expect to see growth if youre patient enough to stay the course through the ups and downs of the market (or rankings and algorithm fluctuations). Buffett said, Over the long term, the stock market news will be good. Despite world wars, epidemics and the Great Depression, the long-term growth of stocks in the US grew steadily and significantly over the 20th century.
Image courtesy of Visualizing Economics
This is an uncomfortable prospect for most business owners when it comes to SEO, quite understandably. Were used to analyzing our strategies and investments in terms of how theyll pay off in weeks, months, or at most, a year.
The practice of SEO, however, like the stock market, necessitates a forward-thinking mentality; it means not jumping ship when rankings fluctuate, as theyre sure to do from time to time. It means being prepared for dips and even valleys, but committing to holding the course over the long term, regardless, as long as youre doing the right things.
Sam writes: If you pick a bad set of stocks, you might lose money. If you sell the stocks too late, you might lose money. If you sell too early, you might lose money or even leave money on the table. You have to pick good stocks and hold them for just the right amount of time, just as you have to pick the right keywords and target them for the right amount of time.
Notice were not comparing SEO to the lottery or slot machines. SEO, like the stock market, necessitates a solid understanding of the market and the industry. A successful SEO strategy will mean investigating and researching appropriate keywords based on potential traffic levels, competitiveness, and the potential for conversions.
And we know that a successful SEO campaign has great value; value which is, in fact, completely unparalleled. We know, for instance, that achieving the #1 spot for a given keyword means getting about 33% of the clicks. This means that if there are 5,000 searches for a keyword each month, you could reasonably expect to receive around 1650 visits to your site if you hold the top position. This is an outcome worth investing in and waiting for.
Continue reading here:
The ROI That I Can Expect From SEO?