Webinar Recap: How to demonstrate the value of your SEO campaign
While we all get excited about advances in SEO within our community, when it comes to speaking to the C-suite, we need to start to discuss SEO in a way they understand.
For senior marketers in particular, who often have a fairly limited understanding of what SEO is and what it does, selling the value of SEO ultimately comes down to presenting metrics in terms of return on investment.
But aside from the obvious, what’s really the best way to demonstrate the value of SEO?
In our latest webinar hosted by Jon Myers, Miracle Inameti-Archibong, Head of SEO at Erudite Agency, answered this vital question. Read on for the key takeaways.
Bring the commercials to the forefront of the campaign
For CMOs and other members of the C-suite, what they understand and care about is pounds and dollars. Not SEO trends and tasks.
Though every brand wants to see an increase in traffic and higher rankings, these are just a means to an end to the ultimate goal: business revenue.
To understand how SEO ties into this, you first need to understand what the company’s revenue targets are for the year, and what the company direction is for the next 1-2 years. This will, in many cases, be outlined in the business and marketing strategies, but it’s not always the case, and you’ll likely get a clearer understanding if you speak to the people who direct it.
Once you have this understanding in your locker, it becomes easier to align the value of your SEO campaigns with the overall business strategy. And for the C-suite, this is what ultimately matters.
Use the available data to set realistic targets
When you know what the goals of the business are, you need to make sure that these targets are realistic.
You also need to ensure you use robust data to make more informed decisions and create better predictions for how much return on investment SEO will realistically have.
Miracle explains how to do this using statistical modeling:
By going through this process, you’ll show that you’re thinking about how SEO actually impacts the business, and not just thinking about softer metrics like rankings and traffic — which senior leaders are less interested in.
Lay a solid foundation for measuring goals
It’s also important to understand what KPIs are important to the business as a whole. In most cases, these will be related to:
- Lead generation (form completions, downloadable resources, subscriptions)
- Search engagement
You need to think about what SEO KPIs will drive the most change in these areas.
Once established, you can set up a list of SEO KPIs, figure out what tools you need to track and benchmark them, break down KPIs into individual SEO tasks, and set up tracking to measure the effectiveness of these individual tasks.
In the webinar, Miracle also suggests setting up a granular data brief that lists every metric that’s important to the business — from an SEO, and a revenue perspective:
Make sure your data is accurate
80% of analytics accounts we see are incorrectly set up
— Miracle Inameti-Archibong
All measurements are ultimately based on quality data. Most businesses use Google Analytics, and while this is a powerful tool, it needs to be set up correctly.
After all, if you’re making business decisions from forecasts based on Google Analytics data, you need to ensure that data is right.
Some of the common problems Miracle states that she has often seen in Analytics:
- No filters
- Single view
- No raw view
- Wrong naming conventions
- Snippets in the wrong part of source code
- Incorrect goals and events set up
- Referral exclusion list
- Enhanced eCommerce
- Personally identifiable information (that violates GDPR)
Miracle explains more here:
Access Erudite’s Free Google Analytics Audit Template
Monitor keyword groups, rather than individual keywords
Amongst marketers, there remains an obsession with individual keyword rankings. In particular, an obsession with getting their brand to rank first for the keywords they deem important.
But as Google continues to state, SEOs need to resist focusing on keywords alone. Because of this, tracking individual keywords is not as important as many marketers might think. Especially as even the best keyword trackers don’t fully take into account SERP variation.
Personalization, location, the location of the tool’s crawler, the searcher’s language, and privacy settings make it nigh-on impossible to accurately track where keywords rank at every point in time and place. Which makes it, to some extent, an unreliable data point.
Instead, Miracle suggests that tracking based on categories and content groupings is a much better approach than tracking keywords in isolation.
Taking a keyword trending, rather than a keyword tracking approach is preferable.
If a keyword group (that includes long-tail keywords) doubles in traffic and increases conversions, this is undoubtedly more important than a single, highly competitive keyword climbing the rankings in the SERP.
In some cases, marketers will push back on this. After all, it instinctively feels better to have a high-density keyword ranking in a higher position.
This means that it is even more important to educate marketers on why keyword groups and long-tail keywords are vital to the things that matter: conversions and revenue.
Set up tracking with Google Tag Manager to save dev time
One of the first decisions you need to make when setting up tracking is whether you’re going to use Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager.
With Google Analytics, you’ll need to set up custom dimensions, and this can often require development work. Google Tag Manager, on the other hand, enables you to deploy code or tracking pixels on your website without having to call on time-short developers.
As we know, the lack of development resources is a big issue for SEOs — even within enterprise organizations. If you can circumvent this by using Google Tag Manager for tracking, it’s ultimately a win-win.
There are also other useful things you can set up and track within Google Tag Manager like canonicals, content grouping, cross-domain tracking, schema, and third-party tools.
Read Julius Fedorovicius’ blog: 99 Things You Can Do with Google Tag Manager
Don’t report the numbers, demonstrate business impact
While there’s currently a near obsession among marketers with dashboards that visualize data, for SEOs they’re still important for monitoring and presenting the success of your SEO campaigns.
Google Data Studio is likely to be the go-to tool for this. By building custom reports in Google Data Studio, you can visually present the metrics most relevant to senior marketers in a way that’s easy for them to comprehend.
However, these numbers alone are unlikely to be enough to demonstrate the full value of your SEO campaigns — especially for CMOs. To do that, you need to present impact reports that demonstrate the ROI of any changes you implement.
Miracle gives a brilliant example of how speeding up a client’s website directly impacted conversion rates, and ultimately, revenue:
A final point
As we touched on at the start, to demonstrate the value of SEO campaigns you need to be able to show how they impact revenue.
This is no mean feat, but hopefully, the key takeaways from Miracle’s webinar go some way towards you achieving this. Do it well, and ultimately, your position within your business and SEOs share of the company’s budget at the start of the new year will both grow.
Follow Miracle on Twitter: @mira_inam
Google Tag Assistant: Make sure your Google tags such as Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Adwords Conversion Tracking, and more are working correctly.
Tag Manager Injector: Inject GTM container tags into web pages in Chrome.
GTM/GA Debugger: Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics Debugging Tool
Adswerve: Inspect Google Analytics activity; Insert additional resources in the page
Campaign URL Builder: Add campaign parameters to URLs so you can track Custom Campaigns in Google Analytics.
Who to follow
Simo Ahava, @SimoAhava | Google Tag Manager insights
Julius Fedorovicius, @fedorovicius | Google Tag Manager insights
Erudite Agency, @EruditeAgency | Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager insights
Where to get training
Anna Lewis, Polka Dot Data | Google Analytics training
Jill Quick, The Colouring in Department | Google Analytics training