Small business SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an industry that promises great returns but rarely delivers. This doesn’t change the fact that SEO is a financially viable business strategy, when done properly.
Great SEO, that drives quality Google search traffic, can generate income far in excess of the financial and human resource investment. The reality is that it takes experience and skill. Something that many businesses overlook or disregard – starting a blog is not sufficient!
This tutorial will discuss how to determine the potential value of SEO to your business, how to set realistic SEO performance targets, and how to implement an SEO strategy that is financially viable and delivers a great ROI (Return on Investment).
How to determine the business value of SEO
Organic Google search traffic (that’s traffic arising as a result of your content being indexed by Google and ranking high enough in the search engine results pages to have people click through) may be valued differently by businesses in different industries, or with different business models.
To determine how your business values SEO, do the following:
- Work out what the Average Dollar Value (ADV) is of a conversion on your website – a conversion could be signing up to a newsletter, buying a product, or clicking an ad
- Work out the Conversion Rate (CR) on your site – i.e. what percentage of visitors perform a conversion
- Now go to Google Adwords Keyword Tool and do an Exact match type search for all the keywords and phrases you think potential customers would use to find your site
- Tally up the number of monthly visits that Google generates for those keywords
Small business SEO ROI calculation
For the purposes of the ROI (Return on Investment) calculation for small business SEO, we’ll make a few assumptions about the amount of traffic clicking through from Google (feel free to modify these if you think they are different).
In both cases, we’re looking at the traffic generated by results appearing on the first page of Google (that’s the whole point of proper SEO after all).
To make the maths easy, let’s assume that Google generates 100 000 impressions for your keywords each month.
We’ll also say that the ADV is $5 and that the conversion rate is 2%.
Top of 1st page results:
Monthly value of SEO = 100 000 x (20% click through) x $5 x 0.02 = $2000
Bottom of 1st page results:
Monthly value of SEO = 100 000 x (3% click through) x $5 x 0.02 = $300
The difference between ranking right at the top of the first page in organic search results, and at the bottom of the first page is considerable. So the margins for error in SEO are very thin – second page results may generate no traffic at all (depending on the popularity of the keywords).
Understand “real-world” SEO
Knowing what the monthly earning potential of proper SEO is allows you to determine what investment your business can make in it. But there are plenty of risks associated with SEO that aren’t obvious from the above, simplified calculations. A few obvious ones are:
- Finding the right SEO consultant, service or company
- Level of SEO competition
- Performance and web platform related SEO limitations
SEO is not just about content. Your web platform might also be letting you down. Google updates and changes also affect SEO.
The following SEO articles and resources give you all the information you need to understand SEO and make informed business decisions regarding its implementation:
- What is SEO? Here’s the ultimate small business SEO guide
- Small business SEO & Internet marketing strategy guide, 2012
- Five top SEO tips for small business bloggers
- Small business SEO tutorial: How to attract higher quality Google traffic
- Latest top SEO articles
With a good idea of the potential revenue that SEO can generate for your business, an appreciation of what great SEO is, and an understanding of some of the pitfalls, you are now in a position to implement an SEO strategy for your business.
Implement a proper business SEO strategy
Many small businesses fail to drive traffic and revenue from their blogs and SEO campaigns. The two most important contributing factors are:
- Poor SEO hiring decisions
- Poor in-house SEO implementation
Both of these SEO mistakes can be avoided by learning enough about SEO to make informed decisions about when to keep SEO in-house and when to outsource SEO… and to whom.
The following articles discuss how to implement great SEO, or how to find the right SEO services to get it done properly:
- 10 step assessment: How to hire an SEO consultant or Internet marketing company for your business
- Best SEO tools list: Top SEO software sites ranked by their own SEO performance
- How to test SEO: Top free SEO tools to easily check the SEO of any page
- Panda & Penguin friendly SEO: A business guide to recovering from Google’s algorithm updates
How much to invest in SEO
From the small business SEO ROI calculations above, you can decide how much money to spend on SEO. It’s important to bear in mind that SEO is a medium term investment. It won’t pay itself off overnight.
In the same way you wouldn’t expect a new truck to pay for itself with one delivery, your investment in SEO must work towards a realistic earning potential that you calculate based on the unique circumstances and requirements of your business.