SEO can be quite the investment as it is a you-get-what-you-pay-for business. There are agencies or individuals who will entice you with their low prices and say that you will quickly see your SEO ROI, and that is something they can afford doing because it usually means they utilize shady tactics to get you to rank. Unfortunately, those same tactics will also get you penalized by Google, which can even lead to you getting kicked off the SERPs entirely.
So, a good SEO agency will usually be a little pricey, but when you invest in SEO, you invest in being searchable, in becoming an industry leader, in ensuring that you solidify your reputation, in keeping up with the market, and other things.
However, there are businesses and professionals who get concerned that they may not be getting the bang for their buck. Or maybe you want to take a crack at SEO on your own, but you don’t know if it’s working. These are valid concerns, so I’m writing this post to help you maximize your SEO ROI.
Identify your goals to measure SEO ROI
Websites have goals, and these goals are measurable. For example, your website’s main goal can be selling products or building a subscriber base. In these cases, you can set up your goals and funnels in Google Analytics to be able to measure your revenue or the amount of people who subscribed to your newsletter.
Let’s take WorkPlays, a coworking space here in the Philippines, as an example. The main goal of the WorkPlays website is to have leads inquire about the spaces available and to schedule a visit. Once the goals have been identified, we put them into Google Analytics so they can start getting measured.
As you can see, there are three measurable goals:
- Successfully filling up the form in the contact page;
- Clicking the “schedule” button on the homepage pop-up; and
- Successfully scheduling a visit.
The conversions of these three goals will help us see how our SEO efforts are working out as it will track them. Without identifying goals, we will be left with no benchmark to help us measure our efforts.
Get to know your customers
Next, it is important that we research our customer base so we can create buyer personas and ensure our content is targeted towards them. Learning what your customers want is valuable as it helps you figure out the kind of messaging you need to adopt and the kind of content you need to create. We can write good content but if they aren’t what the customers want, then efforts will be wasted.
The mistake of some companies is that they try hard to sell their products without identifying first if their customers want the kind of product they’re selling in the first place. In that case, why would a potential customer buy your product or consume your content when it doesn’t speak to them or address their pain point? This is why research is important, and you can opt to conduct interviews or create surveys for your customer research.
After learning more about your customer base, you can start creating buyer personas. According to Hootsuite, buyer personas are detailed descriptions of fictional (or semi-fictional) persons who represent your target market. So when you craft messages or create content, you ensure that they are tailored to your buyer persona to make them more personal and compelling for your audience.
And buyer personas don’t just help you in terms of messaging and content, they also help you get into the mind of your target market so you can predict their keywords.
Research your target keywords
Once you know who your target audience is and you’ve done the work of creating buyer personas, the next strategy to maximize your SEO ROI is to research your target keywords. As mentioned in the previous section, having a clear idea of who your audience is and what they need will be of huge help when coming up with keywords because you have already done the work of putting yourself in their shoes.
Using WorkPlays again as an example, let’s say they craft a buyer persona, Liz, who is a CEO of a small startup company. Because of financial constraints, Liz believes that it would be prudent to not rent an office and to just rent a coworking space whenever necessary. She and her team also live nearer to Las Piñas City than they do to Makati, so they would prefer to meet in that area every once in a while. How would Liz use Google to look for a coworking space?
Maybe she can search for “coworking space Las Piñas” since that is what fits her intent. “Coworking space” alone or “coworking space Makati” would not fit her search intent as predicted by the description of Liz’s needs.
Since WorkPlays was able to optimize the keyword due to their knowledge of their persona’s intent, they show up as the first organic result in the Google SERPs.
Create informative and optimized content
Keywords are only part of the game, however, as it is also important to ensure that content is of high quality. Let us say that you were able to identify your customer base and you were able to come up with good keywords to use. They won’t mean much if the content you create is subpar.
High quality content is integral to your SEO efforts as it attracts customers to your website, helps establish your brand, and frames you as a leader in your industry. Part of gaining people’s trust is to show them that you know what you are talking about, that you have the answers to their queries, and that you are willingly sharing those answers to your audience. High quality content also helps you raise your rankings quickly because people will naturally link to them and promote them. This sends a signal to search engines like Google that you are trustworthy. Always remember, although we are optimizing for search engines, people are at the core of our work. So, when people see your content as legitimately good and helpful, chances are Google will too.
For example, WorkPlays has this article on maximizing a coworking space in Las Piñas City.
This post includes not just tips and tricks, but even the benefits of working close to home. In reading the post, you will see that any professional or company who is on the fence as to renting coworking spaces could be persuaded because the tone of the post isn’t about selling WorkPlays, it’s about helping people figure out how they can make the most of their space.
This is also why here at SEO Hacker, we include high quality SEO copywriting in our SEO package. We understand that SEO is a long game, and that businesses usually already have too much on their hands for them to have to come up with high quality blog posts every week that are optimized and that they have to promote afterwards.
As mentioned earlier, even high quality content needs to get promoted. Your hard work on your blog post could get wasted if it just sits there waiting for a reader to stumble on it. Two important ways to promote content that we do is link building and its main strategy, guest posting.
To illustrate, imagine you wrote a blog post on social listening and monitoring, then you shared it with a professional in the same industry, Alan, who saw it as a valuable resource. Perhaps you recommended tools or approached the topic through a different angle. Now, let us say that Alan wrote a topic connected to yours and linked to your article. That means you got a backlink. The act of sharing your articles and other forms of content to webmasters that they may see as a valuable resource and potentially link to in their own content, that’s link building.
On the other hand, guest posting is when you contribute to another website a piece of high quality content that their audience can appreciate and value. When you’re featured in various websites and you have respected professionals featured in yours, you become more legitimate and trustworthy in the eyes of your audience. You get to build your name and your brand.
It is important to note that link building and guest posting are not easy tasks. Before you get a backlink or a slot in the blog of a webmaster, you have to make the effort of building that connection first. Retweet them, comment on their posts, and just engage with their work so you can get noticed.
Aside from that, you also have to ensure that the sites you’ve picked are good quality websites and that you engage with more than one webmaster so that your backlinks are from more than one domain. Check out our article on why your link building campaign might not be working.
Utilize local SEO for higher ROI
When you search for a specific product with the intent to buy, you typically look for stores near you, right? Another great strategy that we preach to maximize your SEO ROI is to utilize local SEO. Local SEO is optimizing your website to rank for keywords specific to your location. Like WorkPlays optimizing for “coworking space Las Piñas,” you can also choose keywords that will help you get searched based on your location.
Utilizing local SEO helps you become more visible to your target audience – in this case, the ones who aren’t just looking for information, but those who have the intent to purchase. One of the tasks then is to ensure that your business information is complete and accessible online, so we strongly suggest using Google My Business as one of your first steps. There are various other strategies to utilize local SEO, and we have written about them in this article.
Make your website fast, responsive, and accessible
Let’s say you are getting searched on Google and your target audience believes that you have information and products that are helpful to them. But then they enter your website and it’s slow and filled with clutter. Chances are, they are going to bounce from your website and just head to another one that’s faster, more responsive, and more accessible. That hurts your SEO ROI.
Website traffic may not be a ranking factor according to Google, but it is a good measure of your SEO efforts and how useful and accessible your website has become. Always remember that when we optimize, we aren’t just optimizing for search engines. We are optimizing for people. So, your goal should be to ensure that your website meets a user’s need and that it’s accessible enough for the users to actually get to the answer they’re looking for.
For a more concrete illustration, let’s say that your business is candle-making and you want to look for easier ways to get it done. You found an article that seems like it has exactly what you need, but then it takes forever to load and when it does, the page has multiple pop-ups, the text keeps moving because of ads, and it generally isn’t a pleasant experience. Would you stay in that article (if you had enough patience to let it load at all)? Most likely not, and you’ll just open a bunch of other articles so you can have enough information to meet your needs.
Measure your SEO ROI
Now that you’ve done all of these, the question is if your efforts worked at all. Two main factors we check at SEO Hacker are keyword rankings and traffic. The main goal after all is to be on the first page of the SERPs, if not the top of the SERPs. That is why when you invest in us, you can bet that we check these every day.
But that’s in checking if the efforts worked. How do you measure your SEO ROI? Remember the first strategy, identifying your goals? By setting them up early, you get to see how your SEO efforts affect your conversions over time. If your goal is successful purchases, then you can compute the difference in each month. If your goal is increasing your subscriptions, you can check those too in the Google Analytics you’ve set up. That is why as I’ve mentioned in the first strategy, identifying your goals early in the game is crucial as it provides you a benchmark that will help you measure your progress.
Here is an article that can help you calculate the returns of your efforts.
Here in SEO Hacker, we give a complete, transparent report to our customers every month. Our customers always know our progress and what the ROI of our SEO efforts are. Some of our customers even show us their quarterly revenue so that we can see exactly the impact of our SEO efforts.
Lastly, it is important to know when to adjust when something isn’t working or when it can be improved. We have various guides on performing an SEO audit that you can check out, such as this beginner’s guide. Audits don’t just need to be performed when the website is new, they need to be performed every so often – especially when rankings are fluctuating.
No one benefits from being rigid in this game. That is why I’ve said multiple times across articles that I’ve written that SEO is a game of experimentation and that it needs a holistic approach. In the first place, search engines such as Google release updates every so often, and it is part of our job (or yours, if you’re doing this on your own) to make sure that we know how to adapt when updates are released. To maximize your SEO ROI, you also need to exercise that same vigilance and adaptability.