Working in the SEO industry in 2015 means something totally different than it did in 2010. Return on investment is at the forefront of everyone’s mind (as it should be), client and practitioner alike. This means that as we help clients in all kinds of industries, we need to make sure to do a good job of first understanding the intricacies of their organization, as well as being able to tangibly prove that we are improving their bottom line.
Unfortunately, results of marketing campaigns are, in many ways, very abstract. This can make measuring the impact of our efforts very complex. With that in mind, I’ve dug through my bookmarks to list some content that has helped me along the way when trying to prove ROI.
Valuable Articles for Improving & Proving ROI
Shannon Skinner walks us through how to prove the value of sets of keywords. There’s a lot of data gathering and spreadsheet work with this one, but the results can be very helpful when talking to decision makers about ROI.
Himanshu Sharma is known for his data-filled posts, and this one is no different. He walks us through calculating a return using Anticipated ROI, as well as Actual ROI.
Himanshu Sharma also shows us how to calculate a detailed ROI report for marketing campaigns using Google Universal Analytics reports. Step-by-step, he walks readers through obtaining all the necessary data to make this calculation.
Julie Joyce has over a decade of experience working with SEO. She takes us through the steps of demonstrating the ROI that link building can have, with the aim of being able to effectively sell your services.
Anna Lewis takes an analytical approach to measuring link building efforts. She focuses on the use of advanced segments, multi-channel funnels, and campaign categorization. She also provides a free custom report to analyze referral metrics.
Kristi Hines is an expert in SEO strategies for online marketing. In this guide, she shows how to use data from Google Analytics to see which aspects of marketing campaigns are most effective.
Rebecca Murtagh talks about the importance of data when selling SEO to C-level executives, and how to talk in their language to make the pitch more convincing.
Mike Pantoliano provides a step-by-step guide on how you can determine the true value of your content marketing efforts by creating a multi-channel funnel report in Google Analytics.
We use SEO to drive traffic to our platforms, but how do we know if it’s working? Brian Honigman shows us how by looking at the data for traffic patterns, increases in revenue, and the quality of inbound links.
The results of lead-gen websites are difficult to measure, as web analytics tools are often useless here. Instead, Michael Freeman tells us how to increase our knowledge of where leads are coming from by combining website visitor data with CRM software.
John Hall tells us what arguments to expect when pitching content marketing strategies to the C-Suite. The post also details some strategies to can use to counter those arguments.
Danika Atkins offers actionable tips on how to get the most out of running a networking event. She also provides tools we can use to measure the success of the event. A must-read for any company considering organizing a networking event.
Hana Abaza talks about how to measure your content’s performance, from the impact it’s making on social media to the effect it’s having on sales. There’s also a discussion on how to turn this information into an easy-to-read synopsis for the C-Suite.
Megan Marrs discusses the difficulties of measuring the ROI of social media and goes on to show us how it’s done by using Google Analytics. She highlights certain categories and tells us how they tie into a social media strategy.
Uberflip shares a value-packed, easy-to-read infographic to help you keep track of content marketing ROI. They show you what metrics to track, how to calculate the ROI, and how to craft a story from the numbers.
Michael Martinez is the owner of SEO-theory, and he takes a simplistic approach to measuring ROI. The post defines it as, “I spend X dollars and measure Y value against those dollars.” Two methods include comparing the cost of SEO conversions to gross unit profit and comparing gross organic SEO revenues against costs.
Nick Eubanks provides two models to evaluate keyword opportunities, and both include formulas on how to measure the value of keywords. He also includes a test case that can be copied and used for your own website.
Adria Saracino provides knowledge on how to successfully make a case for content marketing, including step-by-step instructions on how to do so.
Neil Patel is well-known for his work on KISSmetrics and is a leader in internet marketing. Here, he provides an infographic on how to calculate the ROI of your SEO campaign the easy way.
Possibly my favorite of the whole group is this deck from Ross Hudgens. He gets into the nitty-gritty of calculating the ROI of content marketing efforts. The deck is complete with dollar amounts and percentages, don’t miss it.
Jamie Cartwright of Weidert Group dives into the details of calculating ROI for inbound marketing campaigns. He shows you how to build a plan based on revenue needs, and emphasizes the need to calculate lifetime value.
Kevan Lee outlines not only how to calculate ROI from probably the toughest medium – social media, but also the importance of the goals that you use to determine how you measure in the first place.
The Delhi School of Internet Marketing shared some valuable advice for marketers looking to improve their ROI. The suggestions are laid out in a way that is easy to understand and implement.
Worthy ROI Case Studies
Are you wondering if blogging could be valuable for your business? Alex Turnbull provides a case study on how blogging has increased profits for Groove.
Newscred ran 20 LinkedIn sponsored updates in 2 months, and this study takes a look at their ROI on that effort in comparison to other paid advertising methods. They provide useful insight if you’re considering taking the path of paid promotion (see also: Paid Links Infographic).
Tools to Improve ROI Measurement
What’s simpler than plugging in your numbers and getting an answer immediately? Use this calculator to see if it’s worth it for your business or clients to invest in SEO improvements.
Ensure that your email marketing campaign is truly effective in calculating its ROI. This calculator includes sliders, which allows you to view how your open, click, and conversion rates will impact your campaign.
A very quick and simple calculator you can use to calculate the ROI of pay per click advertising. You’ll have to click through to initiate the calculator tool.
Fractl built a customizable and very intuitive calculator to measure the spend of a particular campaign. You’re able to easily tweak metrics like traffic, social shares, links, and even placements that have been earned. Not to mention the value of each.
Helpful ROI Estimation Templates
(Google Doc here) – Shannon Skinner put together this detailed guide that walks you through gathering specific data, organizing it, and using it to calculate estimated ROI on keywords. This is useful in the research stage of any SEO campaign.
(Excel download here) – Leverable has provided an Excel spreadsheet specifically to help businesses calculate the ROI of putting together an SEO strategy. They walk you through the process by illustrating an example.
(Excel download here) Kiera Stein provides a simple yet effective template for tracking network penetration, growth, engagement, and leads from social media. Check out her 2 post series for instructions.
(Google Doc here) Another great one from Siege Media. This spreadsheet helps calculate the ROI from content marketing efforts. Links, traffic, expenses, as well as target dates are all included in this powerful spreadsheet.
This list is far from complete; I plan on updating this post regularly, so if you have any gems that need to be added, drop me a note in the comments below.