Over the next two blogs we will help you track and measure additional value from your SEO campaign; enhance your return on investment from SEO and generally change the way you understand and value your campaigns.
Consumer-centric SEO means were now driving engagement and interaction with our target audiences across various channels, devices and verticals like never before. So how can we make the most of this – understand the true value were providing – and ensure that were not still measuring our campaigns using limited non-representative data?
There are two fundamental reasons we often under-represent our contribution via SEO:
- We don’t quantify and analyse all the by-products of our campaign efforts.
- We stick rigidly to a singular attribution model which is neither suitable nor representative of the industry we work in (usually last-click).
In this article were going to address the first of these points.
SEO campaign By-Products
Imagine the following scenario –
You work with an ecommerce retailer who sells concert tickets online. To assist with your link building campaign, you produce and host some content on their website. In doing so; you interview an industry influencer and build his comments into this content.
Once live, this content yields the desired effect and your influencer shares this content on Twitter with his 95,000 followers. He also links to this content through his website.
You do some further outreach and some other websites also link through to this page. Happy with this, you log the links – monitor any uplift in positions and report back a notable increase in organic visits and revenue.
Everybodys happy, right?
Well they might be happy, but they could be happier.
Hopefully weve achieved our target objective – to drive uplift in acquisition and outcomes through natural search. However, imagine there were some additional events which played out as a result of our efforts:
- Our influencers Twitter followers clicked the link in his Tweet, were referred to the site and eventually bought tickets.
- Users browsing the site from other channels engage with the content youve written. This content links through to several events – each of which sees an increase in ticket sales.
- Our content is tweeted by influencers, re-tweeted by others, liked by some on Facebook and shared on LinkedIn. Each of these social shares boosts ranking metrics, drives referral visits and additional brand engagement.
- Some are referred to the blog post via the links we built. Some users subscribe to an email newsletter. Eventually, sometime in the future, they are persuaded onto the site by an email and buy tickets from the site.
All these potential scenarios are so-called by-products of our efforts – none of which would have happened without our input. So why arent we monitoring and reporting back on this as part of our SEO campaign? We should be taking credit for all of this!
Step One: Identifying additional value
Before we can accurately quantify our additional value, we first need to understand and identify all the ways in which our SEO efforts drive value.
This exercise is so powerful because –
- We are able to multiply our worth.
- We can marry this additional value with a clients own business objectives.
It is not always an easy thing to do – and it usually differs based on the range of content and outreach strategies you have chosen to employ.
Break your campaign into its component parts and list each and every aspect of your campaign activities. Its easiest to list these in their simplest form initially:
- External blog posts
- On-site content
- Chasing online brand mentions
- On-site recommendations
- Social engagement
- Partnerships & sponsorships
- Influencer engagement
- Conversion-rate optimisation
- Etc. (you get the idea)
Once you have this exhaustive list, think exactly how each of these impacts your website in one way or another.
For instance, we might determine that our external blog posts provide the following value:
- Link authority
- Referral value
- Soft conversions (eg. Newsletter Sign-Ups)
- Brand engagement
- Social shares
Each component of our SEO campaign will likely drive value in a different way.
Step Two: Align your additional value with business objectives
If the goals and objectives of your SEO campaign dont align with the overall objectives of your business then your campaign is flawed from the outset.
To help our campaigns flourish we need to continually question ourselves and refresh our way of thinking:
- How are we providing value to client x?
- Does this marry with the overall business objectives?
- If not – how can we adapt to achieve this?
- Are we measuring and reporting on this in the right way?
Our fundamental reason for being is nearly always to drive ecommerce revenue or leads through organic search. Sometimes there might also be secondary objectives.
Speak with the right people to make sure you fully understand the current objectives of your client or business.
- Promote our ethical trade programme and corporate responsibilities
- Increase customer satisfaction survey results by 2 points
- Grow annual turnover by £1.2mil
- Increase annual UK market revenue share by 2%
Think about how the additional value we have already identified from our SEO campaign can feed into these objectives.
The better you become at this – the more your client/manager will buy-in to your campaigns.
As an example, one business objective might be: Improve brand awareness.
We can work towards this through uplift in organic visibility.
But we can also extract additional value (and praise!) for this through our campaign by-products: external content referrals, influencer engagement, social shares etc.
If we can then tie these back to our campaign KPIs (think: revenue, # conversions, visitor loyalty etc.) then even better!
Step Three: Understand your campaign KPIs
Its now best to think how you can complement your main business objectives through SEO in ways other than traditional organic acquisition.
Its likely that our main goal will always be to drive revenue/leads – so our organic acquisition metrics will always be our main focus. Lets assume we already have ecommerce tracking in place to monitor this.
Identifying smaller Key Performance Indicators beyond leads/revenue will allow you to significantly multiply the worth of your SEO campaign.
We should therefore begin to think about some of the smaller and less-obvious conversions which we can feed into our business objectives alongside organic revenue – performance indicators which help to showcase our additional value.
Here are some examples of site micro-conversions (using seetickets.co.uk to illustrate):
Users might register on the site with a view to buying tickets in the future. This is obviously providing value which is not as immediate as ticket sales. If we can assign a monetary value to each individual sign-up – even better.
Wherever users have visited the site and shared the website socially – whether that be the website itself or a specific event – we should be tracking this.
Reviews & comments
Users commenting on specific events or reviewing venues. These all class as interactions with the site and they all provide value to other site users.
In managing to capture a users email address we are able to persuade them at a later date to buy tickets through the website. This is a powerful micro-conversion.
SeeTickets use display advertising as a secondary way in which to monetise their website. Over time we can assign a direct value to these clicks; which means we can track them as micro-conversions and tie them back to our SEO campaign.
Partner, Affiliate & Client Sign-Ups
SeeTickets essentially works as a hub for promoters, events and venues to sell their tickets. They rely heavily on these people and organisations which means that we should be tracking these sign-ups as conversions!
If you fully understand the main objectives of your website, then you should be able to identify these on-site conversions pretty easily.
Setting these micro-conversions as goals and events within Google Analytics [or your equivalent web analytics provider] is the first step towards measuring your additional value from SEO.
Taking this one step further and assigning a specific monetary value to each of these micro-conversions is even better! Google Analytics allows you to assign a monetary value to goals as standard; making it easier to understand and report on campaign ROI.
For example: Newsletter Sign-Ups
“On average, 1 in 8 newsletter subscribers eventually converts at an Average Order Value of £72. During their lifetime, the average user will make 2.4 purchases.”
So, our newsletter sign-up Goal Value would be:
(£72 [AOV] x 2.4 [Lifetime Purchases]) x 0.125 [1/8th] = £21.60
Hopefully this will have encouraged you to think a little more about micro-conversions and how you might measure the economic value of these on your own website.
Tomorrow: How to measure the value of your blog, analyse your additional value and calculate your total value.