B2B Marketing Blog

How to Determine ROI for your SEO Campaigns

By Lauren Hylbak
Oct 23, 2013

Guest Post by Elisabeth O'Brien a Sr. Marketing Specialist for Curtiss-Wright Controls Avionics & Electronics (CWC-AE)

Recently we decided to invest a significant amount of money in contracting SEO work in hopes to increase lead generation.  Because our website doesn’t directly sell goods or services, and is instead a source of information, it is difficult to define the metrics needed to justify such a large spend.  With some imagination we were able to get the initial money needed to embark on a 6 month trial period.  Once we had some data to work with, with the help of Bizible, we were able to get the funds needed to not only continue the project but increase our investment.  Here’s how we did it.

Defining Metrics

The first step was we needed to understand how our website was currently performing and create metrics that we would be able to measure the success of the project against.  Google Analytics is a great tool for this and using it we were able to take a snaphot of a single month as our starting point.  Because our website is not an e-commerce site, we needed to define what “goals” and “conversions” meant to our company.  For us, “goals” are documents downloads or videos views, and “conversions” are a contact form completion.  Luckily we had set up goal and conversion tracking 6 months prior in GA so the data was available.  Also, our website is linked to our Salesforce installation, and with the help of Bizible, we were able to identify exactly where each lead (conversion) originated from and what keywords got the user to the site.   

At this point we decided that we wanted to track the following

  • Organic search visits
  • Organic Goals (document downloads or video views)
  • Organic Conversions (leads created in SF by a contact form completion)
  • Organic Qualified Conversions (leads in Salesforce that were converted)
  • PPC Clicks
  • PPC Goals
  • PPC Conversions
  • PPC Qualified Conversions
Assigning Values

We created a tracking spread sheet and took a month snapshot of the metrics above and assigned a value to each.  This was difficult due to the nature of the business, specifically the long sales cycles and the lack of ecommerce. This made it hard to estimate the value of a website visit, but make sure to assign values that work for your business.

Calculating Return on Investmentppc, seo roi, salesforce.com

Next we needed to establish what effect an increased spend in SEO/PPC would have on our metrics. For this we depended on our SEO contractor who projected a 5% increase in metrics over the first 6 months and a 10% over the first year. By using these numbers, and the values we assigned to each metric, we were able to establish the return on investment we hoped to achieve with the additional spend. Using the ROI as the main point of the business case for the project enabled us to get the funding necessary to get it started. 

Analyzing the effectiveness of the SEO /PPC Program

Fast forward 6 months and it’s time to create the SEO budget for next year, based 6 months of data. 

Before Bizible we were logging into Google Analytics each month and trying to match up the number of conversions Google Analytics tracked with the number of leads that were created in Salesforce, specifically paying attention to organic search leads and paid leads since they are the metrics we track to establish success of our SEO program.  With Bizible, the information is already in Salesforce for us. The tool automatically populates custom Bizible fields with how the lead reached our website and when and where exactly they filled out the contact form.  By creating a summary report over time, we can establish if the investment resulted in an increase in leads generated from pay per click campaigns and organic search.  Filtering the same report by converted leads enabled us to establish if we were seeing the expected rise in “qualified conversions”. 

With the data Bizible provides and the values we assigned above we can identify what the ROI is for our SEO activity in terms of lead generation.  The rest of the data is easily pulled from Google analytics and the results of the analysis prove the added spend and effort for our six month trial period resulted in an average of 210% return on investment.  

Learn more about Elisabeth on LinkedIn!

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Topics: salesforce, roi, ppc, SEO

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