SEO Is a Means to an End: How Do You Prove Your Value to Clients?

SEO Is a Means to an End: How Do You Prove Your Value to Clients?

We know full well how our work benefits our clients’ websites. What’s organic traffic worth without conversions? Rankings, traffic, and conversions are all critical SEO metrics to track if you want to prove the success of your efforts, but they are all means to an end. Knowing how your client uses their website to make money is key. Set up goals in Google Analytics Once you know what constitutes a conversion on your client’s website (tip #1), you can set up a goal in Google Analytics. For example, if you know that your client closes 10% of the leads that come through contact forms, and the average value of their customers is $500, you could assign a value of $50 per goal completion. Calculate how much you would have had to pay for that traffic in Google Ads I like to use the Keywords Everywhere plugin when viewing Google Search Console performance reports because it adds a cost per click (CPC) column next to your clicks column. Even when it’s not the channel your client’s customer came through, organic may have assisted in that conversion. Go to Google Analytics > Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels. Prior to this, she served as the VP of SEO & Content Strategy at a full-service digital marketing agency for local and multi-local businesses.

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“Prove it” is pretty much the name of the game at this point.

As SEOs, we invest so much effort into finding opportunities for our clients, executing strategies, and on the best days, getting the results we set out to achieve.

That’s why it feels so deflating (not to mention mind-boggling) when, after all those increases in rankings, traffic, and conversions our work produced, our clients still aren’t satisfied.

Where’s the disconnect?

The value of SEO in today’s search landscape

You don’t have to convince SEOs that their work is valuable. We know full well how our work benefits our clients’ websites.

  1. Our attention on crawling and indexing ensures that search engine bots crawl all our clients’ important pages, that they’re not wasting time on any unimportant pages, and that only the important, valuable pages are in the index.
  2. Because we understand how Googlebot and other crawlers work, we’re cognizant of how to ensure that search engines understand our pages as they’re intended to be understood, as well as able to eliminate any barriers to that understanding (ex: adding appropriate structured data, diagnosing JavaScript issues, etc.)
  3. We spend our time improving speed, ensuring appropriate language targeting, looking into UX issues, ensuring accessibility, and more because we know the high price that Google places on the searcher experience.
  4. We research the words and phrases that our clients’ ideal customers use to search for solutions to their problems and help create content that satisfies those needs. In turn, Google rewards our clients with high rankings that capture clicks. Over time, this can lower our clients’ customer acquisition costs.
  5. Time spent on earning links for our clients earns them the authority needed to earn trust and perform well in search results.

There are so many other SEO activities that drive real, measurable impact for our clients, even in a search landscape that is more crowded and getting less clicks than ever before. Despite those results, we’ll still fall short if we fail to connect the dots for our clients.

Rankings, traffic, conversions… what’s missing?

What’s a keyword ranking worth without clicks?

What’s organic traffic worth without conversions?

What are conversions worth without booking/signing the lead?

Rankings, traffic, and conversions are all critical SEO metrics to track if you want to prove the success of your efforts, but they are all means to an end.

At the end of the day, what your client truly cares about is their return on investment (ROI). In other words, if they can’t mentally make the connection between your SEO results and their revenue, then the client might not keep you around for long.

From searcher to customer: I made this diagram for a past client to help demonstrate how they get revenue from SEO.

But how can you do that?

10 tips for attaching value to organic success

If you want to help your clients get a clearer picture of the real value of your efforts, try some…

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