How to Prove the Value of SEO

Discover the undeniable value of SEO for businesses and learn how to effectively measure its impact on revenue, market share, and other key business metrics.
  • Portrait of a smiling man with beard wearing a light blue shirt,
    Trevin Shirey VP of Marketing
    Author block right corner shape
  • October 25, 2023
  • 5 min. read

Is SEO worth it? If I had a dollar for every time I was asked that question…well, you know the drill. It’s a question that gets asked by startups, mid-sized businesses, and mega-corporations. Is investing in SEO going to impact the right KPIs?

Almost always, the answer is a resounding yes. SEO is worth it.

But I won’t leave you high and dry with a one-word answer. So let’s dive in a little bit deeper and explore the value of SEO and how to prove it.

The value of SEO for businesses

SEO is now the most popular marketing channel. What a meteoric rise from even the early 2010s when SEO was often misunderstood and underutilized.

Why is SEO so popular? A few reasons, including:

Return on investment (ROI)

To start, for many businesses, SEO’s one of the highest ROI marketing channels.

Billions of people turn to search engines to find answers to questions, conduct research, and make purchases. Search engines, especially Google, are the starting point for many purchases and businesses have reaped the benefits of that over the years.

Conversion rate

Another reason SEO is so valuable is it typically converts to revenue at a higher percentage than most marketing channels. SEO is an inbound-based marketing channel, meaning that it allows interested customers to seek out your business.

If somebody is searching for “brown slippers” on Google and coming to your shoe website, we know that they are valuable and coming to a page that matches their search intent. The same thing is true for somebody searching for a classic car part…we know exactly what they are looking for and every search visitor coming into that particular car part page on my website was looking for something specific that I offer.

The same can’t be said for a lot of other marketing channels. If your business puts an ad in a magazine, you’ll get lots of eyeballs on it but few, if any, are in your ideal customer profile and interested in your product or service at that exact moment.

Search is a powerful tool that connects consumers to businesses in a highly scalable way. The value of SEO for businesses has never been greater and many make it an integral part of their marketing strategy…as they should.

How to prove SEO value

There are two big mistakes folks make when trying to prove SEO value:

  1. They didn’t generate any value to prove in the first place and
  2. They are trying to prove SEO value by using the wrong metrics.

For those in the first camp who didn’t generate any value from their SEO efforts, read our other blog posts on SEO to learn how to better structure your campaigns, pick better keywords, and make sure you’ve got a good product/market fit for whatever it is your marketing.

Let’s hone in on number two…when people try to prove SEO value by using the wrong metrics.

The biggest issue I’ve seen is people try and justify SEO investment with SEO metrics. They focus on highlighting keyword ranking improvements, jumps in search impressions in Google Search Console, and changes in traffic in Google Analytics.

All of those are fine metrics when it comes to SEO efforts, but when you are trying to prove SEO, you need to tie back SEO efforts to business metrics, not just SEO metrics. Talk about the impact of SEO in terms of things like sales, leads, market share, and revenue.

The biggest SEO fear leadership usually have is that the strategy won’t product a bottom line improvement, so it’s essential to demonstrate that your SEO strategy will grow your company’s bottom line and foster business growth.

Identify the metrics that matter most to the business and build out a marketing funnel showing the growth of not only search traffic but showcase how specifically that search traffic led to business outcomes.

Poor Metrics To Prove SEO Impact

  • Search impressions
  • Keyword rankings
  • Average keyword ranking
  • Domain Rating/Domain Authority

Better Metrics To Prove SEO Impact

  • Lead forms
  • Phone calls
  • Newsletter signups
  • Revenue

This will look a little bit differently for every business model, like a dermatologist practicing SEO vs. an ecommerce store, but typically you should be able to find some correlation between increased search traffic to a particular page and an increase in key conversions from that page if you are properly tracking and attributing everything.

Whether you are a consultant or an in-house SEO practitioner, reporting is king.

You can build an amazing SEO campaign that drives tons of traffic, but unless all the business really cares about is search traffic (rare), you need to connect the dots to revenue-generating metrics to properly showcase your impact.

Tools like Google Analytics 4, Amplitude, Fathom, Twilio, Contact Form 7, and more can be helpful to measure what happens after a search visitor hits a website and connect all of those dots.

Being able to prove the value of SEO is part art and part science. It takes one set of skills to be able to drive the results, but to be able to talk about the value in a way that executives and business owners understand and care about is another skill altogether. Neglect this aspect of SEO at your own peril.

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Prove the value of SEO with

If you are feeling overwhelmed or are looking for a highly technical SEO agency to help connect all the dots from keyword research to search traffic to business outcomes, fill out our contact form.

We’re happy to partner together with you on growing your business through SEO…and we offer plenty of transparent reporting along the way to showcase how it is impacting the business SEO KPIs you care about.

Portrait of a smiling man with beard wearing a light blue shirt,
Trevin serves as the VP of Marketing at WebFX. He has worked on over 450 marketing campaigns and has been building websites for over 25 years. His work has been featured by Search Engine Land, USA Today, Fast Company and Inc.

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