SEO firms often struggle with measuring and communicating the value of their services. Often times they give good qualitative reasons to go with their firm but ignore hard numbers that could help close the deal. As marketers become more accountable for ROI of initiatives such as SEO, it will be important for SEO firms to give accurate projections on how much value they can offer.
So what are the best ways to put a monetary value on natural search traffic? Is it enough to tell a prospective client that your firm can get them on the first page of Google for “xyz widgets”? They may be more concerned with how many new customers you can bring them or how many new leads they will get after doing SEO. Going forward, the discussion will be less about specific rankings and more about the actual ROI from natural search traffic converting into sales or leads.
SEOMoz has a great post on the opportunity gap which is the difference between the status quo and where they could be in terms of search traffic. It’s important to tell prospective clients how much money they’re leaving on the table by NOT doing SEO.
The first step is to figure out how your prospective client measures success – is it simply higher rankings on benchmark keywords, more conversions, more pageviews, or something else? The next step is to ask them specific questions about their current situation that will help you predict what you can do for them. For example, ask them what their current conversion rate is for their existing traffic. Also ask them what % of their overall traffic comes from natural search? If they are willing to tell you this during initial discussions, then you can give them a pretty good estimate on ROI.
The next post will walk through some very basic examples.