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Anyone who creates SEO campaigns for a living knows the true value of SEO. It’s written all over every single SERP and boosted conversion rate. But none of that means a thing to a business owner who hasn’t a clue what SEO even is, let alone how it can transform their businesses for the better and affect their bottom line.
So how on earth can you prove the value of good SEO strategy without being so simplistic that it sounds condescending or so complicated that it’s confusing? That’s what I aim to answer for you here today, with a rundown of how I approach proving the value of SEO to my clients so they’re more willing to pay my rates and feel confident that it’s a worthwhile investment for the long term.
Teach Your Clients About SEO
First thing’s first: provide some client education. It’s actually quite detrimental to your workflow and the overall results of your efforts if a client doesn’t have a good understanding of SEO and how it works. But you might think, “Well, they knew enough to hire an expert, isn’t that enough?”
And while I can see how you might reach that conclusion, allow me to explain why that’s not the case. A client who doesn’t understand SEO isn’t going to understand the progress reports you send over with key performance indicators (KPIs) and a list of tasks completed. They won’t understand the metrics you provide or what search engine rankings reports mean, either.
So unless you have a client that doesn’t really care about progress, you’re going to wind up either answering a ton of questions or have a client who doesn’t appreciate your work.
Luckily, there’s no reason for this to happen when so much free education is readily available. You can even prepare some yourself by adding blog posts or static pages to your company website that explain key terms related to SEO as well as how it works.
If you’re strapped for time and don’t want to prep your own educational materials at this time, don’t sweat it. I have a free SEO course for beginners that you can share with your clients. It will give them a taste of what it’s like to do some basic SEO tasks and as a result, will appreciate you a whole lot more.
Prove Your Value
Once your clients have a better understanding of the basics, like the difference between organic search and PPC / paid search, you can start to really provide the details as to the worth of your content marketing strategy. That’s where your detailed reports can be helpful.
Let’s discuss a few key aspects you should include in your monthly reports:
One of the best ways you can prove value is through conversion reports. This is especially applicable if the client runs an eCommerce store, sells digital goods, or earns affiliate income. Your reports can show how your SEO agency has helped them reduce bounce rate, improve click-through rates, and see an overall increase in website traffic as a result of your SEO services.
In your monthly reports, be sure to highlight those things that relate to dollars and cents most of all. Sure, increased website visitors matter a great deal for overall SEO value but a client is going to want to see how your work affected their lead generation, the number of calls they received, and how many contact forms were filled out. Not just the number of eyeballs that landed on their content.
Conversions can mean purchases made as well. So if you can show how getting your client’s website on the first page of the search results thanks to your SEO efforts led to an increase in sales, you go a long way toward proving value.
Additionally, some clients may be interested in the brand side of things. If their primary focus is on increasing brand awareness, use your reports to show how increased search traffic resulted in greater social media followers and engagement.
The best reports often include several of these factors, if not all.
ROI is short for return on investment and is a great way to show your clients the money they’re getting back out of their investment in your services. Your monthly ROI reports can include details about things like how the SEO tools you used impacted search engine results, charts from Google Search Console and Google Analytics, as well as the overall impact increased organic traffic has had on your client’s business.
Many clients will be more impressed with hard data, however. To show ROI, all you need to do is subtract the cost of the investment from the current value of the investment then divide that result by the cost of the investment and multiply it by 100.
((Gain from Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment) * 100
I’ve actually put together a tool you can use to calculate ROI for this very purpose and prepped questions you can ask to get the correct info.
You may also wish to provide the estimated revenue. The formula for figuring this out is as follows:
Customer Lifetime Value x Closing Rate x Number of Conversions = Estimated Revenue
You will need to get some of these numbers from the client to complete the calculation. However, there is a way around it to get a ballpark estimate, at least. You just need to ask a few key questions, which are also included in my ROI calculator tool linked above.
Your SEO Work is Worth It: Now Prove It
It’s not that hard to show how SEO campaigns can make a real impact in a company’s success. You just need to be diligent in collecting data and presenting it in an easily digestible way.
And where there are education gaps between you and the client, provide resources to shine some light on the subject. Clients will know your worth and you’ll feel appreciated. Win-win.
Looking for SEO training? Check out “Bring Home the Bacon“.