Weekly Wisdom with Ross Tavendale: How To Discover the ROI of SEO

Ross Tavendale

Jul 09, 201910 min read
How To Discover the ROI of SEO
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Modified Transcript 

So we have all been there, right? Senior stakeholders are wondering how to allocate marketing spend for the new financial year, and you are left to work out the market size and potential SEO opportunity for the entire company. Oh, and you have got one week to do it.

So, what do we do in this scenario? Well, we work out some smart ways to understand the size of the market, your core competitors, and the potential traffic and revenue we can drive from good, implemented SEO strategy. Very simply, we are going to use the Supermetrics plugin for Google Sheets and the SEMrush API to get some top-level information to get a rough idea of what we can do for these senior stakeholders. So, you ready? Let's get into it.

Top-Level Search Landscape

All right so the output for this particular Weekly Wisdom, all we want to see is the current state of play. So I want to see the top-level search landscape. Where do you rank? A cut by numbers. A deep dive into the rankings, And just a screenshot from SEMrush's audit tool.

Also, any immediate opportunity and I will show you the formulas for that. Looking at the competitors, if their sites powerful or not, looking at trust flow and citation flow. If we were to get some of their traffic, what that would look like so we can get a rough idea of if it's valuable to go into this industry.

So, for this example, I'm going to use a company called Oak Furniture Land. They have nothing to do with Type E Media. They are not a client; we are just using them as an example. Take a wild guess what they sell as an aside.

So what we want to do here, this is our template. It is where we're going to put in Oak Furniture Land.

We are going to put a one percent conversion rate. I don't have their Google Analytics, but I am assuming they are e-commerce, so it will be somewhere around one percent. Click through data, again I would go into search console, remove brand queries, and work out what they are average click-through rate is and then I would apply their average order volume. In this case, we have said 300. It is not a leap gen site, so I am just going to keep this as 0.

So this is where the magic starts to happen. We are going to use the one and only Supermetrics along with all of the SEMrush API information. And, all I am going to do is go to add-ons, SuperMetrics, and refresh all. Now, the reason why this is so powerful is because what I have done is I have set out my stall with Oak Furniture Land as the domain, and I said to the SEMrush API using super metrics to connect them all up, "Hey, can you just ping cell B1 all the time to get all this information?" So you can see here, it is pulling SEMrush competitors, it is pulling all the keywords, and you see these tabs down here? Well, what it's going to do, it is going to fill it with lots and lots of raw data.

And then from that raw data, you will see something called SEMrush for deck which is essentially the table and the nice visual version of all this stuff that I am going to put in that deck so let's see what it has done.

(3:05)It has pulled all of the keywords they are currently ranking for. You will notice that I have got a little calculation here. So what we have done is this is your traffic percentage, and we divide that by 100 to get it into an easy format to work with:

And then what I do here, is I multiply the traffic percentage by the search volume in the CPC to get a rough idea of what the organic cost is going to be.

Then we go into competitors. So what it has done is it has pulled a bunch of these competitors here, which is great. And then you will see a bunch of pre-populated tables. Ah-ha! You can see here this is the rankings. You can see here this is the amount we get versus the actual cost of the traffic itself.

And here we have got some calculations. So we are looking at the current situation and then the competitor situation. So with the current situation, all we are doing there is taking the amount of traffic of all the keywords they rank for. So of these 10,000 or so keywords, we are just taking all the traffic that is reported in the UK for them, and we are adding it up. It is not super complicated.

Next, we are applying the click-through rate date, which is taken from our setup tab. That then calculates the potential clicks you can get if you apply the same click-through date. And giving it some basic things like "show me the conversion rate at one percent." That is how many sales you would make. If your average order value is 250 pounds, you could expect to make 5,093 pounds for that month.


This method is not insanely accurate, but it does give you an idea of what is physically available in the market place in terms of pounds and pounds. So from here, what I am doing is I'm going into the search landscape section (4.54), and I am pasting it all in. So if I was to do it with the first one, we can see here that this is their top-line information.

So let's get that in there. Now, it is really not about getting the data. It is about the commentary and the analysis of the data. So what I highly recommend is you dig into this, and you write it up for someone who is not a search person. Because these are going to directors, not to SEO people; that is why it is so basic and so high level.

So the ranking for about 10,000 keywords, this is how simple this is, and this gets the conversation with senior stakeholders and gets them to perk up because we are attributing actual values to doing this search work. And as you can see, we have done it in literally two minutes. They are getting some point nine million clicks. And there we go. So what I would be doing here is I would be giving some commentary as to whether or not this is good or bad.

The Drill Down (5:55)

So from this point of view, you can't really tell. Then we want to jump into the drill down. So the cool thing about this is, if I can see, for example, a ranking distributions draft, I can see that there is already ranking on page one for a bunch of stuff. What I want to see is if page two and three and see what the traffic volumes are like there because if there is a lot of information on page two and three, then all I need to do is make minor optimizations to get that through.

So when we look at it here, between position five and ten, they have got 490 keywords that drive about 1.2 million clicks before we even get onto any optimizations. I want to see what those 490 keywords actually are.

It is probably likely that they are mid-terms or head terms and I want to see, of the URL's that are driving this traffic if I can do anything to those URL's to just nudge it.

I am not trying to be a superhero. I am not looking to be number one across the board. I just want an average click-through of three percent. And with that average click-through at three percent, you can imagine the level of traffic you are able to drive in these things that you can't usually see.

Inside these 1.2 million clicks, if I can get the client three to ten percent of those clicks by just bumping them from position eight, on average, to position five on average, you are an absolute hero, but you have not gone in and said, "Oh hey. We are going to make you number one across the board." because that is utterly ridiculous.

And at this stage of a relationship, you just want to know the numbers you are dealing with.

So are we talking about hundreds or thousands or millions? How many pages do you have and how many keywords do you have ranking? How easy is it going to be for us to drive any meaningful results? So we would add our commentary in there.

Speaking to Senior Stakeholders

This isn't really best practice, but if you are speaking to senior stakeholders, do not show them anything that is in-depth technical SEO.

Not only do they not care, but they also don't understand. So this dashboard, I always think is a quite good representation. It is just the front page of the SEMrush site audit tool and seeing that the site health is 41 percent.

That is really obvious, and there are some obvious things we can fix there, and that is actually great news. See when I see I client like this, where their site health is so bad, but we can see that their trust flow and citation flow is good and there is no problem with link power. This is an absolute gift of an SEO account because you are in complete control. You can make changes to the site.

If it was a link building account, then there are a ton of variables where you may or may not get those links. With technical, you just fix whatever broken on your site, and you should start reclaiming traffic.
So, that is how simple this is. We are going to give away this sheet for you. If you go to the Type E Media site and sign up there and we will send it straight out to you, and all you need to do is go, as we said, over to your setup and bang it in there.

Site Power (9:03)

One of the other things I love to do is look at site power. So you can see here, this is all the competitors. So what I can actually do here is take the list here, and copy it. I have got another add on, I love an add on, and I am going to extract Majestic Link data.

So I am going to drop the info in and tell it to show me the key metrics. I am going to get the data and all that is going to do, give me top lines trust flow and citation flow for each of these. There we go. And now what I want to do is I want to insert a bubble chart.

The reason why I want to insert a bubble chart is because I want to see the distribution of citation flow versus trust flow so I can work out, do they need just physical power in terms of links? Do they need volume? Or do they need like high trust? So do I need to be doing high-level PR? Or is it a case of, am I just going to do technical links and just build reclaimed brand links and broken link building and all that good stuff. And that gives you a very good idea of what is going on.

So if I looked at Furniture Village, who are absolutely crushing it when it comes to the link stuff — but then we actually look at them in here, and we are like, hmm, 68,255 keywords, so they are actually killing Oak Furniture Land in the SERPs because they have got almost 7 times the volume of keywords than their competitors have.

So that is almost definitely because they have got more pages and just as this says, they have got a considerably higher trust flow and citation flow. Their link building program is much much better.

Finding the Problem Areas

So when I am putting this into the deck to show the client, I can quickly start to see where the problem areas are and where we need to focus. For these guys, it is very obvious that tech, above else, is everything we need to focus on.

In terms of content, probably not because they are already ranking for a bunch of good stuff and they are doing well for kind of mid-level terms. Link building, yeah maybe a little bit but it is very much going to be on the high end, not on the low end. And the reason we know that is because we can actually see where they stack up compared to the rest of their competitors there.

So we can see the client, the most important thing for you is obviously technical health and if we fix this, we have a feeling that based on the numbers we have got here if we can achieve an average three percent CTR, these are the types of numbers we are going to be hitting.

A Top-Level View

Now, this is a very quick and dirty way of doing this, so it is by no means super accurate. It serves to make it easy to understand and give you a top-level view and also being able to do it in ten minutes so you can have a real conversation with a client or a prospect without killing yourself doing tons and tons of work.

So there you have it; a very simple way to understand the value of SEO inside of your business. If you have got any questions, please feel free to ask them down in the comments. If you found this helpful and you would like that sheet for yourself, please go over to type e media dot net and fill out the contact form and say you have come from SEMrush and we will send the sheet straight over to you.

Author Photo
Ross is the Managing Director at Type A Media, an independent search agency that work with FTSE250 companies and mid-sized brands to help them find the optimal way to talk to more people online. When not obsessing over his clients rankings, he hosts the Canonical Chronicle, a weekly web show watched by 100k people every month. If you want to ask him a direct question you can find him @rtavs on Twitter.