How to Maximize SEO ROI
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has evolved from a mysterious buzz phrase that savvy business owners used to seek out to be cutting-edge results, to an everyday effort used by most website owners. Today it has been formulated into a-la-carte programs offered by all sorts of marketing agencies (both reputable and not-so reputable), but how do you know what you are paying for and whether it is returning an acceptable Return on Investment (ROI)?
Your SEO program should be aligned with your business goals. You may have received a negative review that you want to push down in search results, you may have competition that you want to outrank, or you may just be a law firm owner who wants more clients. Whatever your goals are for your SEO program, they should be identified from the beginning so you can define success.
A typical law firm’s goal for a website is to rank on the first page for a specific set of keywords that produce a high volume of searches. For example, “personal injury attorney” or “criminal defense attorney”. Ranking highly for these keyword phrases will be difficult because they are so generic and because the sites that typically rank at the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for these keyword phrases are often nationally recognized legal directories like findlaw.com or lawyers.com. Still, if you do your best to at least improve your rankings for that keyword, say from the fourth page (position 35) to the second page (position 15), it is likely that you will also improve for other keywords even more significantly. For example, “personal injury attorney in Mobile, AL” or “criminal defense attorney in my area”.
If no business goals are clearly defined the default goal is to increase overall organic traffic. This is a good goal to have because it also produces good return on investment since organic traffic often turns into conversions. These people may watch a video, call the firm, fill out a form, ask a question, etc.
Still, it is beneficial to have clear goals so that you can target your traffic increases for one lucrative segment of your prospective clients. Sometimes an agency will make recommendations on which keywords to target based on current rankings of the website. At Sundown Legal Marketing, we do this for our clients through the use of a tool called SEMRush. This process is outlined in our article on “Striking Distance Keywords”.
Once keywords are identified, and SEO work has been done to the website, you are ready to start reviewing results. Any improvement in ranking has value even if it is just an incremental change (i.e. moving from page 4, position 38, to page 2, position 12). However, value is in the eye of the beholder, so how much you should pay per keyword at this stage is difficult to say.
However, once the keywords move into the top 10, or page 1, then you can very easily place a dollar value on the keyword because you can compare it to the cost of purchasing a Google ad for that keyword.
To calculate the value of a keyword, look up the average volume for that keyword by utilizing a third party tool (we use SEMRush), then multiply that by a typical Click Through Rate (CTR) of 2%, then multiply that by the average cost of that keyword according to the Google Keyword Planner. So if SEMRush says the keyword receives 2,900 monthly visits, and the Keyword Planner says your keyword costs $5/click, and you factor an industry standard 2% CTR, then a keyword that is showing your website organically in the top 10 spots could be worth up to $290 per month. You could take a little bit of value off each position as it goes down. For example, $290 for position 1; $260 for position 2, and so on.
This is all just to put a value on a keyword. Doing things like this help us determine the return on investment of our SEO programs. It is essentially the method that paid search managers use and it is a way to help you understand where your money is going when you have a Digital Marketing campaign.
At Sundown Legal Marketing we like to take the smoke and mirrors out of our campaigns and be as transparent as we can. If you are unhappy with the service your current marketing agency is providing, or feel that they are not returning an acceptable ROI, please call us for a free initial consultation! Our team of legal marketing experts is ready to help you craft an internet marketing campaign for your law firm. We can be reached at (800) 864-1764 or through our website contact form.