Running into my tenth year at the helm of an independent performance-focused digital marketing agency, I still — when discussing pain points with prospective clients — see a remarkable number of SEO strategies that are, at best, decoupled from business performance, and, at worst,totally unengaged with wider business performance.Google’s Avinash Kaushik writes excellently on a customer-centric framework for thinking about how individual digital marketing channels can feed into a unified strategy that ultimately drives new customer growth: surely the key goal of any business.

Start with growth: Kill brand!
Before thinking about attribution or STDC, let’s consider SEO fundamentals.If we include brand terms in our assessment of performance, we are looping in all sorts of other marketing activities which we should not be taking credit for.So: filter out brand.Even with no TARDIS-delivered historic data, we can at least take the last 90 days percentage brand rate and remove an equivalent percentage from the organic traffic coming into our website as a starting point for the current generic performance delivery.From there, we can measure the improvement in total click volume from generics over time and apportion that across ongoing organic traffic performance.This will essentially measure incremental improvement from our start date that is delivered by generic term performance improvement.Step one, complete. We have objective measurement of overall improvement in organic performance excluding brand.That means any remaining performance improvement comes from activity you would expect to find in a solid SEO strategy: content adjustment, ranking improvement, SERP click-through rate improvement,etc.

Take it to the bridge revenue
Now that we have a moving objective view on organic performance, we can map back to revenue in our analytics package of choice.I’d like to assume all sites have well set up, fully tagged, e-commerce enabled (or revenue-attributed) event tracking in place.If that’s not the case, take an action and get on it!Mapping to revenue should then be easy.Next, we should take into account any costs you are incurring with your agency.A simple ROAS — (Revenue – Cost) / Cost) — approach is to take our generic-only tracked uplift and compare it back to your agency cost at whatever rate you wish.Typically, it’s worth assessing this weekly or monthly.Higher frequencies are useful for higher spends.So in simple terms, think of your ROI calculation as (Profit – Cost) / Cost, a subtle but important difference required to ensure you are drivingprofitable growth.

Finally: Build in attribution
At this stage, you are exporting web analytics data that is showing incremental organic improvement mapped to generic growth, and you are looking at reporting that maps from keyphrases to their revenue delivered with an ROI calculation on top to show if you are picking the right battles.Now it’s time to improve our accuracy by removing our SEO silo and allowing ourselves to fit into the full, multi-channel, customer conversion path.If you are serious about attribution accuracy, there are limitations to Google’s approach: It doesn’t easily ingest non-digital marketing data silos to reflect the true attribution picture, and of course Google Analytics (not to mention Omniture) are built on sessions rather than customers. So there is an approximation there.If you want to get serious about AI analysis that is truly granular to individual customers, then you have just shown interest in my favorite topic, and I’d be glad to chat about the latest tech in that area — and indeed, that seems like a good subject for future columns!

Final thoughts
The above approach, which doesn’t require cost-prohibitive solutions, is a very solid framework for achieving objective SEO performance measurement, mapping that measurement to insight, and integrating the wider customer journey using sensible attribution choices.It’s fit for all but the largest businesses and will give you insight that’s leading edge about where to focus your SEO efforts.

Source: Searchengineland

Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy.His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.