No, we’re not asking if you’re top-ranked on Google; that’s increasingly tough to measure, as Google serves up more personalized results to its users and keeps changing the layout of its pages (for instance, one bit of prime real estate, the “7-pack” of local business listings, disappeared for many searches last summer).
We’re talking about actual people coming to your site and turning into leads for your business. Here are six ways to check the ROI on SEO for a local business:
1. Site Organic Traffic Reports in Google Analytics
The basic role of SEO is to get visitors to your site (for free). Check in Google Analytics under Acquisition/All Traffic for “google/organic” as a traffic source to see the number of sessions and new users generated by SEO.
Sadly, Google only shows you a few search terms as traffic sources, the great majority are lumped together as “not provided”. You can see the keyword report, such as it is, by going to Channels/Organic Search.
2. Landing Pages Organic Traffic Reports in Google Analytics
Create a series of pages on your website, each devoted to a product or service plus names of locations you serve—or the other way around, store location pages that cover products and services. You’ve now created pages with web addresses, titles and on-page terms (“brake repair in Littleton, CO” or whatever) that Google can glom on to.
In Google Analytics, go to All Traffic, “google/organic”, then click Secondary Dimension, click Behavior and Landing Page and you’ll see how each page attracted SEO traffic.
3. Reports on Conversions from SEO in Google Analytics
These are the money makers, the actions that turn site visitors into leads. You can set up Goals in Analytics and see completion of Goals as Conversions. A typical goal would be a visitor landing on a Thank You page after completing a form to request information or to make an appointment. Another goal might be a visitor landing on a driving directions page or map page for your store or clicking on the link for your email address.
After setting up goals, check the Conversions/Goals/Overview section in Analytics and select Source/Medium to see how many Goal Completions started with “google/organic” traffic. You can also see conversions for each landing page on the organic traffic reports for those pages.
(By the way, you can get a count of the clicks on driving directions in Google Maps, another direct result of organic search, as part of the reporting for your Google My Business account.)
4. Leads from Call Tracking Software
Big Caution: Displaying a consistent phone number for your business across the web is an important marker for Google in ranking your site so you never want to only display the call tracking number. Have your web developer code your business phone into the site (using “Schema.org” if you want to get technical) and you must vigilantly monitor and correct your listings on directory sites like internet yellow pages to make sure the tracking number isn’t picked up elsewhere.
5. How Much Money You Saved vs. Paid Advertising for Web Traffic
If you had to pay for the traffic for those landing pages, what would it have cost you? Check the Google AdWords Keyword Planner for the cost per click for “brake repair in Littleton, CO”, etc. and figure it out. Compare that to your investment in time and money in optimizing your site to make it search-engine friendly. Remember that an investment in SEO is a long-term, cumulative play; the longer your site is online, the more links it attracts, the more you improve the content, the better your shot at SEO success.
6. “How’d You Hear about Us?”
Ask customers who walk in or call how they heard about you. If the answer is “the internet”, that’s SEO working.