I’ve found time and again that local business owners want to rank well for local searches but they have a hard time estimating what it is worth to their business. While there is a great article on Determining the Value of SEO over at SEOBook.com, this guide seeks to focus more on the value of local SEO. For this tutorial we will be using examples related to St. Louis SEO terms because this is how we determine the value of ranking for specific terms within our industry.
1. Define Keywords
In order to estimate the value of SEO to your business you first have to define the keywords in which you hope to rank for in Google. I always grade keywords in four main areas to help select the best keywords to target. Evaluate your initial keyword list based on to following criteria:
If you’re new to keyword research I recommend taking a look at the great tutorial by Market Samurai: [The process of actually researching and selecting the right keywords is a different post altogether but for this example we will work from a sample list of keywords that are relevant to our SEO services in St. Louis.
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2. Figure Out Search Volumes
Since this article is focused on determining value of Local SEO for your business we will only be looking at search volumes specific to our geographic region, St. Louis. This step assumes you have a Google Adwords account that you have been using to test search volumes for your terms. If you don’t, there are other less accurate ways to estimate search volumes, but for this tutorial we will focus on the PPC method since it’s the most accurate. To see what other SEO experts had to say about this topic check our LinkedIn Discussion on “What To Do When Google Keyword Tool Shows Not Enough Data.” This is also the main reason I recommend using PPC as a tool to gather market data in the initial phases of your SEO strategy to ensure that you have an accurate projection of what SEO is really worth to your business. So to get your actual impressions/month jump into your Adwords account and navigate to the keywords tab. Here you can find the keywords that you want to estimate the value of SEO. If you’re campaign is regularly limited by your budget then your numbers will be skewed some but you could use the Google Traffic Estimator to figure out what the recommended daily budget is and work backwards to fine tune what your total impressions could be if you had no budget limitations. It’s important to consider this because when valuing SEO you have to keep in mind that there is no “budget limitation” that will cause your site not to appear in the SERP’s. I recommend running the campaign for a month for the most accurate data See the screen shot below of where you can find the search volumes for the keywords we are targeting.
3. Estimate Traffic by Google Position
Here we use the AOL leaked data that shows clickshare by Google rank as shown in the graphic below. (I think it’s from SEOBook) Simply take the traffic estimates we have above
4. Local SEO Value Calculation
So the value calculation should start with the search volume, multiplied by the % of traffic you expect to receive based on your estimated position. I recommend an excel spreadsheet template if you plan on doing this calculation on a recurring basis. This will give you an estimate of the traffic that you might expect in those positions. Once you know the estimated traffic then you should multiply that by your conversion rate. If you don’t have an actual conversion rate then you’ll have to estimate. Conversion rates vary greatly based on your design, conversion path, call to action, and actual type of conversion. Obviously an ecommerce conversion has a higher barrier to enter, than a free whitepaper download so use your best judgement to estimate. Once you have your number of conversions simply multiply that by your average ticket amount and you have a rough calculation of the value of your local SEO.