Chapter 4: How to Evaluate SEO to Drive Better Results

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How to Evaluate SEO to Drive Better Results

No search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is complete without a solid plan for tracking and evaluating your results. Measuring your SEO helps you improve your search engine performance, calculate your SEO ROI, and ensure your tactics drive the outcomes you need.

In this section of our SEO guide for marketing managers, we'll discuss the importance of tracking SEO results and how to monitor and evaluate your SEO.

Want a quick way to check where you stand with your website's SEO? Try our free SEO checker.

Watch our video featuring tips for measuring SEO success

Why track SEO results?

Tracking and measuring your results is crucial for marketing. SEO is no exception.

Why is it so important to evaluate SEO efforts and measure their results?

SEO requires maintenance

SEO offers the advantage of long-term value, but it's not a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. To preserve your rankings and organic traffic, you need to perform regular SEO maintenance.

With SEO, you face constant competition, as other websites continually publish new content and update their existing content. To keep up, you have to do the same.

Google also regularly updates its algorithms to rank search results, so you need to adjust your strategies according to these updates.

When you measure your SEO, you can keep a better eye on what content you need to update and determine what changes you need to make.

Evaluating SEO helps you improve your tactics

Measuring your SEO also helps you improve your strategies and tactics in a more general sense.

You can see which methods are performing best and concentrate more of your efforts on those tactics. You can also determine what's not working and what you need to change.

For example, you might find your website ranks particularly well for a certain set of keywords. This would give you insight into your audience's interests and what Google believes your pages discuss.

You might also find that pages with videos perform well with organic visitors, leading you to create more videos for your pages.

Measuring SEO helps you demonstrate the value of SEO

To prove the value of your SEO efforts to company decision-makers, you need to track and measure your campaigns' return on investment (ROI).

Gathering performance and ROI data enables you to demonstrate to company leaders the benefits SEO provides for your business. Convincingly showing your SEO work's value can help you earn more funding for SEO and improve your results even further.

SEO affects your business's bottom line

Having a strong presence in search is essential for today's businesses. More than 90% of online experiences begin with search engines, and more than half of website traffic comes from organic search. What's more, organic traffic captures more than 40% of revenue.

What all this means is that SEO is a strategy worth paying close attention to for your business.

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How to measure the ROI of SEO

So, how do you measure the ROI of your SEO efforts?

You'll need to use the ROI formula:

(Gain from Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment = ROI

To use the formula, gather the numbers you'll put into it. To do this, you'll:

  • Set up conversion tracking
  • Collect your SEO data
  • Filter your conversions by channel
  • Add up your SEO investments
  • Calculate your SEO ROI

Let's look at each of those steps in more detail.

1. Set up conversion tracking

Using Google Analytics, you can determine how much of your revenue came from organic search.

To get started, set up conversion tracking in Google Analytics. The way you go about this depends on how you earn your revenue.

For ecommerce websites

If you run an ecommerce site and make sales directly on your site, Google Analytics can pull revenue data from your transactions.

To start tracking data, enable ecommerce tracking. Then, to access your data, click on Conversions, then Ecommerce, and then Overview.

google analytics ecommerce overview

For lead generating websites

The process is a bit trickier if you don't make sales directly on your website but instead generate leads from your site.

However, you can come up with a useful estimate by setting up goals in Google Analytics.

First, go to Admin and select Goals under View and set up goals representing your on-site conversions, such as form submissions or phone calls. Then, assign estimated values to those conversions based on past sales data.

google analytics goals overview

2. Collect your SEO data

Once you have tracking set up, Google Analytics will start collecting data about your SEO campaigns and website activity.

You'll have to wait at least a month to gather enough data to get useful insights.

If you're just getting started with SEO, you'll likely have to wait three to six months to see an impact. SEO is a long-term strategy. It takes time to start seeing an ROI, but SEO delivers meaningful results over the long term.

You'll want to track your SEO data continuously. Consider measuring it by month, quarter, and year.

3. Filter your conversions by channel

Next, you'll need to filter your conversions by channel to see which ones came from SEO.

To do this, in Google Analytics, go to Conversions, then Multi-Channel Funnels, and then Assisted Conversions.

Leads and customers often have multiple interactions with your website before they convert. For this reason, it's important to use the Assisted Conversions report. This report divides the value between the various touchpoints.

google analytics assisted conversions

For example, if someone found your site via a search engine but then returned the next day via an ad and converted, the Assisted Conversions report would divide the value between these two channels.

At the top of the page in the Assisted Conversions report, choose Conversions at the top of the page.

The report will then show you your conversions sorted by the channel they came from. The conversions in the Organic Search channel came from search engines and can be attributed to your SEO efforts.

4. Add up your SEO investments

You'll need to determine how much you've invested into your SEO to determine how much you gained from it. To get this number, add up your SEO investments.

If you work with an agency for all your SEO efforts, this number may simply be the cost of your SEO services. If you do some SEO in-house, you'll need to determine how much time employees spend on SEO.

Don't forget to include the costs of any tools you use as part of your SEO strategy.

5. Calculate your SEO ROI

Using the above methods, calculate your costs and revenue for a certain period, such as a month or quarter. Make sure you compare costs and returns for the same period.

Then, plug those numbers into the ROI formula:

(Gain from Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment = ROI

Tools for measuring and evaluating SEO performance

The tools you choose will play an integral role in how effectively you measure and assess your SEO. You have numerous options when it comes to SEO tracking tools, but here are some of the top candidates.

Google Analytics

We've already discussed how you can use Google Analytics to evaluate your SEO, but this tool is so useful that it's worth mentioning again.

As mentioned earlier, you can use Google Analytics to measure conversions resulting from your SEO efforts and determine your SEO ROI.

You can also explore numerous other metrics that affect your SEO, such as how people arrive on your site and how they interact with your site, including the pages they visit and how long they stay on each page.

And that's just the beginning of this free tool's capabilities.

Google Search Console

Another powerful, free tool for tracking SEO results is Google Search Console, a tool created by Google specifically for monitoring websites' search engine performance.

In Google Search Console, you can check whether Google can crawl and index your pages, how your site is ranking, and how many other websites link to yours.

You can also determine which keywords your pages are ranking for and compare your search engine performance during different periods.

Google Data Studio

Google Data Studio is an excellent tool for analyzing and reporting on your SEO data.

You can pull information into Google Data Studio from tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console and create in-depth reports to help you analyze and visualize your data.

The easy-to-read dashboards are perfect for reporting on your SEO work and demonstrating its value.


MarketingCloudFX is our proprietary digital marketing platform here at WebFX. It includes several powerful tools for tracking your SEO performance.

Powered by IBM Watson, MarketingCloudFX collects billions of data points to help you track campaign performance and make strategic decisions.

AnalyticsFX, one of the tools within MarketingCloudFX, tracks SEO metrics such as keyword rankings, changes in search visibility, and usage of search engine features.

It displays this information in easy-to-read reports and offers AI-powered recommendations for improving search engine performance.

MarketingCloudFX also includes detailed ROI dashboards that make it easy to track and evaluate your SEO ROI over time. These customizable dashboards track various ROI-related metrics and offer helpful visualizations and reports.

In addition to ROI, MarketingCloudFX helps you track your:


Ahrefs is another useful tool for assessing your SEO. You can analyze your entire website's search engine performance, sections of your website, and individual pages.

This tool provides you with lots of valuable SEO performance information, such as your keyword rankings, backlinks, and estimated traffic value.

You can also find data on keywords, such as how many searches they get per month and how difficult they are to rank for, and examine the SEO performance of your competitors' websites.

How WebFX can help you evaluate and improve your SEO

At WebFX, we understand the importance of evaluating your SEO and measuring your campaigns' ROI.

That's why our SEO packages come with advanced performance tracking tools and regular reporting.

When you work with us, you'll get access to MarketingCloudFX and the powerful SEO tracking, analysis, and reporting capabilities it provides.

You'll also receive regular reports from your account manager, updating you about your campaigns' progress and results.

Plus, you'll have a team of more than 300 digital marketing experts on your side that's focused on driving positive ROI and meaningful results for your business. Over the past five years, we've driven more than $2.4 billion in results for our clients.

If you'd like to learn more about how we can help you track, analyze, and improve your SEO ROI, contact us online or call us today at 888-601-5359!