KPIs can be a tricky thing to explain to clients, especially when they come to you with pre-conceived, out dated notions about SEO – but it’s critical to really work with your them form start, manage expectations and set clearly defined goals.
One thing I explain over and over and over again is that Rankings while important are not a good KPI. People may disagree with me, but the fact is it’s impossible to know how you will rank for every term and factors like local search completely changes the game. As I tell my clients, just because we’re searching in London for ‘widgets” and you Rank #3 doesn’t mean if I am in Nottingham the rankings will be the same for “widgets”.
That is why we focus on CPA (cost per acquisition) and ROI (return on investment). Every client I have encountered agree on one thing; they want more business. When I put together a proposal I focus on talking about getting them new business at the lowest CPA of all their marketing objectives / directives.
One way we report on ROI is the following:
- Number of leads via contact method A x (marginal lead value x conversion rate for contact method A)
- This gives you the value of the leads generated via contact method A (for example, via phone).
- Then you can enter this value into a standars ROI formula which takes into account the clients spend required to generate the leads, and voila, for every $ spent the client knows approximately how many $ have been generated in return.
Now granted, this calculation does require input from the client (av lead value and conversion rates for contact methods) but it’s worth the effort – these numbers help show the effectiveness of SEM in gathering leads, and how much those leads are worth in dollar terms. Invaluable to any business owner.
Of course we do also provide technical metrics in our reports EG Unique User Growth, top keywords, non branded traffic, (with month on month and year on year comparisons), and we do also provide ranking indicators - but this is not the focus!
People have been conditioned to seek value in “rankings” rather than tracing those leads back to revenue and the cost to acquire those leads. For me, search has always been and always will be about CPA and ROI. This focus is our creed, motto and drive – It’s the key to a sustainable future and the mindset of our ideal client as an agency….
We are in the business of providing leads cheaper than any other marketing medium.