How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

You’ve spent hours learning the most effective SEO tactics, but they won’t be useful if you can’t measure them.

Measuring SEO return on investment (ROI) involves two factors: KPIs (key performance indicators) and the cost of your current SEO campaigns. Tracking these key metrics monthly enables you to tweak and optimize your strategy, as well as make educated business decisions.

To get the most bang for your buck (or time), consider using Google Analytics (GA) to calculate your ROI. With GA, you can pinpoint where your audience is coming from, set goals to stay on track, and incorporate the most attractive keywords to rank better in search engines.

Ways to calculate your SEO ROI using Google Analytics

#1 Page value

Page value is an important aspect to consider when talking about ROI.

Think about it like money. In the US, paper money has been dated back to the late 1600s as a way of symbolizing the value of something. Instead of bartering, citizens began attaching a value to a 10 dollar bill or a 100 dollar bill to obtain an item they needed that was worth the equivalent value.

Page value assigns an average monetary value to all pages viewed in a session where a transaction took place. Specifically for e-commerce sites, it helps assign a value to non-transactional pages such as articles and landing pages. This is useful to understand because although a blog didn’t necessarily produce revenue, that doesn’t mean it didn’t contribute to a customer’s buying decision in the future.

With lead generation pages, a value can be assigned to a goal like the contact form submission, so you can more accurately measure whether or not you’re on track.

Below is a visual that depicts how page value is calculated according to Google:

In the first example, Page B is visited once by a user before continuing to the Goal page D (which was assigned a value of $10) and Receipt page E (which generated $100). That means a single pageview of Page B generated $110, which gives us its Page Value.

In equation form, this is how it looks:

Page Value for Page B =
E-commerce Revenue ($100) + Total Goal Value ($10)
Number of Unique Pageviews for Page B (1)
= $110

But not all pageviews lead to a conversion. That’s why it’s important to keep track of data and recalculate your Page Value as more information comes in. Let’s see how this works with the second example.

How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

Here we see two sessions but only one converted to an e-commerce transaction (session 1). So even if we have two unique pageviews for Page B, the e-commerce revenue stays the same. We can then recalculate our Page B’s Page Value using this new information.

Page Value for Page B =
e-commerce revenue ($100) + Total Goal Value ($10 x 2 sessions)
Number of Unique Pageviews for Page B (2)
= $60

With more sessions and more data, you’ll get a better idea of which pages contribute most to your site’s revenue.

#2 E-commerce settings

If you’re not managing an e-commerce business, skip this section. For those of you who do, there’s a more advanced feature on Google Analytics that can prove extremely useful. By turning on the e-commerce settings, you can track sales amounts, the number of orders, billing locations, and even the average order value. In this way, you can equate website usage to sales information and better understand which landing pages or campaigns are performing the best.

How to turn on e-commerce settings

  • In your Google Analytics left sidebar panel, click on ADMIN > under the VIEW panel (rightmost panel), click on “E-commerce Settings” > Enable E-Commerce > Enable Enhanced E-commerce Reporting.

To finalize this go over to where it says, “Checkout Labeling” underneath the Enhanced E-commerce settings, and under “funnel steps” type in:

  1. Checkout view

  2. Billing info

  3. Proceed to payment

Below is a picture to better explain these steps:

How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

If you have Shopify or Woocommerce, make sure to set up tracking over there, too, so that Google Analytics can communicate and relay this crucial information to you.

Once you have the E-commerce tracking setup, you’ll have access to the following data:

  • An overview of your revenue, E-commerce conversion rate, transactions, average order value, and other metrics

  • Product and sales performance

  • Shopping and checkout behavior

These give you a better understanding of how your customers are interacting with your site and which products are selling the most. In terms of calculating SEO ROI, knowing the steps that your customers take and the pages they view before making a purchase helps you analyze the value of individual pages and also the effectiveness of your overall SEO content strategy.

#3 Sales Performance

Again, this is for e-commerce only. The sales performance feature shows sales from all sources and mediums. You can view data for organic traffic only and identify its revenue.

How to view your sales performance

How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

This gives you an overview of your revenue and a breakdown of each transaction. Tracking this through time and seeing how it trends guides your content strategy.

What is the average transaction amount and what does it tell you about your customers? Does tweaking your copy to promote up-sells or cross-sells have an impact on your per-transaction revenue?

Another set of data that helps you calculate your SEO ROI and optimize your content strategy is your customers’ shopping behavior.

How to see your customers’ shopping behavior in-depth

How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

At a glance, you can see how effective your purchase funnel is – how many sessions continue from one step to the next? How many people went to your page and didn’t purchase, or added to the cart but didn’t follow through with payment?

This helps you identify areas that need more SEO attention. This also helps you draw projections on how much your revenue can increase by optimizing your copy and implementing SEO to boost organic traffic, which helps you get a better idea of your SEO ROI.

For instance, if there’s a high percentage of users visiting your page but not going through the buying cycle, maybe you need to tweak your copy to include searchable keywords or copy that resonates better with your audience.

Additionally, it’s worth remembering that while this does show organic sales, you can’t identify the keyword that led to that sale, but organic traffic can be an indicator of holistic marketing efforts working. For example, PR may increase brand searches on Google.

Quick tip: you can get an idea of which keywords bring in the most traffic to your website with Google Search Console and then follow the navigation history from Google Analytics in order to connect specific keywords with sales.

Overall, to truly measure the ROI of your SEO you need to discover which keywords are working for your business, because although people may be interested in your business due to some amazing PR exposure, they might not actually be interested in your services. To really hit this one home, select keywords that have purchase intent. That way you can attract more qualified leads to your site.

#4 Engagement Events

If you’re not working on an e-commerce site (hint, hint, my fellow B2B marketers), here’s where you’ll want to pay attention. Both e-commerce and lead generation sites can make use of engagement events.

Align with your sales team to assign a value to a goal based on average order value, the average number of sign-ups, and conversion rate. Although useful for e-commerce, these analytics are likely to be most beneficial for lead generation sites who have longer sales cycles and transactions that occur off-site or after multiple sessions (for example, B2B SaaS or a marketing agency).

Examples of engagement events include:

  • Newsletter sign up

  • Contact form submission

  • Downloads

  • Adding to a cart

How to view your campaign engagement data

Below is an image so you can follow along:

How to Calculate Your SEO ROI Using Google Analytics

This type of tracking gives greater insight into how people are interacting with parts of your website, and how engaged they are at different parts of the journey. Use it to set goals for your lead generation and investigate whether or not your SEO efforts are paying off.

Let’s say you find that your website gets a ton of traffic to your services page, and a high percentage of those visitors download a case study. This means they’re interested in what you have to offer and would like to see more case studies from you.

Use ROI calculations to make better strategic decisions for your business

Ultimately, when using Google Analytics for SEO, you should work to align business goals with specific measurable metrics so that you can create a long-term plan for sustainable growth. It’s no secret SEO is a powerful tool for your business, but putting it into an actionable and personalized plan to get the train continuously going uphill is what counts.

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Facebook Moves To Tout Image Rather Than Apologize For Rogue Content: Report

Facebook Moves To Tout Image Rather Than Apologize For Rogue Content: Report

Fb Main Govt Mark Zuckerberg reportedly authorized a new inner work to defend the tech giant’s standing on users’ Information Feeds previous thirty day period, what would be a remarkable change in coverage amid criticism more than the spread of misinformation on social media.

The New York Moments to start with claimed Tuesday that Zuckerberg signed off on the work, termed Undertaking Amplify, in August. That program included proposals to elevate beneficial stories about Facebook on users’ feeds, the site’s most well known part, which includes posts created by Fb by itself. The publication, citing folks familiar with the venture, claimed some top rated officials at the corporation were being shocked at the plan.

Project Amplify has due to the fact been analyzed in a few U.S. cities, the Occasions included. A enterprise spokesperson, Joe Osborne, advised the newspaper that any beneficial posts were part of a “test for an informational unit” and “clearly marked as coming from Facebook,” linking them to other company’s corporate accountability packages.

Osborne afterwards explained on Twitter that there experienced been “zero changes” to the way Facebook’s Information Feed ranked posts.

But the venture is a departure from Facebook’s past attempts to merely apologize for troubles stemming from misinformation and detest speech. Zuckerberg himself became the public deal with of these efforts, apologizing for Russian influence strategies that proliferated on the site in the course of the 2016 election and pledging to enhance transparency.

The tech information web site The Details 1st described in May that Zuckerberg wished to recast himself from disaster manager to tech innovator and has used 2021 highlighting Facebook’s developments somewhat than conveying its detriments. 

Nonetheless, the firm has faced a barrage of criticism, notably throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting executives to launch Venture Amplify.

The Times’ story follows a sequence of bombshell experiences by The Wall Avenue Journal past 7 days primarily based on inside paperwork alleging Fb downplayed the detrimental consequences of Instagram on younger ladies and didn’t acquire harsh motion even as it saw COVID-19 vaccine misinformation unfold on its platform.

Fb vehemently objected to the characterizations, stating the Journal revealed a “lopsided view” of its procedures.

“This impugns the motives and hard perform of 1000’s of scientists, coverage specialists and engineers at Fb who try to increase the quality of our items, and to understand their wider (good and negative) effects,” Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president of world-wide affairs, wrote in a blog site submit this weekend.

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Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

I recently dug into over 50,000 title tags to understand the impact of Google’s rewrite update. As an SEO, this naturally got me wondering how the update impacted Moz, specifically. So, this post will be a more focused examination of a site I have deep familiarity with, including three case studies where we managed to fix bad rewrites.

As an author, I take titles pretty personally. Imagine if you wrote this masterpiece:

… and then you ended up with a Google result that looked like this:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Sure, Google didn’t do anything wrong here, and it’s not their fault that there’s an upper limit on what they can display, but it still feels like something was lost. It’s one thing to do a study across a neutral data set, but it’s quite another when you’re trying to understand the impact on your own site, including articles you spent hours, days, or weeks writing.

Moz rewrites by the numbers

I’m not going to dig deep into the methodology, but I collected the full set of ranking keywords from Moz’s Keyword Explorer (data is from late August) and scraped the relevant URLs to pull the current <title> tags. Here are a few of the numbers:

  • 74,810 ranking keywords

  • 10,370 unique URLs

  • 8,646 rewrites

Note that just under 2,000 of these “rewrites” were really pre-update (…) truncation. The majority of the rest were brand rewrites or removals, which I’ll cover a bit in the examples. The number of significant, impactful rewrites is hard to measure, but was much smaller.

Where did Google get it right?

While I have reservations about Google rewriting title tags (more on that at the end of this post), I tried to go into this analysis with an open mind. So, let’s look at what Google got right, at least in the context of

(1) Removing double-ups

Our CMS automatically appends our brand (“ – Moz”) to most of our pages, a situation that’s hardly unique to our site. In some cases, this leads to an odd doubling-up of the brand, and Google seems to be removing these fairly effectively. For example:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

While the CMS is doing its job, “Moz – Moz” is repetitive, and I think Google got this one right. Note that this is not simple truncation — the additional text would have easily fit.

(2) Those darned SEOs!

Okay, I’m not sure I want to admit this one, but occasionally we test title variations, and we still live with some of the legacy of rebranding from “SEOmoz” to “Moz” in 2013. So, some areas of our site have variations of “ | SEO | Moz”. Here’s how Google handled one variety:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

While it’s a bit longer, I suspect this is a better extension for our Q&A pages, both for us and for our visitors from search. I’m going to call this a win for Google.

(3) Whatever this is…

I have no idea what the original intent of this <title> tag was (possibly an experiment):

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

While there’s nothing terribly wrong with the original <title> tag, it’s probably trying too hard to front-load specific keywords and it’s not very readable. In this case, Google opted to use the blog post title (from the <H1>), and it’s probably a good choice.

Where did Google get it so-so?

It may seem strange to cover examples where Google did an okay job, but in some ways these bother me the most, if simply because they seem unnecessary. I feel like the bar for a rewrite should be higher, and that makes the gray areas worth studying.

(4) Shuffling the brand

For some of our more evergreen pieces, we put the Moz brand front-and-center. In a number of cases, Google shuffled that to the back of the title. Here’s just one example:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this rewrite, but why do it? We made a conscious choice here and — while the rewrite might be more consistent with our other content — I’m not sure this is Google’s decision to make.

(5) Double-brand trouble

This is a variation on #4, conceptually. Some of our Whiteboard Friday video titles end in “- Whiteboard Friday – Moz”, and in this example Google has split that and relocated half of it to the front of the display title:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Whiteboard Friday is a brand in and of itself, but I have a feeling that #4 and #5 are really more about delimiters in the title than the brand text. Again, why did this trigger a rewrite?

You might be thinking something along the lines of “Google has all the data, and maybe they know more than we do.” Put that thought on hold until the end of the post.

(6) The old switcheroo

Here’s an example where Google opted for the post title (in the <H1>) instead of the <title> tag, with the end result being that they swapped “remove” for “delete”:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

This isn’t really a single-word substitution (so much as a total swap), and I don’t know why we ended up with two different words here, but what about the original title — which is extremely similar to the post title — triggered the need for a rewrite?

One quick side note — remember that Featured Snippets are organic results, too, and so rewrites will also impact your Featured Snippets. Here’s that same post/rewrite for another query, appearing as a Featured Snippet:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Again, there’s nothing really wrong or inaccurate about the rewrite, other than a lack of clarity about why it happened. In the context of a Featured Snippet, though, rewrites have a greater possibility of impacting the intent of the original author(s).

Where did Google get it wrong?

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for — the examples where Google made a mess of things. I want to be clear that these, at least in our data set, are few and far between. It’s easy to cherry-pick the worst of the worst, but the three examples I’ve chosen here have a common theme, and I think they represent a broader problem.

(7) Last things first

Here’s an example of rewrite truncation, where Google seems to have selected the parenthetical over the main portion of the title:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Many of the bad examples (or good examples of badness) seem to be where Google split a title based on delimiters and then reconstructed what was left in a way that makes no sense. It seems especially odd in the case of a parenthetical statement, which is supposed to be an aside and less important than what precedes it.

(8) Half the conversation

In other cases, Google uses delimiters as a cutting-off point, displaying what’s before or after them. Here’s a case where the “after” approach didn’t work so well:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

This is user-generated content and, granted, it’s a long title, but the resulting cutoff makes no sense out of context. Standard (…) truncation would’ve been a better route here.

(9) And another thing…

Here’s a similar example, but where the cutoff happened at a hyphen (-). The title style is a bit unusual (especially starting the sub-title with “And”), but the cutoff turns it from unusual to outright ridiculous:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Again, simple truncation would’ve been a better bet here.

I get what Google’s trying to do — they’re trying to use delimiters (including pipes, hyphens, colons, parentheses, and brackets) to find natural-language breaks, and split titles at those breaks. Unfortunately, the examples demonstrate how precarious this approach can be. Even the classic “Title: Sub-title” format is often reversed by writers, with the (arguably) less-important portion sometimes being used first.

Three case studies (& three wins)

Ultimately, some rewrites will be good-to-okay and most of these rewrites aren’t worth the time and effort to fix. Over half of the Moz <title> rewrites were minor brand modifications or brand removal (with the latter usually being due to length limits).

What about the objectively bad rewrites, though? I decided to pick three case studies and see if I could get Google to take my suggestions. The process was relatively simple:

  1. Update the <title> tag, trying to keep it under the length limit

  2. Submit the page for reindexing in Google Search Console

  3. If the rewrite didn’t take, update the <H1> or relevant on-page text

Here are the results of the three case studies (with before and after screenshots):

(1) A shady character

This one was really our fault and was an easy choice to fix. Long story short, a data migration led to a special character being corrupted, which resulted in this:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

I’m not blaming Google for this one, but the end result was a strange form of truncation that made “Google Won’t” look like “Google Won”, and made it appear that this was the end of the title. I fixed and shortened the <title> tag, and here’s what happened:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Interestingly, Google opted to use the <H1> here instead of the shortened <title> version, but since it fixed the main issue, I’m going to call this a win and move on.

(2) Change isn’t easy

Here’s another one where Google got it wrong, breaking the <title> tag at a parenthetical that didn’t really make any sense (similarly to the examples above):

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Since this was a recent and still-relevant post, we were eager to fix it. Interestingly, the first fix didn’t take. I had to resort to changing the post title (<H1>) as well, and removed the parentheses from that title. After that, Google opted for the <title> tag:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

This process may require some trial-and-error and patience, especially since the GSC reindexing timeline can vary quite a bit. Most of these updates took about a day to kick in, but I’ve recently heard anywhere from an hour to never.

(3) Don’t ditch Moz!

Our final case study is a complex, multi-delimiter title where Google decided to split the title based on a phrase in quotation marks and then truncate it (without the “…”):

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

Although the main portion of the rewrite is okay, unfortunately the cutoff makes it look like the author is telling readers to ditch Moz. (Marketing wasn’t thrilled about that). I opted to simplify the <title> tag, removing the quote and the parentheses. Here’s the end result:

Tackling 8,000 Title Tag Rewrites: A Case Study

I managed to sneak in all of the relevant portion of the title by switching “And” out with an ampersand (&), and now it’s clear what we should be ditching. Cue the sigh of relief.

While there’s potentially a lot more to be done, there are two takeaways here:

  1. You need to prioritize — don’t sweat the small rewrites, especially when Google might change/adjust them at any time.

  2. The bad rewrites can be fixed with a little time and patience, if you understand why Google is doing what they’re doing.

I don’t think this update is cause for panic, but it’s definitely worth getting a sense of your own rewrites — and especially patterns of rewrites — to make sure they reflect the intent of your content. What I found, even across 8,000 rewrites, is that there were only a handful of patterns with maybe a few dozen examples that didn’t fit any one pattern. Separating the signal from the noise takes work, but it’s definitely achievable.

Are rewrites good or bad?

This is an incredibly subjective question. I purposely structured this post into right/so-so/wrong to keep myself from cherry-picking bad examples, and my observations are that most rewrites (even on a site that I take pretty personally) are minor and harmless. That said, I have some misgivings. If you’re happy with the analysis and don’t need the editorializing, you’re welcome to go make a sandwich or take a nap.

It’s important to note that this is a dynamic situation. Some of the rewrites my research flagged had changed when I went back to check them by hand, including quite a few that had reverted to simple truncation. It appears that Google is adjusting to feedback.

This research and post left me the most uncomfortable with the “so-so” examples. Many of the bad examples can be fixed with better algorithms, but ultimately I believe that the bar for rewriting titles should be relatively high. There’s nothing wrong with most of the original <title> tags in the so-so examples, and it appears Google has set the rewrite threshold pretty low.

You might argue that Google has all of the data (and that I don’t), so maybe they know what they’re doing. Maybe so, but I have two problems with this argument.

First, as a data scientist, I worry about the scale of Google’s data. Let’s assume that Google A/B tests rewrites against some kind of engagement metric or metrics. At Google scale (i.e. massive data), it’s possible to reach statistical significance with very small differences. The problem is that statistics don’t tell us anything about whether that change is meaningful enough to offset the consequences of making it. Is a 1% lift in some engagement metric worth it when a rewrite might alter the author’s original intent or even pose branding or legal problems for companies in limited cases?

If you’re comparing two machine learning models to each other, then it makes sense to go with the one that performs better on average, even if the difference is small. Presumably, in that case, both models have access to the same data. With title rewrites, though, we’re comparing the performance of a model to millions of conscious, human decisions that may have a great deal of context Google has no access to. The risk of rewriting is reasonably high, IMO, and that means that small differences in performance may not be enough.

Second — and this is a more philosophical point — if Google has found that certain patterns or title styles result in better performance, then why not be transparent and publish that data? I understand why Google wants to veil the algorithm in secrecy, but they’ve already told us that title rewrites don’t impact rankings. If the goal is to create better titles across the web, then empower writers and content creators to do that. Don’t make those decisions for us.

Ultimately, I think Google moved too far, too fast with this update. I believe they could have communicated (and still could communicate) the reasons more openly without risk to any major secrets and be more conservative about when and if to make changes, at least until these systems have been improved.

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