Analyzing SEO and Reporting its True Value

 

I am going to outline the process I follow to determine the true value of SEO campaigns.

For any organic search campaign you would be interested in knowing:

  1. How the campaign has performed or is performing?
  2. How people who came to your site consumed and engaged with your contents?

 

The traditional way of doing this is by creating a custom report in Google Analytics:

Fig.1

 

I have been using this custom report for ages. In case you want to use it too, then you can download it from here.

Now the problem with this custom report is that, it reports only those conversions (goal conversions, ecommerce transactions) in which organic search was the last marketing channel a person was exposed to before he/she converted.  So the Goal completions you see in this custom report are the last click goal completions.  Similarly the goal conversion rate you see is the last click goal conversion rate, and the ecommerce conversion rate you see is the last click e-commerce conversion rate.

 

But what about those conversions which SEO campaigns didn’t directly completed but initiated and assisted.  We call such conversions as assisted conversions (any conversion other than the last click conversion).

We can never truly determine the true value of our SEO campaigns unless we don’t start analyzing and reporting the role, organic search campaigns are playing in the overall conversions occurred on our website.

 

“ SEO not only helps in completing a conversion but also help in initiating and assisting the conversions which are completed by other marketing channels (like PPC, Email, Display, Direct, Referral etc). “

 

In other words we need to analyze and report:

 

It is very important that you show to your client/boss and esp. to all the people in your marketing team that how important SEO is to their campaigns’ success and to the overall bottom-line of the company. I use the following conversion segment to determine the true value of SEO efforts:

 

Fig.2

 

In this conversion segment I am selecting all those ‘conversion paths’ in which ‘organic search’ was not the last interaction.  Google Analytics by default follows the last click attribution model. So in Google Analytics non multi-channel funnel reports you see conversion volumes and conversion values for conversion paths in which ‘organic search’ was the last interaction.

That is why in my conversion segment I have excluded all those ‘conversion paths’ in which ‘organic search’ was the last interaction.  In this way I can avoid reporting double counts of last click conversion volumes and conversion values. If all this doesn’t make much sense to you, then I highly recommend you to read the post: How to do Attribution Modeling in Google Analytics – Ultimate Guide. This post explains attribution modeling from start to finish in easy to understand words.

 

Once you have applied this conversion segment to your ‘Top Conversions Path’ report, you will get an insight similar to this:

Fig.3

 

Here we can see that the SEO campaigns assisted in additional 20k+ conversions (goal conversions and ecommerce transactions) whose value is more than $70k.  You can’t get such insight through non-multi channel funnel reports.  But since in multi channel funnel reports, conversions include both Goal conversions and e-commerce transactions, we need to segment the data:

 

Fig.4

 

Now we can see that out of 20,839 conversions, 467 are ecommerce transactions.  These are the transactions which organic search didn’t directly completed but assisted in completing. Without the assistance of organic search these transactions wouldn’t have completed in the first place.  We want to determine the value of these e-commerce transactions. So I will unselect all the goals and then click on the ‘Apply’ button:

 

Fig.5

 

Fig.6

Here we can see that Organic search helped in generating revenue of $40,885 on top of the revenue ($122,211.09) it directly generated (as reported by our custom report above in Fig.1).  Similarly unselect ‘e-commerce’ transaction in Fig.4 and then click on the ‘Apply’ button to determine the total value of assisted goal conversions.

 

Here is how the final SEO report should look like:

 

Similarly you can determine true value of your PPC campaigns, Display campaigns, Email campaigns etc.

Other Posts you may find useful:

 

 

Himanshu Sharma About the Author: is the founder of seotakeaways.com which provides SEO Consulting, PPC Management and Analytics Consulting services to medium and large size businesses. He holds a bachelors degree in ‘Internet Science’, is a member of 'Digital Analytics Association', a Google Analytics Certified Individual and a Certified Web Analyst. He is also the founder of EventEducation.com and EventPlanningForum.net.

My business thrives on referrals, so I really appreciate recommendations to people who would benefit from my help. Please feel free to endorse/forward my LinkedIn Profile to your clients, colleagues, friends and others you feel would benefit from SEO, PPC or Web Analytics.

 

 

  • Rajesh

    Hi Himanshu,
    Thanks for this post. I just want to know where do i get this kind of reports you listed in your posts? Can you suggest me….

    • http://www.seotakeaways.com/ Himanshu

      Hi Rajesh! You need to create the last report yourself in an excel spreadsheet or in Google drive.

  • http://www.gerardrathenau.nl Gerard Rathenau

    Nice post Himanshu. One question:

    30.428 for your goal completions value assisted. I don’t see this figure in your post. How did you compute this assisted value of you goal completions?

    • http://www.seotakeaways.com/ Himanshu

      Hi Gerard! I picked the value from ‘Top Conversions Paths’ report by un-selecting ‘e-commerce’ transaction (in Fig.4) and then clicking on the ‘Apply’ button.

  • http://www.paulmadden.co.uk Paul Madden

    Hit me up I have some work for you :)

    @pauldavidmadden

  • http://www.gerardrathenau.nl Gerard Rathenau

    Thanks for your answer Himanshu. Now I get it. One further comment:

    Is it not better to segment branded and non branded SEO keywords to see the real value of SEO?

    • http://www.seotakeaways.com/ Himanshu

      Hi Gerard! You can do many more things depending upon the business you are in and the KPIs you have selected. The post is more like a baseline framework.

  • http://twitter.com/awanishdubeyad awanish dubey

    U have mentioned all the stuffs related to seo…i had to work hard for my blogs…by the way from last year i used to read seo blogs written by number of different bloggers, but your words make me to post my first compliment….

    • seohimanshu

      glad you like my posts

  • http://twitter.com/vaibhavs12 Vaibhav Suneja

    Similar reporting can be done by paid search guys as well, in which they can show they have helped in Organic Conversions. If in both criteria you select paid search

    Also 1 more thing i noticed that Instead of selecting any interaction from organic we should choose 1st interaction from that source because if i choose any interaction as a option i am getting results like this.
    Paid Search : organic search: paid search
    Paid search: organic search: Direct

    so you can’t take credit of conversions where paid search was 1st source of interaction.
    After selecting 1st interaction from organic search no’s were really different.

    • seohimanshu

      Yes PPC professionals can also create a similar report. Any interaction whether first, middle or last is valuable and worth getting a credit because without it won’t be possible for a visitor to complete the conversion path.

  • Alicia David

    your article is pretty helpful specially you have shared a great info..thanks for the help

    pittsburgh seo