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One of the most challenging aspects of promoting SEO services to new businesses and contacts is getting in the door.  We are fortunate to have built some name recognition, and to rank well for a wide variety of search-related keywords.  But even with strong inbound traffic getting in front of and helping people realize the impact that good search placement can deliver is difficult.

The amount of SEO-related spam that is delivered on a daily basis to business and website owners often creates the impression that SEO is a shady business, or that SEO companies are willing to use unethical means to try to even temporarily increase search position of a client’s site.  Of course that impression is often incorrect, but it remains an obstacle to get past when explaining SEO services.

Additionally, explaining the advantages of a good position on a search engine results page really does not do justice to the potential revenue that can accompany such placement.  For some, ranking well seems more like a feather in the cap of their business – a point of pride – but with little actual value.  Of course, that position is usually one adopted by the businesses that do not currently rank well.

In order to better approximate the actual value of a well formulated SEO plan, Ryan Kelly, our CEO, has created a more comprehensive ROI Calculator.  Many people tend to focus on just one or two major keywords that they would like to rank better for, but in reality there are potentially hundreds of search terms and phrases that could be providing traffic to a site.  Usually those most-desired keywords also have considerably higher search traffic, and the competition for placement that comes with it.

Targeting several lower trafficked keywords provides an increased likelihood of ranking well, with the additional advantage of being able to target keywords more specifically related to the business model.  By targeting more specific keywords and keyword phrases, we can focus on words and phrases that convert well while lowering the level of competition we are up against.

ROI Calculator SEO


For this example, we’re starting with just nine keywords, but that can be increased or decreased by adding or removing rows.  Also this demonstration assumes that a site currently does not rank within the top three results for any search terms.  We tried to be conservative by using a conversion rate of 2% for our example, but that rate will change dramatically depending on what action actually constitutes a conversion – buying a car will have a lower conversion rate than, for example, filling out a form or even purchasing a book.

As far as instructions go, the orange cells are the cells to edit (on the copy you download, of course).  For keywords, you can create your own, or visit Google’s Adwords site and use their keyword tool by entering a few keywords or by entering your own site to have it generate keywords for you.  That tool can be found here:  You need a (free) account, so sign in, click on Reporting and Tools, then Keyword Tool, and you’re able to enter keywords or your site to generate additional, related keywords.  Enter those in the column marked “Keyword.”  Search Volume will be available in Google’s Keyword Tool as well – copy those figures in column “B” on the spreadsheet.  Then, visit’s website to find out approximately how many views your site has in a month, or if you already  have Analytics installed you can use your actual traffic numbers for column E, row 12.  Estimate your own conversion rate as well as your average revenue per conversion.  Then, the spreadsheet will calculate the potential increased revenue you will likely experience if you’re able to increase the rank of those keywords to one of the top three positions.

Keep in mind as you perform this exercise that the higher the Search Volume of the terms you are targeting, the harder it will be to show up in the top three results.  For example, if you try to target a keyword such as “business,” with search volume of 55,600,000, you probably are not likely to end up anywhere NEAR the first page regardless of how hard you try.  However, if you are looking to target a keyword phrase such as “business owner search,” with 1,300 approximate searches per month, you will likely be able to reach the front page with good content and a solid link building strategy.

We might go in and produce a more polished version of this tool for use on our site, but in the meantime we wanted to share the spreadsheet prototype that we created.  You can download the document from Google Docs here: ROI Calculator for SEO.  I hope you find this tool useful, and if you have any questions, please feel free to let me know!