Value Estimation of SEO

One of the fundamental digital marketing practices is doing Search Engine Optimization or SEO as it is better known as. As a practice the importance of SEO lies in the ability to rank one’s website on the top pages of Google Search Engine, the obvious understated benefit being that ranking on the top pages would result in an increase level of organic visits to the website.

Unlike other marketing initiatives, SEO operates in a fairly competitive scenario with multiple competitors trying their best to ensure that they get similar ranking as oneself on page 1 of Google. But the distinct advantage the practice of SEO has over its other digital marketing or traditional marketing initiatives is that what matters most is not the quantum of spends that a brand or company puts into this media but the quality of thought.

As a brand or marketing manager, you can buy yourself into the top radio, TV, print or Google AdWords slot by simply pumping in more money or buying at higher prices. But this is not possible when you are

Authors

Prof. Rajesh Menon

Take the example of Agencyonnet- a company that Atul Jain runs. After 3 years of starting up his company and a million dollars down the drain, he was still nowhere. He was staring at a possible windup of his company should his new pivot of relaunching the product as a B2B SaaS procurement software not take off.

Pre 2016 Background-

Agencyonnet ( www.agencyonnet.com )came into being in early 2013 on the back of a dream to create an online marketplace where companies looking to hire marketing service providers could visit, place their requirements online and have competing small and mid-sized agencies compete for their business.

Atul had largely based his company model on a similar experiment that had been successful in the UK called the Blur Group (www.blurgroup.com). Eager to scale in what appeared to be a large market; Atul launched his platform simultaneously in three markets- Australia, India, US and the Middle East.

Within 6 months of launch, Atul realized that marketplace was floundering. While he had been able to ramp up over 1000 marketing vendors on the platform and was able to generate serious enquiries from potential clients on the platform, the response of vendors to proposals was very lukewarm.

Both clients and vendors quickly lost interest on the platform and within a year Atul was back to the drawing board.

The Pivot

Atul decided to pivot his online marketplace and create a B2B SaaS product aimed at helping drive efficiencies in procurement by providing large companies fully automated procurement software running on the cloud.

The competitive environment and positioning for Agencyonnet is shown below

In 2016, Atul decided to go back to the drawing board one last time and re-engineer the product to suit the market. He decided to focus Agencyonnet as a general procurement software solution

The key product and market inputs he made in his final plan were:-

  1. The product would be sold as a B2B SaaS software.
  2. It would be a DIY product which meant that potential customers would pay for the product online and start using it. Hence the re-engineered product was designed to be simple to understand how to use.
  3. Pricing was based on a per user per month model, starting with a free model for a single user licence going upto a 15 user licence per month. Prices ranged from $145 per month per user at the lowest level and went down to $95 per user per month at the highest slab of users.
  4. Since this was now a DIY product, Atul realized that India was no longer a market given the fact that the adoption of DIY products in this space in India was very low. Instead he decided to focus his attention in the US which already had several procurement software solutions, given the fact that it was the world’s largest market accounting for nearly 40% of the total revenues of all procurement software companies.
  5. Atul also decided that within the digital marketing domain, Search Engine Optimization would play a critical role in driving potential
    users to his website. Moreover being short of further investible funds, he turned his back to media advertising and instead chose to go the long run route of using SEO to build his company’s awareness.

The SEO approach

Atul carefully calibrated his SEO approach using two pillars:

  1. Building content led strategy that would act as informational knowledge magnets for potential users who were looking for information on procurement and outsourcing – a key segment that he was targeting. Accordingly several long form articles, case studies and thought leadership articles were commissioned by Atul to build the content around the company’s product and domain.
  2. Building on-page and off-page SEO activities that would help propel his website into the top ranked pages within the key potential search segments he had identified.

Key results 6 months later

Using data points derived from his Google Search Console (GSC), he analysed his SEO impact over the past 3 months

Table 1: Search Query Data

– below gives the 3 months data points of Google Search Console.

Queries

refer to actual search words entered by real users on Google Search while searching for relevant information.

Impressions

refer to the number of times a particular url of Agencyonnet was shown to the user in his search result

CTR

as a percentage refers to impression over clicks /impression x 100 and is a term used to determine effectiveness in digital campaigns. The higher the CTR, the more effective the creative or campaign is expected to be.

Position

refers to the rank position the url that was shown in Google Search Results. Normally there are about 10 organic search results that appear on each page of Google. So a rank of 2.2 as shown in row 1 indicates that the average position for the 1469 impressions the average url position was 2.2. The lower a rank position indicates a better position. A rank position for example of 32 would indicate that the url was shown in page 4 of google on the top.

Queries
Clicks
Impressions
CTR
Position
procurement companies
218
1469
14.84%
2.2
procurement outsourcing
84
2384
3.52%
7.1
top procurement consulting firms
81
309
26.21%
1.3
top 10 procurement consulting firms
76
301
25.25%
1.6
procurement company
58
1048
5.53%
6.6
best procurement companies
41
265
15.47%
1.2
top procurement companies
40
388
10.31%
1
top procurement outsourcing companies
38
262
14.50%
1
top procurement companies in India
37
103
35.92%
1
best procurement companies in the
world
36
124
29.03%
1.1
procurement consulting firms
26
474
5.49%
5
procurement firms
26
210
12.38%
2.1
procurement outsourcing companies
25
379
6.60%
1.3
procurement service provider
companies
25
108
23.15%
3
procurement companies in India
23
88
26.14%
6.1
procurement outsourcing companies in India
23
86
26.74%
2
list of procurement companies in India
21
78
26.92%
1.5
procurement company names
21
50
42%
1.1
top procurement consulting companies
20
64
31.25%
1.8
b2b marketplace Europe
19
135
14.07%
4.5
procurement service provider
18
845
2.13%
7.1
procurement services companies
17
574
2.96%
3.5
top 10 procurement companies
17
59
28.81%
1
best procurement consulting firms
17
42
40.48%
1.8
procurement companies in USA
16
127
12.60%
3.2
procurement services providers
16
332
4.82%
6
procurement business names
15
63
23.81%
1.4
outsource purchasing
14
92
15.22%
4.5
b2b platform Europe
14
122
11.48%
4.6
procurement consulting companies
13
371
3.50%
4.5
best procurement companies to work
for
13
94
13.83%
2.7
outsourced procurement services
13
98
13.27%
4.5
outsourced procurement companies
12
61
19.67%
1.1
list of procurement companies
12
84
14.29%
1.1
e procurement companies list
12
141
8.51%
5.8
procurement bpo
12
485
2.47%
10
purchasing outsourcing companies
11
83
13.25%
1.5
third party procurement services
10
81
12.35%
4.5
Europe b2b marketplace
10
96
10.42%
4.1
sourcing and procurement companies in
India
10
54
18.52%
4.7
outsourcing procurement
10
216
4.63%
9.4
outsourced procurement
9
155
5.81%
7.7
b2b marketplaces
9
501
1.80%
20
outsourcing procurement companies
8
42
19.05%
1.9
role of marketing in procurement
8
16
50%
1.9
procurement outsourcing providers
8
250
3.20%
1.7
Europe b2b websites
7
38
18.42%
2.7
European b2b marketplace
7
231
3.03%
4.2
procurement outsourcing companies in USA
7
15
46.67%
1.8
outsource procurement
7
87
8.05%
8.2
b2b marketplace in Europe
7
60
11.67%
3.5
what is marketing procurement
7
84
8.33%
8.3
procurement consultancy firms
7
131
5.34%
10
procurement bpo companies
6
130
4.62%
1
procurement service company
6
34
17.65%
5.2
procurement service providers
6
207
2.90%
6.8
purchasing outsourcing
6
171
3.51%
5.6
key procurement skills
6
111
5.41%
7.7
it procurement companies
6
20
30%
1.4
procurement consulting firm
6
73
8.22%
7.7
marketing procurement
5
138
3.62%
22
global b2b marketplace
5
373
1.34%
9.5
b2b services marketplace
5
114
4.39%
6.8
procurement services provider
5
144
3.47%
7.5
sourcing and procurement companies
5
78
6.41%
3.1
procurement services company
5
61
8.20%
4.4
procurement skills
5
415
1.20%
13
procurement bpo providers
5
123
4.07%
1.1
b2b website in Europe
5
29
17.24%
5.6
outsourced purchasing services
4
29
13.79%
3
b2b market places
4
89
4.49%
10
outsourcing purchasing
4
110
3.64%
8.4
b2b Europe
4
34
11.76%
33
procurement provider
4
92
4.35%
7.9
b2b Europe marketplace
4
50
8%
4.2
supplier scoring
3
53
5.66%
6.2
knowledge and skills for procurement
manager
3
29
10.34%
11
top b2b marketplace
3
94
3.19%
9.2
procurement outsource
3
60
5%
8.9
business procurement outsourcing
3
71
4.23%
4.4
indirect procurement outsourcing
companies
3
98
3.06%
1
outsourcing procurement services
2
10
20%
6.5
procurement outsourcing service
providers
2
7
28.57%
1
top 10 b2b websites in the world
2
62
3.23%
12
procurement process outsourcing
2
164
1.22%
8.5
outsourced purchasing
2
57
3.51%
4.7
b2b marketplace sites
2
199
1.01%
44
procurement outsourcing firms
2
97
2.06%
1.1
GEP revenue 2016
2
11
18.18%
19
marketplaces b2b
2
15
13.33%
20
Europe b2b
2
43
4.65%
7.1
procurement sourcing companies
2
2
100%
3.5
it procurement outsourcing
2
97
2.06%
6
companies that provide outsourcing
services
2
63
3.17%
8.9
top 10 b2b marketplace
2
12
16.67%
8.8
top 10 b2b companies in world
2
42
4.76%
11
procurement operations outsourcing
1
98
1.02%
5.8
supplier evaluation form
1
3
33.33%
120
marketing procurement best practices
1
68
1.47%
8.6

According to the GSC data, the top 100 search queries resulted in a total of 1473 clicks out of a total impression of 18135 impressions with an average CTR of 8.2%.

As can be seen above the top 100 search queries were relevant queries from possible potential users of a procurement software solution.

Table 2: Top level Search Pages URL’s

Pages
Clicks
Impressions
CTR
Position
2546
42999
5.92%
28
419
6808
6.15%
24
101
2534
3.99%
28
84
1013
8.29%
27
80
1457
5.49%
32
37
1607
2.30%
64
28
1023
2.74%
47
10
281
3.56%
35

This table shows the top level page urls that came up on search results and the number of corresponding clicks, impressions, CTR and overall rank position. For example in row one the url http://www.agencyonnet.com/top-10-procurement-outsourcing-companies/ came up 42,999 times and was clicked a total of 2546 times and had a rank position of 28 ( which translates into page 3 of google)

Table 3: Country wise Data

Countries
Clicks
Impressions
CTR
Position
India
817
7876
10.37%
22
United States
727
20264
3.59%
36
United Kingdom
228
2707
8.42%
20
Germany
85
667
12.74%
17
Canada
79
1281
6.17%
24
Nigeria
66
618
10.68%
12
South Africa
56
571
9.81%
12
Kenya
53
495
10.71%
7.9
United Arab Emirates
51
495
10.30%
14
Pakistan
50
864
5.79%
27
France
45
551
8.17%
26
Singapore
42
561
7.49%
23
Netherlands
41
619
6.62%
22
Australia
38
766
4.96%
19
Malaysia
38
534
7.12%
28
Philippines
36
776
4.64%
36
Italy
31
635
4.88%
29
Indonesia
30
746
4.02%
31
Russia
27
1498
1.80%
35
Poland
26
458
5.68%
34
Thailand
25
477
5.24%
29
Uganda
24
181
13.26%
6.2
Romania
24
328
7.32%
39
Spain
24
496
4.84%
34

This table shows which country the search query emanated from and the corresponding clicks, impressions, CTR and rank position for that country. As can be seen from row 1 and 2, the overall rank position for the website in India was 22 (page 3 of google) and for United States it was 36 (page 4 of Google)

Summary of GSC Data

As can be seen from a sample of the 3 data tables

  1. The approach of using SEO to reach out to potential users when they are searching for information relating to the product domain is paying off.
  2. Focus of developing relevant content that would appeal to the users is paying off
  3. The search impressions from USA far out exceeds the search queries from other countries

So after 6 months of careful SEO practice, Atul appears to be on the right track w.r.t to his brand.

Now let’s try and estimate the value of the SEO work achieved

Estimating Value

One of the way to estimate the value of SEO is to simply take the value of each click and compute a value. This is by far the simplest manner as it directly takes into account the sum of money that one would have paid otherwise to advertise on Google AdWords

Let’s understand this with an example from the above tables to see how this is done

Monthly search Volume data

This shows 14 keywords culled out form Google AdWords keyword Planner (a tool used to do keyword research) for the search volume in the countries of US and India collectively.

Average Monthly Searches refers to the number of times, a particular keyword or keyword phrase was used in search in a month. Suggested Bid is the approximate bid or Cost per Click (CPC) bid price that Google recommends putting as a competitive bid in order to come up in the top of the page result on page 1. This is a INR rupee value mentioned in the table

Keyword
Avg. Monthly Searches
Suggested bid
procurement companies
480
224.2
procurement outsourcing
390
353.03
top procurement consulting firms
70
539.16
top 10 procurement consulting firms
50
465.45
Procurement company
2400
123.06
best procurement companies
40
73.56
top procurement companies in India
30
142.19
top procurement outsourcing companies
110
861.87
best procurement companies in the
world
20
509.99
procurement consulting firms
140
411.12
procurement firms
20
379.32
best procurement consulting firms
20
38.97
indirect procurement outsourcing
companies
10
312.76
outsourcing companies
3600
500.26

Now for the above 14 keywords let’s look at the number of clicks that were generated due to the SEO efforts

Keyword
Clicks
procurement companies
218
procurement outsourcing
84
top procurement consulting firms
81
top 10 procurement consulting firms
76
Procurement company
58
best procurement companies
41
top procurement companies in India
40
top procurement outsourcing companies
38
best procurement companies in the
world
36
procurement consulting firms
26
procurement firms
26
best procurement consulting firms
26
indirect procurement outsourcing
companies
25
outsourcing companies
1

hese 14 keywords generated 776 clicks for the company in a month’s time frame.

Now using the suggested bid price in the first table one simply multiplies it with the number of clicks generated by SEO to determine the value as shown in the below table

Keyword
Clicks
Suggested bid
Value
procurement companies
218
224.2
48876
procurement outsourcing
84
353.03
29655
top procurement consulting firms
81
539.16
43672
top 10 procurement consulting firms
76
465.45
35374
Procurement company
58
123.06
7137
best procurement companies
41
73.56
3016
top procurement companies in India
40
142.19
5688
top procurement outsourcing companies
38
861.87
32751
best procurement companies in the
world
36
509.99
18360
procurement consulting firms
26
411.12
10689
procurement firms
26
379.32
9862
best procurement consulting firms
26
38.97
1013
indirect procurement outsourcing
companies
25
312.76
7819
outsourcing companies
1
500.26
500
776
254412

The total value of SEO done is therefore estimated at Rs. 2, 54,412. This is the amount of money that would need to have been spent on Google AdWords to get the same amount of clicks for the same set of keywords.

Conclusion

Estimating the direct computational monetary value of SEO is one of the key components to determine whether it would be cheaper to advertise or do SEO. However what must be borne in mind is that SEO rank position once obtained tends to remain so for a longer time and hence the intrinsic value of a rank position is much higher than what is the price one would pay in Google AdWords.

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