How to calculate the value of SEO for your business

October 1, 2020 - 7  min reading time - by Wendy Gooseberry
Home > SEO Thoughts > The value of SEO for your business

Building and calculating your SEO business case may seem like an uphill task especially if you do not understand the technicalities of the process. There are challenges that may be encountered by SEO professionals when creating an SEO business proposal that would seem very appealing in the business community.

We shall take a look at the necessary steps to follow in creating and of course, calculating your SEO business case. We will also examine ways of identifying and debugging search engine optimisation issues.

The following tips are effective ways of building search engine optimisation cases:

Prepare a forecast

Most SEO professionals shy away from preparing a forecast to analyse their annual growth. It is understandable why SEO professionals see this as a controversial aspect because they have little or no control over certain variables.

However, you may want to consider forecasting as a necessary task that must be carried out irrespective of how uncomfortable it might be. In this regard, you may need to utilise SEO report templates.

One major thing to avoid during your forecast is having to develop a percentage growth forecast for every technical fix or individual search engine optimisation initiative.

What is the best approach to take in preparing a forecast? We suggest that you calculate a long term forecast for about 12 to 18 months. By doing so, you may be able to accommodate all your business cases as you progress.

Your forecast approach should include the following trend lines

  • Targeted search engine optimisation growth,
  • Aggressive search engine optimisation growth,
  • Flat performance.

In calculating your SEO business case, you may want to tailor it along these three trend lines. You may have a more compelling argument by forecasting your annual growth along with a commercial one.

Have a well-structured approach

You may want to consider having a well-structured approach in calculating and preparing your search engine optimisation business cases. With a well-structured plan for your SEO business cases, you are better focused on those areas that will be of immense benefit to you instead of dedicating your effort on irrelevant matters.

A well-structured SEO business approach may comprise of the following:

  • Problem statement: A problem statement may include identifying issues or recognising opportunities.
  • Hypothesis: Hypothesis contains a summary of the likely causative factors of an identified problem.
  • Suggested Fix: Suggested fix refers to likely solutions to the problems already identified
  • Anticipated outcome: Anticipated outcome refers to the expected results after providing solutions to the identified problem.

It is advisable that you structure your proposal like the one above. It helps to properly frame your proposal as a feature story or user, which is a framework or language that is appreciated by PMs.

Structuring your business case helps you to prioritise your work and gives you a better focus on the task at hand.

Concentrate on the crucial matrix that counts (money)

When calculating your search engine optimization business case, it is imperative that you focus on the most critical matrix any business owner would love to consider. We are talking about maximising revenue.

Let’s take, for example, that you want to create a business case for the implementation of a scheme, and you may need funds to secure a budget and development time to work with a partner.

How then do you create or calculate a compelling business case for such a project? What you should do is to make use of the data available to you. You may make use of both current and historical data such as average order value, lifetime value, attribution, multi channel funnel (MCF), and other relevant data in calculating your business case and forming a more compelling argument.

Looking at another hypothetical example, you may have developed a technical fix to address the problem of crawl efficiency. In doing so, you may need to provide answers to the following questions:

  • Question: Why is there a need to fix crawl efficiency?
  • Answer: To make your site easily accessible for Google to crawl and access.
  • Question: Why do you want Google to crawl and access your site easily?
  • Answer: To improve website pages ranking by Google search engine.
  • Question: Why do you want to improve the ranking of those pages?
  • Answer: To provide more organic traffic to the site.

From the above illustration, you can see how well a business case is structured to focus on the most critical aspect of any business, which is to maximize revenue.

Know your audience

It is important to take this point into consideration if you are to build and adequately calculate a compelling search engine optimisation business case.

Know your audience and try to interact with a language they will understand. Do not waste time with technical jargon if you are reporting to PMs, C-suite, UX team, or anyone not too familiar with SEO terms.

Do not expect your audience to understand your tech jargon even if you are addressing a development lead. Focus on the relevant items and spare your audience the details of unimportant information, which might be of no benefit to them. By doing this, you may be able to have higher SEO business cases.

Be sure to reference direct competitors as your used cases

Referencing direct competitors is a sure way to give you an edge as you create your SEO business cases. It is quite impressive when you tell your clients that their major competitors are outperforming them by doing this and that. It makes them feel you have done comprehensive research and of course, a good job.

It may also add weight to your presentation and may help drive home your points faster, especially when you are dealing with an audience that is not very familiar with search engine optimisation techniques. A simple screenshot showing how other competitors are outperforming your client may be a great addition to your proposal.

You should understand that not all the competitor’s approaches may work for your client. However, you may want to focus more on realistic search engine results page (SERP) competitors. You should also advise your clients not to get obsessed with any changes made by your competitors.

Strengthen your case by quoting Google

When creating your search engine optimisation business case, it may be essential to quote Google as a source of your information. However, not all statistics quoted on Google may be accurate. Still, it may be of considerable significance to reference Google while preparing your SEO business case, primarily when you are referring to clients that are not too informed about search engine optimisation.

There are many competent sources where you may get accurate information to use as a reference in your search engine optimisations business case. Sources like Hang out Notes, Google Developers hub, etc.

Create a sense of urgency

You may want to create a sense of urgency as a means to properly build a strong SEO business case. For every delay in the implementation of your proposal, your client may be losing money and probably fall behind other competitors.

How, then, do you create a sense of urgency? The surest way to develop a sense of urgency is to provide excellent and accurate data that may be used to give a compelling story.

You may want to avoid going into too many details about why you feel your SEO business case is urgent. But be precise and compelling at the same time.

You may also use a tracking platform to let your clients see how they may have lost revenue as a result of a delay in implementing your ideas. You may as well make use of third party tools in calculating assumed traffic of other competitors based on their ranking position concerning their use of high ranking keywords.

By applying your revenue and conversion metrics, you may be able to ascertain the value of those high ranking keywords and determine the reasonable amount of money lost as a result of implementation delay.

Provide a business case that is difficult to resist

Like any other form of proposal writing, one beneficial strategy you may use to drive home a compelling search engine optimization business case is to make it seem almost impossible for your client to say no.

One primary attribute of a compelling search engine optimisation business case is one that has a high chance of succeeding. Communicate your value and provide compelling data that will put your SEO business case in a position that may be difficult for your clients to refuse.


As a search engine optimisation expert who is seeking to understand how to calculate your SEO business case and make it compelling, you are definitely on the right track by reading this detailed article.

You have learned the necessary steps and strategies that may help improve your chances of having more successful SEO business cases. Be more accurate with your data and learn to reference other direct competitors as you converse with your own competitors.

It is also essential that you understand your client and know when not to use unnecessary jargon in explaining your ideas to your clients. Communicate in a language that is easy to understand. You may also want to get relevant, precise, and accurate statistics from Google or other authentic sources to back up your proposal.

Wendy Gooseberry See all their articles
Wendy is a copywriter at Whatagraph - an online platform that offers digital marketing analytics. With over 5 years of marketing experience under her belt, she has a strong understanding of content development techniques and continues to hone those skills every day.
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