Before I get into the substance of this post, I want to lay down some facts that we all should know. This is very important. If you’re investing in SEO, you must be judging the results and calculating the return on your investment. This is true for more than just SEO. If you’re investing in any marketing, be it online or off, you need to know what the results are. If you don’t know what’s working and what is not, you’re wasting your money.
Next, if you’re investing in SEO and the firm doing the work isn’t providing regular reports showing you what they’re doing and the effects of their work, then you should fire that firm. If they’re not willing to be accountable to you, then don’t pay them. They should be showing you where your users and leads are coming from and how they’ve improved your visibility. This is critical.
OK, now that we have those SEO truths established, lets get to it.
In Real Estate and when you’re performing Real Estate SEO you are really trying to do three things.
- Bring the right users to your real estate website.
- Convert those users into leads
- Convert leads into clients who buy or sell a home.
Now, SEO costs money. So, we now have a few pieces of information which will allow us to calculate some key metrics in judging SEO performance.
If you take your budget – we do this on a monthly basis, but you could look at it quarterly or annually or over any period of time really – and you divide that budget by the number of users, you’ll get a cost per user. You can do the same with the number of leads generated. You can also do similar math by counting deals and dividing the budget by that number to calculate a client acquisition cost.
Now, it’s important to note here that visitors and even leads happen quickly where deals close months later. So, you’re going to want to look at when the leads were generated which resulted in the deals. This month’s SEO spend is not generating deals this month. Instead, it’s generating leads now which will turn into deals down the road. This is just another example of why Real Estate SEO needs to be seen as an investment.
So, if we now know our cost/user, cost/lead, and customer acquisition cost, we can now compare these numbers to other media or industry norms. For many campaigns, cost/lead will be a good indicator. You’ll need to do some in-depth analysis to calculate customer acquisition cost and you’ll need to stick with it for a long period of time and through several deal cycles. If you have systems in place, then you should definitely start tracking all marketing media down to customer acquisition cost, but realistically, for more than half of the readers of this blog, cost/lead will suffice.
There’s a lot more I could say about this topic. But I’m going to stop before this post gets any longer. I’ll write a follow-up in a couple of days. If you have any questions on how to calculate the ROI of your Real Estate SEO campaign, drop us a question and we’ll give you an answer. Thanks.