ROI of SEO: How to Calculate It Using Google Analytics

By:  Dileep Thekkethil

Updated On: March 13, 2023

SEO isn’t your game if your intention is quick results. Period. 

There is no harm in expecting quick results, but Search Engine Optimization isn’t the solution that can fulfill it. 

You’d be better off with Google Ads or other paid search campaigns that give you immediate visibility, thereby more revenue in the shortest time possible.

What I mean to say is that your SEO ROI calculations will definitely look profitable in the long run. And at least sometimes, your SEO service provider isn’t at fault but your unrealistic expectations may be the real culprit.

However, your patience to invest consistently in content creation, link building and other SEO strategies will decide whether you will reap a more significant ROI out of it or not. 

When you start seeing ROI of SEO improving, you can sense the brighter side as it will turn out as the most revenue-generating marketing strategy compared to others. 

In this blog, let me explain why you shouldn’t risk using blackhat techniques for faster results and why continuing to make SEO improvements that really matter to your audience can benefit your website.

How does SEO improve ROI?

Obviously, if you have invested in SEO, you are looking for better organic visibility on search engines through higher keyword rankings, which will help increase your organic search traffic.

But what you also need to know is that you are putting money into a long-term marketing plan, and there is little control that the SEO agency has in deciding the timeframe for guaranteed SEO results. 

There are over 200+ factors that determine whether your pages will rank higher on Google. But that shouldn’t mean that you should ignore SEO. 

Over time, as your website’s rankings improve and you attract more visitors through organic search, your ROI will also improve. 

In fact, SEO has turned into one of the most effective digital marketing strategies for improving ROI.

How to Measure ROI of SEO Campaigns?

So, here is where your acumen in finding the right SEO agency matters. 

I’ve come across countless website owners complaining that the SEO agency shows improved keyword rankings and better organic traffic. Still, there isn’t a noticeable difference when it comes to the actual revenue generated. 

As far as I look at such campaigns, they are a failure. If the SEO campaigns can’t really achieve the goal of a website owner, there isn’t any reason to continue with the agency that’s implementing it. 

Any SEO campaign must be rooted in helping the website owners achieve the desired goals. For example, if it’s a product, SaaS, or an Ecommerce website, they want sales from SEO investment. 

Of course, better keyword rankings and traffic may help in branding, but that may not be the focus of all businesses. 

In most cases, the decision makers of companies decide to dump SEO investment because they never really saw it making an improvement in actual revenue generation. 

These dejected website owners invest more into paid campaigns and considerably reduce the SEO investment. 

So, when calculating the ROI of SEO investment, make sure to take into consideration the aspirations of the website owners.

ROI for SEO campaigns is typically calculated by measuring the increase in organic traffic, leads and the sales generated through the conversion of the organic leads.

The increase in organic traffic, leads and revenue is compared to the total cost of the SEO campaign to determine the final ROI.

It would be ideal to also consider the cost per lead acquisition as a variable to better calculate the SEO ROI because organic leads save you a lot of money when compared to leads generated from PPC and other paid campaigns.

What that means is that if you spent $10,000 on SEO over the course of a month and it resulted in $40,000 in revenue or $40,000 worth of leads, your ROI would be 300%

SEO ROI Calculator

Here is the formula to calculate the ROI of SEO.

(Total Organic Revenue - Total SEO Investment Cost)

                               __________           =  ** x 100 = SEO ROI%

Total SEO Investment Cost

($40,000 – $10,000) / $10,000 = 3 x 100 = 300%

However, in reality, the average positive ROI from SEO hovers somewhere between $1.5 – $2.75 per $1 investment. 

According to SEO ROI Statistics, Ecommerce sites get better ROI than other types of websites with an average of 3% click-throughs converting into sales.

This isn’t going to be the same for all industries as the cost of the products and the target audience are factors that determine the conversion rate and ROI. 

But if your website is focused on lead generation, the cost per lead will decide the ROI. On the other hand, if you are a publisher, the ad revenue generated through the increase in traffic will determine the actual SEO ROI. 

How Long Does it Usually Take for SEO to Generate a Return on Investment (ROI)?

This is one of the most perplexing questions that SEO agencies and professionals come across from their clients before and after they invest in SEO. 

However, there isn’t a definitive answer and if someone promises guaranteed SEO results in a few weeks or months, that means you just came across a scam. 

There are different factors that determine the duration required to see positive SEO results. Though the investment you make matters, factors such as the competitive landscape, the size of the business and the type of target audience that you serve play a pivotal role in determining the whether you will get a positive ROI. 

Generally speaking, SEO can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more to generate a significant return on investment.

When you are mentally prepared to wait and consistently invest in SEO, the results can show up ahead of the proposed waiting time. This can drastically improve your confidence in SEO strategy.

Podcast: How to use SEO for better ROI during and post COVID situation

How to Calculate SEO ROI Using Google Analytics? 

If you are a small business owner who wants to see the results generated through SEO campaigns, consider Google Analytics as your go-to tool. Google Analytics is one of the most powerful freemium tools from Google and it has everything you need to calculate the SEO ROI. 

It doesn’t matter if your ROI is based on conversion, lead generation or advertising revenue, Google Analytics will help you calculate the SEO ROI.

With proper conversion tracking put in place, you can measure conversions, leads, important user activities and goals. 

Tracking Leads and Sales

Let’s start with tracking the leads because, in the case of most businesses, it’s the nurturing of leads that later translates into sales. This means if you are not able to track efficiently the number of organic leads acquired, your lead to conversion ratio may look skewed. 

The easiest way to track the number of leads is by having a lead generation form and a thank you page that appears when a user completes the intended action.

To track the leads you must first set up a goal by going to the setting of your Google Analytics account. 

goals in google analytics to calculate row of seo

Here, you can find Goals in the third row. On clicking on the Goals, you can find the list of goals that are already set up for your account. If you don’t have any, you can add one based on your requirement. 

list of goals in google analytics to calculate row of seo

Since we want to set a goal for tracking leads, the easiest way to do it is by setting up a destination goal. This type of goal is triggered when users are redirected to a Thank You page after downloading or completing a form. 

There are a few templates that Google Analytics offers as presets. 

Google Analytics Goal Options to Assess Conversion Rate

However, we are going ahead with a custom goal. Now, inside the Goal description add the name of the campaign that you want to track, and then select the Type as destination. 

setting up a new goal in Google Analytics to calculate conversion rate

Continue to the goal details wherein you have to add the destination URL. If you have identified the cost per lead, add it as the value of the lead.

destination goal setting in google analytics to calculate conversion rate

Tracking Conversion (non-ecommerce sites)

If you are offering a service or selling one or two products using your website, the easiest way to track conversion and the ROI is by adding the value of the product in the goal details. The rest of the process remains the same as we discussed above. 

Add the value of the product or service in the optional field “Value” inside Goal Details. 

tracking conversion in google analytics by adding dollar value

In the above screenshot, any user who lands on the destination URL will be assigned a conversion value of $50. 

So, what if the same user visits the page later? That could trigger yet another conversion, right? 

Thankfully, Google has an optional checkbox called “Funnel” within the goal details to eliminate such instances. 

What a funnel does is it gives instructions to Google Analytics to consider a visit as a conversion only if the user visits the destination page after visiting a specific page or a series of pages within the funnel. 

configuring goals and funnels in google analytics

NB: Make sure to turn on the Required button to confirm that you want Analytics to consider the funnel before considering a conversion.

Once you have set this correctly, hit the “Verify This Goal” option and then save the goal and exit. 

You can find the overview of the Goals inside the Conversions tab inside the Analytics dashboard.

goals overview tab to track your goals in google analytics

Now you have the tracking enabled but your focus is to find the ROI generated through SEO, which means Organic conversions.

To see the organic conversions and the value generated through them, head on to the sub-tab Multi-Channel Funnels within the Conversions section and click on Assisted Conversions. 

Assisted conversions report in google analytics

Here, you can find all the conversions during a specific time period and the different channels that assisted them. You can see organic search conversions and the conversion value within this dashboard. 

You can also see the conversion path of the users, meaning the most common channel touchpoints before a user converts. This is one of the easiest ways to assess the SEO ROI of your website.

conversion paths of the users in google analytics

Tracking Sales of E-Commerce Website

E-commerce is a gigantic mammoth topic in itself and there are multiple platforms that can help you get an Ecommerce store up and running. However, we will be talking specifically about WooCommerce and how to track conversions from WooCommerce websites. 

Before going into WooCommerce and the specific plugin that passes on the data regarding the revenue figures, you must first enable E-commerce in Google Analytics. 

This is a pretty straightforward process. Head on to the settings and in the third column named View, you can find the tab for E-Commerce Settings. 

e-commerce goal settings in GA

Clicking on it you will find a radio button to enable e-commerce and just below it you will find an optional setting to enable the Enhanced Ecommerce setting. Enable both the settings and you are done with Google Analytics. 

google analytics ecommerce setup

But before you exit Google Analytics, make sure to add labels for the checkout-funnel steps you identified. 

You need to add the proper codes to the Thank You page in order to start collecting conversion-related information. 

Google has a whole document that explains how this can be done. However, you may require some advanced technical skills to make the codes work. That said, you have another option that is way easier to implement. 

If you have a WooCommerce website, go to Add New Plugin and type “Enhanced Ecommerce for WooCommerce”

type Enhanced Ecommerce for WooCommerce in WordPress plugin search 

Now, you can see the plugin by Tatvic. This is one of the most popular ones in the industry, and all you need to do is to hit the install now button. 

This plugin comes with a host of features including Shopping Behavior Tracking, Checkout Behavior Tracking and a whole lot more Google Shopping based features. 

You should be able to see the conversions within your Analytics dashboard after you complete the setting up of the plugin wherein you need to enter the Analytics Tracking ID. 

After that, WooCommerce will automatically send the conversion and revenue data from your traffic to your Google Analytics using the plugin you just installed.

In order to calculate the SEO ROI generated from organic search traffic, make sure to filter the conversion revenue by clicking source as Organic within the Analytics Dashboard. 

Curious Case of Lifetime Value of Each Conversion

Here’s the thing, if you are in a lead-based niche like an SEO Service provider, you must take the lifetime value of your organic leads into consideration when looking at the overall success of the SEO campaign. 

For example, in Stan Ventures, when our organic leads convert, they may pay just around $100-$500 to kickstart the campaign. However, over six months to a year, they increase the order value month over month as they see improvements.

So, it’s ideal not to look at SEO ROI with microlens, especially in a service-based industry. But of course, your sales representatives play a massive role in the process but when evaluating the success of an SEO campaign, make sure to add the Lifetime Value of the customers as a determiner. 

Is SEO Worth It? Where to Put Your Money in 2023

Spoiler Alert: There isn’t any infallible modus operandi to rank higher on Google and a few agencies continue selling lies that REALLY STINKS! But still, SEO is worth the money, provided you choose the right partner. 

Dear Business Owner

Do you suspect SEO agencies that put up crowd-pulling ads conning people into buying jerry-built SEO services?

Do you hate outrageously deceptive taglines such as…

#1 Hack to Grow Your Keyword Rankings 

Rank #1 On Google With Guest Post Links

That means you had a tough divorce with an SEO agency that burnt your pockets to a crisp. 

Such SEO agencies hide many illicit secrets, and the brutal truth is… 

Spurious agencies are rampant, and even the so-called Sherlocks of our time fail to identify such conmen who masquerade as experts. 

Does this mean SEO Isn’t Worth It?

Let me tell you upfront…

The rank-boosting hacks that some SEO agencies highlight are stale since 2012. 

These SEO agencies are working like sleeper cells, planting bombs of destruction on unsuspecting websites. The result – they explode when Google launches a new update. 

Google’s algorithms are on steroids recently and there exists no pixie to hide the misdeeds of bad SEO agencies. 

But admitting this can put SEO agencies into immediate death. 

So, what they do instead is sell you the promise of the world but finally leave you with just an atlas. 

Instead of fattening your profit, they flatten it. They take all your money to their banks just in case the world falls crumbling down upon them. 

The NEW DEFINITION OF SEO is about giving tailor-made solutions that take into account what’s happening in the world around you.

Google is cruising past the age of backlinks. 

What it values in 2023 is user experience, relevancy, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness

If an agency says all this is possible with its pixie-dust backlinks, that’s when you run for the exit door!

Of course, genuine backlinks still matter a lot…

However, what most agencies try doing is they expect the engine of 1949 Triumph Mayflower to compete with a Cyber Truck. 

I mean to say, what lies under the hood does matter in SEO as well… 

That’s why we recommend you first check if your website has the horsepower to chase down your goals.

We can do that for you at absolutely no cost. Just click the link below. 

Yes, Do An Audit of My Website   |  No I Want to Read More

There Exists No Worm-Hole Within SEO to Find a Shortcut Towards Your Goals

Let me ask you this… Did your agency utter a word about how their services can take you one step ahead in achieving your goals? 

They must have caught you by the jugular with a promise to open the floodgate of traffic to your website. 


After the first month, they came up with this report which has a few keywords making it into Google’s first page. They expect you to be teary-eyed and tell your wife…

“Honey, we made it to the first page of Google.”

I call this UTTER CRAP. 

Don’t take me for a brash SEO guy…

But it hurts when these agencies snatch money off your pocket and dump it in their account using such an emotional gimmick. 

The questions you must be asking are

  • Did rankings take care of your overboard bills? 
  • Did keywords put money into your bank account? 
  • Did the traffic convert into sales or anything that gives a monetary benefit?

If the answer to these questions is an emphatic NO, you did the right thing by ditching your last agency. 

The SEO service that you need should understand the goals and not give an all-in-one solution that usually ends in the same note “BUILD MORE BACKLINKS.”

What you need is an SEO service that takes care of everything that can move the needle for your business by:

  • Breaking the shackles that are pulling your website back
  • Helping you grow above and beyond your competitors in organic search. 
  • Move you towards your business goals in autopilot mode without breaking a sweat

But before all this, let me reiterate again… 

“Your goals will remain a Utopian dream until your website is ready to greet your targets with all its lights switched on.” 

So, get your core SEO issues fixed first and most agencies just skip this step because they are in total oblivion about what works in 2023.

Yes, Do An Audit of My Website

Even We Don’t Have A Ready-Made Solution for The Problems of Your Website Because There Isn’t Any

You are being conditioned. That’s what all the money-craving SEO agencies do…

They tell the same blatant lie over and over to ingrain the false belief that a solution is already made and all you have to do is say a YES. 

The moment you say YES and shell out, such agencies shift the gears…

Rather than accelerating they put you in a low gear and keep you waiting for the promised land, which unfortunately will never be delivered because there isn’t any. 

I’m not sure if I should even tell you this because, if you have been through multiple divorces with SEO agencies, the truth is right there in front of you. And that’s one reasons that made you think – “Is SEO worth paying for in 2023”

Going after a pre-defined solution is SEO just means your a time, effort, and above all, hard-earned money put into the drain.

You definitely do not want to walk the same road again. 

We strongly believe that a successful Client-Agency relationship requires either party to understand each other’s capabilities. 

We have worked with over 500+ websites from a multitude of industries and niches.

clients of Stan Ventures

And this includes small mom-and-pop businesses to million-dollar companies who are now sitting on their armchairs worry-free.

But why? Because they trust us.

12 years is a long time and what we value the most is the trust these businesses; both small and big have in us. We are happy that they are soaring past their goals, setting new ones after achieving each. 

We didn’t work like robots, we created definitive SEO strategies. 

This new approach we laid out didn’t force them to fork over millions in vain but showcased tangible results with a unique approach. 

Here is some friendly advice – 

Don’t Spend Even A Penny Without Getting To Know The Capabilities Of ANY SEO Agency. Period

Is SEO Worth the Money?

Will any agency agree to work for free?

I don’t know about others but YES, we will. 

We walk the talk and sometimes, even go a step further. 

Along with the Free Website Audit, you can speak to one of the experts at Stan Ventures for a 45 Mins Free Strategy. 

And I can guarantee that this strategy session isn’t yet another ludicrous waste of time with a dumb-dumb who glamorizes backlinks…

Yes. For a limited period, we have decided to risk our own money and time to show you we are different. 

Our expert will do a detailed analysis of your website to find out.

  • Right target keywords 
  • Do a competitor analysis to find out what’s working for them 
  • Do Tech audit
  • Do Content audit and GAP analysis 
  • Create SEO Roadmap 

Remember: You get all this manual analysis done by our experts and the reports worth $250 will be emailed right into your inbox. 

By the way, this is strictly not a sales pitch by any means. 

We guarantee you will not receive a call or email from us if you don’t intend to. 

Sounds interesting? 

Awesome, Let’s get the ball rolling. We will prove to you that investing in SEO is worth it with us by your side. 

Yes, Do An Audit of My Website

Questions About SEO ROI Answered

How long does it take to see ROI from SEO?

SEO is a long-term investment and has the potential to give you exponential growth. However, the initial days may seem a bit bumpy as results are not easy to come. Often, it’s only after a Broad Core update that Google might understand the value that you put forward. But unfortunately, it happens only twice or thrice a year which means you may have to wait 3-6 months to gain the initial traction. 

How Do I Know if My SEO ROI is Good or Bad? 

The ROI of your website is closely linked to the KPIs you have for your business. If the campaign achieves the results that you have identified in the KPI without burning your pocket, you can consider it a win. 

What is the Formula to Calculate SEO ROI?

(Revenue Gained from Organic Leads/Sales – Total SEO Campaign Investment) / Total SEO Campaign Investment 

Now, multiply the figure you get by 100 to see your SEO ROI. This is the basic but most used formula to make an ROI report.


Dileep Thekkethil

With over 12 years of expertise, Dileep has carved a name for himself as a trailblazer in the SEO industry. As an acclaimed author and relentless learner, he has transformed countless websites with tailored digital marketing strategies, thanks to his profound insights and innovative approach. Dileep's passion for staying ahead of the curve is evident in his contributions to Stan Ventures and the 100+ publications that feature his groundbreaking articles on SEO and digital marketing. His dedication to knowledge-sharing has earned him widespread recognition as a go-to expert in the field. For cutting-edge SEO solutions or to delve into the mind of a true digital marketing virtuoso, connect with Dileep through the links provided below. @Mail | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook or View all posts by Dileep


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