Article Contents

SEO Forecasting
Calculating ROI on SEO Campaigns
SEO ROI Examples

One you’re comfortable working with the different features of the GSC Insights dashboard, you can use them to benchmark and track your business goals. One common, powerful application for the GSC Insights dashboard is to aid in forecasting and ROI calculation for your SEO campaigns.

SEO Forecasting

SEO forecasting is estimating how much of an impact your SEO tactics and strategies will have on your rankings. Forecasting can help you plan your strategy, and it can also help get buy-in from managers and clients.

Let’s walk through how you can leverage GSC Insights to make forecasting more accurate and insightful.

Setting a Benchmark

Before you launch your on-page or off-site SEO strategy, start by benchmarking your current search engine performance. GSC Insights allows you to benchmark your site’s SEO performance through a variety of metrics.


Total number of keywords
Number of keywords in rank position 1-3, 4-`10, 10-20, and 20+
Average rank position across all keywords
Google Change
Full Keyword Historical Data

Organic Traffic

Total Organic Traffic
30-Day Trailing Organic Traffic
Economic Value of Traffic
Organic Traffic by Keyword
Organic Traffic by Page
Organic Traffic by Page Group
Organic Traffic by Keyword Position
Organic Traffic by Country
Organic Traffic by Device


Total Impressions
30-Day Trailing Impressions
Impressions by Keyword
Impressions by Page
Impressions by Page Group
Impressions by Country

Choose the statistics that are important to your project, or that show room for improvement. You’ll want to keep things on a high level to give yourself room to see and capitalize on a variety of opportunities.
Now you have a benchmark from which to measure your future performance.

Choosing Opportunities for Growth

Now you want to move from what your SEO performance is to what it should be.

It’s time to ask questions like:

What happens if we increase impressions by 25%?
How does traffic change if we move 10 keywords from positions 4-10 to the top 3?
How much more revenue can we project if we move from second rank position to the first?

You can make your questions as broad or specific as you like. Adding a time frame can also be important in phrasing the question. Looking at year over year change takes out seasonality issues, while forecasting for the next quarter has to look at quarterly business influences.
Looking at GSC Insights’ Traffic by Keyword Position might be helpful in finding opportunities. This graph shows the combined traffic for all keywords your website ranks for according to their rank position.

You may find that you get significant traffic out of keywords at lower positions. Those could be broader keywords with high search volume, and you’re only seeing the tail end of that traffic. Improving those rankings then could mean a serious boost in traffic for your site.
Another way to find smart questions is by using GSC Insights’ Page Groupings feature. Here, you can assign similar pages to a group and compare their impressions, organic traffic, and economic value of traffic. You can use this to create page or category-specific questions, like whether more blog content could drive valuable traffic to your website.

Calculating ROI on SEO Campaigns

Calculating ROI can be a very powerful tool to recruit or retain the support of clients or upper management. Showing the return on investment for SEO projects that often take time to deliver results can reinforce your position and prove that your investment was worth it.

The basic ROI calculation is as follows:

ROI = Current Value of Investment - Cost of Investment / Cost of Investment

Either way, you’re looking at essentially calculating the profit or value of your SEO campaign, dividing by the cost of the campaign, and putting it in a percentage format.

Cost of SEO Investment

If you’re an agency calculating ROI for a customer, Cost of Investment is clear - it’s the amount you charge for your services.

In-house SEO teams don’t always have such a clear picture of their costs. For in-house teams, cost of investment can include salaries of your team members, content writing costs, backlinking costs, any SEO tool subscriptions, and possibly a portion of the cost of the website itself.

Calculating SEO Investment Returns

There are multiple ways to calculate the current value of your SEO.

One of the primary ways is to use CPC calculations, or the amount you would have paid to get the same amount of clicks in a paid media campaign.

The second primary way is to understand the value of your SEO campaigns is to use revenue metrics. This requires strong conversion tracking through other tools like Google Analytics and your CRM.

One of the most powerful ways to calculate ROI is to use revenue metrics. If you have the average revenue per conversion, for example, then you can work out a formula to estimate revenue based on conversions in Google Analytics.
Using Economic Value of Traffic As a Measure of Return

Not all SEO efforts have a revenue goal, and agencies may not have access to revenue data. If you’re in this situation, then consider the economic value of traffic, or EVOT. GSC Insights shows you the economic value of all your traffic, namely your traffic multiplied by the CPC value for each keyword.

This is not a perfect measure of value. CPC is the cost of an ad, not an organic placement. Some would argue that organic placements have more value than an ad. But lacking anything more concrete, EVOT is one way to calculate ROI.

SEO ROI Examples

Let’s look at a few examples of ROI calculations for SEO. We’ll look at in-house as well as agency examples, with differing levels of data access.

In-house eCommerce ROI Calculation

An e-commerce site recently added a series of buying guides to rank for long-tail keywords related to its products. Assuming they didn’t do any other promotions or SEO actions, the SEO manager could look at the amount of sales before the guides were published, compared to sales about a month or two after publication.

Let’s say it costs $4000 to create, optimize, publish and promote these guides. Sales were a steady 300 units a month before publication but 500 units a month after publication, and the margin on each sale is $100.

Our net benefit is $2000 per month (200 more units sold at $100 each). It will take 2 months of sales at this rate to achieve a positive ROI. Of course, if you have more detailed sales attribution models, then this calculation gets easier and more accurate.

Agency ROI Calculation

An agency looking to show that its 3-month SEO program has achieved positive ROI would follow the second ROI calculation and use EVOT as its metric.

From GSC Insights, you can find the EVOT for the start of the period and the end of the period. Let’s say that the EVOT was $30k before the program started. After deployment, EVOT grew to $40k.

Net EVOT growth is $10k. If the agency charged $1000 per month for the 3-month program, costs were $3k. The ROI on the marginal economic value of traffic is $10k/$3k = 3.33 x 100% = 333%.

Using Page Groupings To Calculate ROI

Another approach to showing ROI would be through GSC Insights’ Page Groupings feature. With this feature, you can group any pages into a group.

Let’s say you revamped existing content for a section of the site, and you want to see if your efforts paid off. With most existing tools, you have to pull the data for all of these pages individually. With Page Groupings, you can tag the applicable pages and see the total traffic and EVOT for the group.

Set your group for the new content pages, and choose an appropriate time period before your changes. Note the data in a spreadsheet or on a notepad. Update the time period to current, and mark down the actualized data. Then you can calculate the before and after difference in traffic or EVOT, whichever better suits your needs.

Forecasting and ROI calculations all depend on how easy it is to access and gather data. GSC Insights simplifies both processes by giving you EVOT as a standard metric. Page Groupings are helpful for projects with a specific scope.
Was this article helpful?
Thank you!