Share your action plan
It’s the heart of your SEO strategy – your action plan. After you’ve set the stage and explained what SEO is (and why it deserves a generous budget), it’s time to outline your proposed project at a high level.
Obviously, selling your strategy to the CEO doesn’t automatically require you to do all the legwork yourself. You might be pitching for the budget to use an SEO agency to do everything (or some of it) for you, or pushing for SEO software like Siteimprove’s all-in-one SEO tool to help you keep track of all the moving parts in your SEO strategy.
SEO audits are health checks. They take a deep dive into the performance of your website to identify what works well, and what needs fixing. Explain that you will evaluate the website in several areas to understand any factors that prevent your site from ranking and lay out opportunities to grow your organic traffic.
Why it’s important (and how to pitch it): An SEO audit provides a detailed overview of your website’s current standing and forms the foundation of any effective SEO strategy. Without it, your SEO efforts will be trial-and-error, and there’s a realistic possibility it will all be for nothing. When you miss out on traffic, you miss out on sales – and lose business to your competitors.
Before getting into the details, you can use our free Siteimprove SEO Checker to test any page on your website for common SEO blockers, separated into four essential SEO categories: technical, content, user experience, and mobile.
- View your unique page SEO score
- Receive an email detailing your results to share with your team
- See an immediate snapshot of your page’s SEO issues – split by category
- Read a clear explanation of how each SEO issue affects your users
List of actions
From your list of actions, decide what needs to be done and when. To prioritize tasks, draw from your experience to determine which SEO elements will have the quickest and biggest impact on results. These strategies need to be implemented first. Present your recommendations to C-level and explain how they will drive organic search, traffic volume, brand awareness, and conversions once implemented. In your pitch, address these questions:
● What’s going to have the biggest impact now? What can wait?
● What should be the top organizational priority?
● Which SEO tactics are going to work best (remember to keep it high-level)?
● Do we build an in-house SEO team or hire an external agency?
SEO score: How good is your SEO compared to industry competitors?
While there’s no industry-wide standard for measuring a website’s SEO health, it’s possible to get a solid estimate by looking at known search engine ranking factors.
The Siteimprove SEO score measures how well a website performs across a number of key SEO factors like content and technical setup. The higher the score, the more likely the website will rank higher on Google and other search engines.
The average Siteimprove SEO score across industries worldwide is 80.
How well do you level up?
What are your goals and how do you measure results?
To present your case, address the metrics that are most critical to your C-level with benchmarks and your informed prediction of how your SEO initiatives can help improve these metrics.
Here’s what your CEO will want to hear more about (and, of course, you will come prepared):
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). This encompasses all the marketing and sales costs you have to shell out to land a single new customer within a certain timeframe (total sales and marketing expense in a period / total number of customers acquired in a period). If you can show how SEO increases customer acquisition rates and revenue while lowering customer acquisition cost, you’re about to score a big win.
- CAC Payback. This is the number of months it takes to recoup your customer acquisition costs. If you can demonstrate that SEO reduces the time it takes to earn back the money you spent on a new customer, you will likely get a thumbs up from management.
- Marketing Originated Customer %. This metric determines the percentage of CAC directly driven by your marketing efforts, illustrating the impact of your team’s lead gen efforts have on acquiring new customers. If you can show how many new customers you’re getting from SEO, you’re surely in for a generous SEO budget treat.
While it’s challenging to give the exact cost of SEO or how much revenue it can generate, it’s about understanding that organic search traffic can be the biggest driver of low-cost traffic and quality visitors to your website. Besides the core metrics, explain that you will also monitor other KPIs to measure the organic performance of the website and determine the overall impact of your SEO strategy:
- Search rankings: The higher you rank, the better. It’s critical that you monitor how you rank for key search terms over time as it directly reflects how successful your SEO strategy is.
- Organic traffic to your website: This KPI tracks how many visitors come to your website (homepage) and key pages from organic search results.
- Bounce rate: A user entering your website and leaving without performing any action is called a "bounce," indicating that the visitor is not engaging with the content on your website. While high bounce rates can have several reasons and typically hint at technical SEO issues, your observation should be granular – if a specific page satisfies its intent (users find the information they need and leave again), the “bounce” is not due to poor website performance.
- Organic CTR: CTR measures the ratio of users clicking on your website because you showed up in Google’s search results to the total number of users who viewed the search results. A high CTR indicates that you have targeted the right audience with a page that is appealing enough for a high percentage of users to click on the link.
- Soft and hard conversions: Hard conversions can be contact form submissions, phone calls, demo sign-up, etc., and are typically considered the traditional types of conversions – they show clear intent. Soft conversions indicate clear interest – newsletter sign-ups, content downloads, social shares and likes, etc. While it’s natural to tend to focus on hard conversions, you should keep the two in balance – as soon as visitors enter your marketing ecosystem, engage with your leads and follow up.
- Organic impressions: How many times has your website been seen for all search queries performed? Tracking organic impressions can help measure an improved “brand awareness” for key search terms.
Do a little math to put a monetary worth on ranking higher
On average, ranking on position 5 on Google gives you 9,5% of all page clicks. The pole position drives 31,7% of all organic traffic – 3,3x more.
Let’s say you have 25,000 unique visitors to your website each month.
Climbing up the ranks from rank #5 all the way to the top will boost the number of website visitors to 82,500 – 57,500 visitors more.
Depending on your average value of a website visitor, you can estimate the increase in revenue generated by SEO.
Don’t avoid the “how long?” part
C-suite might not be keen on getting into the specifics of your SEO strategy, but they will want to know when they can expect ROI. Make clear that SEO is a long-term commitment that requires effort with very few big gains in the beginning – contrary to paid ads, results don’t add up quickly, it takes time and consistency to reap the benefits.
Realistically, it will take a while before results come in – while you might get a few hits a couple of weeks after implementing your strategy, significant results won’t roll in until months later. It will take time for the website to go from zero to hero. Make sure C-suite understands the SEO journey to avoid any pressure to prove significant ROI faster, or calling off all SEO efforts prematurely because paid search or display advertising “just seem to be working better.”
Sure, some short-term SEO efforts might give you a boost, but it’s not enough for long-term success. Done right, SEO takes time. And it will be worth it.
Track performance continuously
Measure and track your website’s performance continuously to know what’s working and what needs improving. Always be on top of your game - you certainly want to be prepared when your CEO calls for a status update on how your SEO efforts stack up. Budget cuts can hit anytime unexpectedly, so make sure you have up-to-date performance results ready to prove your program’s worth.
Unfortunately, it’s not exactly true that once SEO is working for you, you’re set. Just when you think your SEO efforts are in tip-top shape, Google rolls out another twist.
Again, SEO is a marathon, not a 5K. So spend a few minutes stretching, grab your running shoes, and warm up for the long-distance race. To finish strong, always keep moving, always keep improving your SEO – and never stop selling.