Many B2B SaaS brands make the mistake of relegating SEO to just rankings and traffic.

Making this mistake leads to frustration, as you won’t get any meaningful results from your SEO campaigns.

So what is SEO about?

SEO should ultimately be about revenue.

After all, what’s the point of ranking well and driving tons of traffic to your SaaS website if it doesn’t help boost the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing campaigns?

What Is Growth Marketing? 

Growth marketing is the process of using data to maximize your marketing strategies to drive, well, growth. We go into more detail on growth marketing in other blogs, but what you really need to know is this: Growth marketing involves all the usual traditional and digital marketing tactics but uses them in a highly scalable way to get results fast. 

Growth SEO


The Role of SEO in Growth Marketing

Put simply, the role of SEO in growth marketing is to create growth. Obvious, right? But the not-so-obvious idea here is that SEO does drive growth. 

And since growth marketing can tap into any and all marketing tactics, it makes sense that SEO also has its part to play: to create growth and to support growth. Let’s break that down. 

SEO Creates Growth

SEO is and has always been a growth channel. Though SEO is a bit of a slow cooker compared to the Instant Pot that is growth marketing, both have always had one goal: more. More eyeballs on the product, more customers, more retention. SEO just happens to do it through the systematic and strategic creation of content that puts your brand at the top of the SERPs.

But done well, that low-and-slow cook does boost traffic, increase leads and conversions, and create relationships between brands and customers that drive retention. If your SEO isn’t creating growth, it might be time for an overhaul.

We find that the SEO tactics that create the most growth include the following: 

  • Keyword research and mapping
  • Strategic content creation
  • Optimizing existing content and web pages

SEO Supports Growth

So much of SEO is about creating world-class user experiences — experiences that make it easy to find and use your website. For this reason, the second role of SEO in growth is to support your work in other channels. 

Even the most well-conceived campaigns will fall flat if your website is a mess. But if you have an effective SEO strategy, it’s likely that your website is clear and has a cohesive user journey that’ll make it easy for prospective customers to go from click to convert. Experiences like these are non-negotiable parts of good SEO, which is why SEO is so foundational to growth marketing. 

In our experience, the SEO tactics that best support growth are the following: 

  • Technical SEO
  • On-page SEO
  • Conversion rate optimization
  • User experience optimization

The Difference Between SEO and Growth Marketing

SEO does have a role in growth marketing. But they have their differences, too. Think of them as cousins, not twins. They have some shared DNA and family history, but they aren’t totally alike.

While noting the differences may seem at odds with incorporating SEO into your growth marketing, it can actually help you better understand when to flip the switch on other channels and when to let SEO do its thing. 

Business Growth vs. Website Growth

By now, we should all agree that both SEO and growth marketing are focused on growth. But there are some key differences in where that growth takes place. SEO’s eyes are always on the website. Sure, there might be some off-page SEO occasionally, but generally speaking, SEO is concerned with increasing eyeballs on the website. 

Growth marketing looks at the business comprehensively. Good growth marketing will tackle everything from pricing strategies to conversion strategies, which requires collaboration across the organization. That means that growth marketing will need more cross-departmental buy-in, whereas SEO can create steady, sustainable growth in the background. 

Mix of Channels vs. Single-Minded

Growth marketing is about pulling all the levers you can. That might mean A/B testing, personalization, heat mapping, and more for any and all channels you use. Successful growth marketers are often successful multi-taskers; they know what to focus on and when to really get results. 

SEO is more single-minded. Sure, you might be creating new content one day and optimizing existing content the next, but it takes a singular focus on the website. Understanding when it’s time to test and innovate and when it’s time to focus on your website’s foundation is a key part of leveraging SEO in growth marketing. Striking the right balance is essential to ensure both approaches work in harmony. 

How SEO Drives Revenue

If you look at SEO as a hack or gimmick to drive traffic, you miss out on its greatest potential. You need to see SEO as an integral part of growth marketing that can be leveraged to grow your bottom line. Here are a few ways it can help do just that:

Powerful Customer Acquisition Channel

One of the most powerful ways SEO can help drive revenue is by helping you acquire new customers. This means shifting from using SEO simply as a traffic generation channel to a customer acquisition channel. Doing this means fine-tuning your SEO and content strategies to target people more likely to become customers. 

One way to do this is to focus on bottom-of-the-funnel (BoFu) content more, as it uses high purchase intent keywords. This way, SEO becomes more than just a marketing channel but lends itself to sales as well.

Another way to use SEO to drive more sales is to use it to rank critical pages on your site that drive the most sales. Usually, this involves optimizing for branded queries as well. 

Besides helping you drive relevant traffic to your website, SEO also contributes to revenue generation by helping reduce your customer acquisition costs (CAC). This is because SEO is more cost-effective than paid CAC channels. It’s also because SEO compounds over time without you having to increase costs proportionally. In other words, it continues bringing in results without you having to inject more resources.

Improves Customer Retention Rates

The SaaS business growth model is built around customer retention. The more customers you manage to retain, the more revenue you generate. 

And SEO done right can help boost your customer retention rates. 

A couple of ways SEO does this include:

  • Builds trust through creating custom, helpful content
  • Boosts your brand image
  • Can help establish you as an authority in your industry

SEO also helps you gain insights into customer buying behavior. The insights you gain help you create marketing and sales strategies that improve the efficiency of your RevOps, resulting in a growing bottom line.

For SEO to help with retention, your content strategy must also cater to customers. It must enhance your product education strategy.

Increases Customer Lifetime Value CLTV

Besides helping you retain customers, SEO also helps increase your customer lifetime value (CLTV). This is the revenue expected from each customer over some time. High CLTVs are an indication of how profitable your business is as it shows projected revenue over time.

How does SEO help increase your CLTV?

If you design your SaaS SEO strategy to target high-intent customers who are likely to be long-term users of your product, your SEO strategy will attract customers with high CLTV. 

Reputation Management and Brand Building

Reputation management and brand image are critical elements to growing a sustainable SaaS brand. This is because a positive brand reputation results in the following:

  • Customer loyalty
  • High customer confidence in your brand and product
  • Customers turning into brand ambassadors

All these lead to an increase in sales and a boost in your revenue.

SEO Supports Other Sales and Marketing Channels

Another way in which SEO helps drive revenue is by supporting other sales and marketing channels. Because it’s such a broad field, it has touchpoints in almost all other disciplines that help you generate revenue. Examples include search engine advertising (SEA), affiliate marketing, social media marketing, public relations (PR), and many more.

Especially if you’re a large established brand, your enterprise SEO strategy helps make your digital marketing and sales assets more visible on other channels, leading to more sales.

Challenges of Connecting Your SEO Efforts to Revenue

One reason many brands don’t align SEO with revenue generation is that it can be challenging to connect the two. Some of the challenges include the following:

Lack of Tools and Correct Configurations 

Attributing revenue to SEO is a huge challenge as it requires sophisticated tools that require proper configurations to pull the right data. Many businesses may not have the tools or skilled personnel to use them in-house. In this instance, outsourcing to a SaaS SEO agency would be your best option, especially since you’ll have to regularly upgrade both tools and skilled personnel.

Attribution is a Mammoth Task

Attributing revenue to SEO is a huge task that most marketers would rather not touch. This is because SEO touches all parts of the customer journey, and users have many touchpoints with your content before converting. 

While not perfect, the data-driven attribution (DDA) attribution model in GA4 provides one of the most efficient ways to get attribution across multiple funnels and channels.

Lack of Historical Data to Analyze

If you’re a startup, one of the challenges you’ll face is the lack of historical data to analyze to help you determine your SEO ROI. This is compounded by the fact that it takes time for SEO to kick in and start bringing returns on the investments you made. 

The Dichotomy Between Branded and Non-branded Search

Branded search refers to searches that include your brand name or product name. This is usually done by people who already know your brand and product. Non-branded search, on the other hand, refers to generic searches made by people using keywords that don’t contain your brand.

While branded queries are organic, they shouldn’t be attributed to SEO, as the searcher already knows about your brand. 

Calculating the ROI of SEO, therefore, becomes a challenge due to the difficulty of segmenting branded vs. non-branded organic traffic with conversion data.

So, should you give up on calculating SEO ROI?

Not at all. 

Knowing the role SEO plays in your revenue generation is an essential aspect of your marketing and business operations. It can also help you know how best to allocate your marketing resources. 

How to Use SEO to Grow Your Business

We’ve established that SEO is a foundational part of growth, and we’ve even outlined the role of SEO in growth marketing. But how exactly can you use SEO to grow your business? That right there is the million-dollar question.

Your growth marketing and SEO strategies should be unique to your brand and your customers. But no matter what you’re selling or who you’re selling it to, these SEO tips should help get you on the road to growth: 

1. Clean Up Your Technical SEO

If SEO is a foundation, technical errors are cracks in the concrete. Any good SEO strategy should start with shoring up that foundation.

Here’s what to do to get your technical SEO in order:

  • Make sure all pages are indexed.
  • Confirm analytics and tracking are installed and functioning.
  • Redirect 404s.
  • Check any alerts in Google Search Console.
  • Implement schema.
  • Test for mobile friendliness.

2. Map Your Website

Neither SEO nor growth marketing benefits from slapping content on your site. Every page you add should be strategic. This includes:

  • Mapping keywords: Ensure you map relevant keyword targets to every page of your website so you know what to optimize for.
  • Mapping content: Strategically add content to your sitemap so that new content supports the rankings of existing content.
  • Mapping the user journey: Understand how customers move through the website on their path to purchase so you can use SEO to smooth out the user experience.

Each of these maps is critical for SEO, but they also bolster growth marketing efforts because no matter where the users come from, they’ll have a positive experience on your website and, therefore, with your brand. 

3. Create New Content

Take a growth marketing lens to all the content you create. Test headlines, copy, and even CTAs to see what works. In this way, growth marketing can actually make your SEO better.

Likewise, SEO can also enhance your growth marketing because you can create content that plugs into your campaigns. Need a new landing page for a paid campaign? Take SEO into account while you create it. Want to generate sustainable traffic but the keyword is pricey? Try ranking organically instead. 

4. Optimize Existing Content 

Optimizing your content ensures that it’s always performing, whether that’s making tweaks to get more traffic or boosting conversions. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is an important part of SEO — and one that’s valuable in growth marketing, too. Through CRO, you’ll make strategic changes to your site to increase the rate at which your target customers convert through both SEO and growth marketing. Win-win, right? 

5. Monitor and Mitigate

The reality is that neither SEO nor growth marketing are ever over. True success with SEO in growth marketing is something of a wash, rinse, repeat of the tactics you know work, plus testing and monitoring to make those tactics even better. 

Conduct regular SEO audits, resolve any issues, and keep your website as clean and functional as possible to see both your SEO and your growth marketing soar. 

How to Determine SEO ROI

Now that you know the impact SEO has on your revenue, let’s quickly look at how you can determine SEO ROI.

While this may be tricky, there’s a formula you can use:

SEO ROI = (value of organic conversions – cost of SEO investments)/cost of SEO investments*100

While the formula to determine ROI may look simple, you need to do some math to calculate the total value of your organic conversions and SEO investment. Here’s how to do that: 

Value of organic conversions

You can easily track the value of your organic conversions in Google Analytics (GA) by setting up ecommerce tracking. This will give you access to many metrics you need to determine the value of your organic conversions through the “Conversions” section of your GA view.

If you don’t have ecommerce tracking set up, it’s easy to do. Just follow this simple guide.

You can then segment your report according to the particular channel you want to draw data for. In this case, our channel would be organic traffic, and the key metric would be revenue.

This is a simplistic overview of how to get the value of organic conversions, and it can vary from business to business.

For businesses built on lead generation, attributing revenue to traffic may be more complicated. To make it easier, you can leverage form tracking. This will help you better understand where your visitors came from and the activities they performed on your site. It will also make it easier to attribute the revenue generated by your organic traffic. 

Cost of SEO investment

This is easier to calculate and mainly includes in-house SEO expenses (including tools) or agency expenses if you outsource. Make sure to include everything that goes into planning and executing your SEO strategy.

Calculating SEO ROI

Armed with this information, you can now calculate your SEO ROI using our simple formula:

SEO ROI = (value of organic conversions – cost of SEO investments)/cost of SEO investments*100

For the sake of this example, let’s say the value of your organic conversions is $70,000, and the cost of SEO investment is $10,000. Your SEO ROI will be:

($700,000-$10,000)/$10,000 = 69

SEO ROI =69*100 = 6900%

While this may be a hypothetical example, it’s common for SEO to have astronomic ROIs. Which is why it’s a great space to invest in as one of your primary marketing channels.

Understanding SEO ROI: Key to Maximizing Your Campaigns 

The ROI of SEO should never be underestimated. Executed well, SEO can be one of your best-performing marketing and sales channels. Failure to understand this is why many SaaS brands don’t tap into the power of SEO.

However, it’s important to note that SEO is a long game, and unlike paid customer acquisition channels, SEO may take time. So, be patient if you want to calculate the ROI of your campaigns.

Need help with your SaaS SEO strategy and determining your ROI?

Then get in touch!

We’re more than happy to help.