SEO ROI Statistics 2021-2022

What kind of ROI should you expect from an SEO campaign? Using 12 years of proprietary data from SEO campaigns, we’ve broken down the answer to this question by industry, further segmenting it by return on advertising spend (ROAS), ROI, and time to break-even.

SEO ROI Statistics by Industry

The following ROI statistics represent the ROAS and ROI of SEO averaged over a three-year period. The SEO campaigns that generated this data were thought leadership-based, meaning they involved ongoing publishing of keyword-targeted, high-quality website pages, split ~70/30 between blog entries and landing pages.

We calculate SEO ROAS using the following formula: Gross Return on SEO Campaign ÷ SEO Campaign Costs.

Typically, the costs of an SEO campaign are what a company pays our agency (~$120,000 / year) plus a share of the salary of all the people interacting with our firm on the client side. The final ROAS number is a ratio of how much gross revenue should be generated from every dollar spent on SEO.

Likewise, we calculate SEO ROI using the following formula: (Gross Return on SEO Campaign – SEO Campaign Costs) ÷ SEO Campaign Costs. We then multiply by 100 to get the percentage net return you can expect to see from SEO.

We’ve also included a time to break-even statistic, which is the number of months it takes for your net revenue from an SEO campaign to exceed your spend on that campaign.

SEO ROI by Industry (3-Year Average)

Industry Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) ROI Time to
Break-Even
Addiction Treatment 8.90 736% 8 months
B2B SaaS 8.75 702% 7 months
Biotech 9.20 788% 8 months
Construction 7.40 681% 5 months
eCommerce 3.65 317% 16 months
Financial Services 11.10 1,031% 9 months
Higher Education & College 10.40 994% 13 months
HVAC Services 8.15 678% 6 months
Industrial IoT 9.85 866% 7 months
Commercial Insurance 9.05 758% 9 months
IT Staffing 7.00 612% 10 months
Legal Services 6.15 526% 14 months
Manufacturing 9.50 813% 9 months
Medical Device 12.85 1,183% 13 months
Oil & Gas 10.55 906% 10 months
PCB Design & Manufacturing 12.40 1,101% 11 months
Pharmaceutical 9.85 826% 9 months
Real Estate 15.10 1,389% 10 months
Solar Energy 9.20 770% 9 months

SEO ROI Statistics by Service Type

When a marketing leader is setting expectations for the ROI their company will receive on an SEO campaign, they must consider the comprehensiveness and quality of the SEO campaign itself. Below are the three most common SEO services along with their ROAS, ROI, and time to break-even.

A technical SEO campaign is one in which an SEO consultancy enacts technical fixes to your website, typically relating to speed, security, and mobile optimization; performs keyword research; and rewrites the title tags on your website using the results of their keyword research.

A standard content marketing SEO campaign is one in which an SEO agency performs cursory keyword research, typically consisting of looking up keywords using an online tool; and produces ~4 blog articles per month of average quality relative to your competition.

A thought leadership SEO campaign is one in which an SEO agency performs thorough keyword research with an emphasis on target audience persona needs and pain points, transactional behavior, and search intent; and produces at least eight high-quality content pages per month with an aim toward getting categorized as a news website by Google. 

SEO Service Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) ROI Time to
Break-Even
Technical SEO
(Technical fixes, keyword research, title tag rewrites)
1.35 117% 6 months
Standard Content Marketing
(Average quality keyword research & blog articles ~4x / month)
1.05 16% 15 months
Thought Leadership Marketing
(Transactional quality keyword research & blog articles ~8x / month)
8.90 748% 9 months

SEO ROI Timeframe

Positive ROI in an SEO campaign is achieved over a 6-12 month period, with peak results in the second or third year of the campaign. Here is what a typical B2B SEO campaign looks like in terms of gross revenue generated on an annual basis:

Seeing this kind of ROI is a result of content quality remaining high throughout an SEO campaign, a strong adherence to search intent, and the lifetime value of a customer being relatively high ($10,000+). The best candidates for thought leadership-style SEO are typically companies with particularly high-value clients, such as those in financial services, industrial manufacturing, real estate, or B2B SaaS

Achieving a High SEO ROI: Next Steps

We hope the above statistics are useful to you in establishing benchmarks for your own SEO campaigns. If you’re concerned about your ROI meeting your standards for an SEO campaign, you may wish to contract with an agency such as ours to conduct a thought leadership SEO campaign. You can reach out to us here.

If you’d like a downloadable pdf copy of this report, reach out to us here.

Further Reading

To help you achieve the above ROIs, we recommend reading our reports on SEO benchmarks and conversion rates:

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