How ROI-driven Content Propels SEO Strategy: A Modern Take on SEO

Learn how content can be the main driver of your SEO strategy and how to produce ROI-driven content that will help your business succeed.

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Content & Copywriting
December 13, 2022

Google search algorithms continue to get smarter, which means SEO strategies must adapt to stay on top, and content plays a large role in this. It’s no longer enough to have just a single blog post or article on your website and leave it at that. Your content needs to be optimized for search engines so that they can easily crawl it to rank and understand your site. There are a number of long-term benefits to implementing content marketing strategies for your business to grow and succeed.

In the contemporary world of digital marketing, traditional  SEO techniques are slowly evolving into a set of practices that every website or brand owner must adopt to keep up with competitors. In addition to thinking about keywords and crawling accessibility, you also need to consider how content will help achieve strategic goals, rank your website in the highest possible position, and, most importantly, help you achieve ROI (Return on Investment). 

SEO has come a long way from keyword stuffing and link building. Today’s best practices are built with metrics in mind, such as targeting user intent, personalizing user experiences, and integrating schema markup, all while using content marketing and ROI to do so. 

What is Return on Investment (ROI)? 

In simple terms, ROI is the ratio of how much value is produced compared to the amount of time, money or other resources you put into something. In most cases, an ROI of 1:1 is average — you use equal resources to get the value you want, an ROI of 2:1 would be good, and an ROI of 10:1 would be exceptional. Essentially, ROI increases when you make more profit than what you spent on the cost of creation or any expenses incurred with it.  

In a content sense, an ROI-driven strategy means that you are creating content that is specifically designed to generate the most return on investment for your organization. That doesn’t mean the content needs to be about your company directly, but it should be designed to attract and engage your target audience to yield value.

Why Is Content Marketing ROI Important?

Recent studies have shown that content is where businesses should be placing more of their revenue. 

Traditional marketing strategies used in isolation are increasingly outdated. In comparison, the incorporation of current marketing strategies can result in greater success. For example, content marketing costs about 62% less and generates three times more leads. Content marketing is essentially a marketing strategy that uses articles, newsletters, videos and various forms of multimedia to attract and engage customers.

Content marketing is important because it is an important factor in ranking your company's website in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). So, the better your content is, the easier it will be for people to find your website online, the more inbound traffic you’ll receive, and the more customers will move through your marketing funnel.

Ultimately, investing in content - which includes research, media, writing etc. - yields a return and ROI for your business. If you’re not thinking about ROI when creating content, you could miss out on many potential short- and long-term benefits.

List of short and long-term benefits of investing in content marketing

Content marketing supplies long-term benefits due to the longevity it provides by content simply being on your website for people to engage with. Essentially, content marketing helps a target audience solve problems to which they need answers. As a result, backlinking opportunities and online shareability also increase. Unlike short-term solutions in CPC ads, Thought Leadership Content allows you to establish a strong online presence. Search Engine algorithms are believed to favor Thought Leadership Content as it yields the potential to produce the best resource on the internet. And if a piece is informative, engaging, and well-optimized, it will grow your customer base and contribute to your business ROI. 

What is ROI in SaaS Marketing and Why Is It Important?

ROI is used as a measure of success, as it is an indicator of how effective a marketing strategy is. A client will also only buy a product if they believe it will provide them with a worthwhile return. So, not only will you have to convince the customer that the product is a necessary purchase through a positive ROI, but measuring ROI helps determine which of your business’ marketing strategies are beneficial in the long run and which strategies are incurring unnecessary costs.  ROI is also crucial to consider in a marketing strategy to achieve a business goal or meet certain targets. SaaS companies invest immense time and resources into marketing strategies, so it is important to establish which strategies are worthwhile targeting for a business. 

Estimate ROI Before Producing Content

Before you execute a content marketing strategy for ROI, you’ll want to take a realistic look at what you expect the content to achieve. Maybe you want to increase your brand awareness, boost lead generation, increase your social media engagement, or drive more traffic to your website. Whatever your goals are, make sure you have them clearly defined - just like you would with a marketing plan or sales strategy. Then, before you write a single word, you’ll want to calculate how much money and resources you’ll need to invest to meet your goals. That means calculating the time you’ll need to invest in creating the content, the potential expenses needed to distribute your content (if any), and any other factors that could affect the ROI of your content.

Metrics and Tools to Measure your ROI

As aforementioned, measuring your Content Marketing ROI allows you to decide if a certain strategy is worthwhile for business success. Yet, measuring ROI is difficult for many businesses. Google Analytics and several other online tools are helpful ways to assist you in measuring the KPIs you need. 

To calculate ROI, this is a helpful formula to use:

Formula for calculating Content Marketing ROI

As an example:

You spend $200 on your content and generate $1400 from this strategy.

In this scenario, your ‘return’ is $1400 and ‘investment’ is $200. 

Plug your values into the formula:

$1400 - $200 = $1200

$1200 ÷ $200 = 6

6 x 100% = 600 %

Therefore, your ROI will be 600% and your investment in the content is likely to yield a high return.

This formula determines the profit you can expect to make from what you spend on the content itself. 

Additionally, one must consider that there are intangible benefits that content might bring to a  business, which will not be as easy to measure numerically. These intangible benefits could be legitimacy or thought leadership potential, and are the exact reason why you are implementing this strategy in the first place. 

Other than the basic formula, you also need to narrow down the most relevant KPIs that are necessary for your Content Marketing ROI. Let's unpack which metrics are the most valuable to look at when measuring Content Marketing ROI.

Leads, specifically Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)

  • These are leads who have engaged with your product, shown an interest in it or have the intention of purchasing it.
  • This is an important metric to look at when measuring your content’s conversion numbers as well as customer retention.
  • This would include actions such as signing up for newsletters, commenting on social media or browsing your website for long enough, and ultimately measures how effective your content is.

Consumption metrics

  • This metric determines how many people have viewed your website.
  • Total visits and engagement time determines whether your content is engaging enough for audiences to read online for more than 30-45 seconds.
  • This considers any downloads of material you have advertised or published on your websites, such as e-books or whitepapers.


  • This metric focuses on conversion rates and which viewers have made a purchase after considering your website content.

Lead generation

  • Content marketing campaigns are a form of lead generation, as this drives customers into, and hopefully through, your marketing funnel.
  • An important part of SEO that is determined by how enticing your content or copy is.


  • Social media content is easy to share online. Certain platforms provide you with analytics on your various campaigns, which ultimately makes it easier to measure.
  • Social sharing further enhances legitimacy and social presence and it is a way of attracting  traffic to your website.

Some of these metrics might overlap; however, they provide a sense of how effective your content is for viewers and customers who visit your website. If they successfully move through your marketing funnel, engage with content or even spend a considerable amount of time on your website, your content marketing strategy is effective. If these numbers are decreasing, or are not at the level you need them to be, you might need to rethink your content strategy. 

Measuring ROI combines relevant KPIs with foresight and industry experience. Yet, not only must you monitor the metrics and data of ROI, you must also use judgment along the way to determine what best suits your brand.  

How to Achieve Your ROI Through Content

People working at a table with spreadsheets and laptops
Mikael Blomkvist

 To achieve the best ROI through content, focus on these three main components: your message, medium, and metrics.

Your message

You first need to ask yourself what the overall goal of your content is. 

  • What do you want your readers to walk away with? 
  • What is the main takeaway? 

If you know your goal, you can map out a strategy to best-suit the content you create for your audience. 

Your medium

This is the format you will use to promote your content. Examples of content marketing mediums include:

  • Best in Class Articles
  • Blog Posts
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Copy
  • Infographics
  • Multimedia Elements
  • Educational Videos


Your metrics

As aforementioned, you need to plan how you are going to measure your success - i.e., the KPIs you will use to determine whether the content is effective or not. With these in mind, you can work towards creating the best content for your audience .

One should note that it takes time to see an increase in your ROI from content-based strategies, but playing the long game is a small price to pay for a substantial advantage. Alternative strategies to drive your ROI, besides content marketing, include:

  • Free trials
  • Discounts on services
  • Taking more advantage of social media
  • Using other forms of SEO such as paid ads

For your SEO strategies to drive ROI, you’ll need to ensure you’ve got your content marketing strategy in place. The best SEO strategies are ones that focus on the customer, which means understanding your target audience and creating content that resonates with them. For example, if you’re targeting B2B audiences, you should  create useful and actionable content. This content solves a problem, offering a solution to a common business issue. If you’re targeting B2C audiences, you should  create engaging content that resonates with your audience. This could mean creating fun, humorous or interesting content - or anything your target audience would engage with. 

This is another way to ensure that you produce an industry-leading resource that not only ranks highly with the right SEO implementation, but your content can be a resource that people will turn to first when searching for particular information. 

Producing High-Quality, Unique Content

The more unique, resourceful content you create, the better. While there are many search engines available, Google is the most popular search engine on the internet. It doesn’t like duplicate content, and neither do your readers. When you start the content creation process, it is important to remember that you are not  only  producing a piece  for Google - you are also creating something for your human readers. Ensure that the content you create is relevant and high-quality. It must solve a person’s search query and meet search intent. To achieve this,  research your target audience, create personas, and understand  their desires, pain points, and motivations. Original content helps you rank higher in the SERPs and drives more traffic to your website. The more high-quality content you have available for your readers, the more likely they will stay engaged with your brand.

Final Thoughts

Content is the new frontier of digital marketing. In past years, SEO, link building, CPC ads, and other strategies took precedence over content. There was more importance placed on these methods when it came to propelling digital marketing strategies. Yet, content was, and in some cases still is, the unsung hero.  Always a small part within a strategy, but never seen as a main source of competitive advantage compared to other digital marketing methods.  Now, it has evolved into a strategy with a distinct and powerful presence. If your SEO strategy places importance on ROI-driven content marketing, you’ll be well on your way to success.

Hannah studied a BA in Film, Media and English at the University of Cape Town, where she then went on to specialize in Multimedia Production with Film and Media in her final two years. She graduated with distinction from her degree in 2020. On the weekends, you’ll find her scrolling through Netflix, on a hike in the mountains, dipping a toe in the sea or exploring the many eateries of Cape Town.