How to Create an SEO Business Case

In order to develop a compelling SEO business case, marketers must be able to legitimize SEO as a viable marketing channel for the client. Don’t kid yourself, this can be challenging. Many clients are married to other forms of digital marketing like paid advertising or social media. They can fail to see positive results that can come from a well-crafted SEO campaign, especially since SEO can take time to flourish. An effective SEO business case example can mean the difference between winning or losing a client. Since SEO metrics can seem nebulous to many, it’s important to show the return on investment (ROI) to illustrate the value of organic search insights. ROI is the primary outcome of the broader concept known as SEO forecasting. This is the process of measuring future organic search growth using predictive calculations—keyword rankings, cost per conversion, and traffic data are all factors. By relying on SEO forecasting to steer our business case development, we can ensure greater precision and accuracy. Learning how to create a business case for SEO investment requires a slightly deeper look into SEO forecasting itself.

How SEO Forecasting Impacts Your Business Case

Without SEO forecasting, your business case will be weak at best. Forecasting adds gas to the engine of your business case to help provide the right justifications for using SEO as a pillar of a client’s marketing campaign.

Think about your inbox. As a marketing professional, you likely get reamed with solicitation emails from ‘SEO providers'  selling you their services. The problem with this is a lack of personalization. With SEO forecasting, you can leverage these insights into your sales pitches to create a more convincing message.

Catering to the prospect is key. A business case should account for differences in industries, competition and budgetary constraints. For example, a local mom and pop store will have a much smaller marketing budget than an established national brand, and their SEO forecast should reflect this difference.

Here are some of the most critical areas of an SEO forecast that will matter to a business case.

They are the foundation of every SEO campaign. Keyword targeting can determine success or failure and take you from zero to hero.

Ultimately, it’s up to the SEO professional to select keywords that carry value for the client and are intrinsically connected to conversions.

Search volume is a starting point. Obviously you want keywords that are actively being searched for by consumers. But the next area of consideration is commercial value. Will my keywords make money?

Some top of funnel keywords might not be as commercially viable, but as you get lower down the funnel you will want to pursue keywords with a higher cost per click (CPC). Terms with a combination of high volume and high cost per click are the sweetspot, increasing the chances of your client to become more profitable.

Cost per click is a great crossover metric to use when pitching a business case for SEO. It crosses over from the realm of paid ads, which most clients will be intimately familiar with, giving them a bit more understanding into the overall value of an SEO campaign. 

Building a keyword list involves competitive analysis combined with monitoring existing rankings for improvements.


The result of improved keyword rankings is improvement in overall traffic to your website. Higher keyword rankings tend to correlate to higher click through rates (CTR) from search, leading to more website visitors.

An SEO business case should acknowledge the expected growth in traffic that results from increased keyword rankings and use that data to show the client the expected improvement over the course of their organic campaign.


Revenue analysis is another massive piece of the forecasting puzzle. Without SEO revenue projections how can you convey value? The simple answer is you can’t.

A revenue forecast is expected to showcase campaign growth over the course of weeks or months. This comes from boosts in keyword rankings which presumably lead to higher click through rates (CTR) and more people purchasing products on the website.

Connecting keyword improvements to revenue growth is a key ingredient for winning over clients. Many SEOs struggle to tie in their organic search projections to the client’s bottom line. Showing revenue trajectory will help sell clients hook, line, and sinker.

How to Build an SEO Business Case

Constructing your SEO business case starts with connecting the fruits of your organic search labor to end sales. This is what the client cares about, period.

It starts by using your SEO forecast to illustrate how increases in keyword rankings are tied to higher conversions. It’s hard to convey this to clients without actually showing them what it looks like, so it’s time to employ an automated SEO forecasting tool to help out.

Using a free software tool like ZISSOU, you can easily export graphs showing keyword improvements over time, accompanied by correlating financial data that supports this growth.

As you can see here, keyword distribution improvements are color-coded, showing clients how their rankings will improve over time. Best of all, they can see distribution across a range of possible outcomes. Since SEO is never a 100% certainty, it’s helpful to provide room for volatility. By displaying a range from conservative through aggressive, you are helping clients see the bigger picture of what’s possible.

Seeing the effect from keyword distribution is the first step towards getting your client hooked on your SEO projections. Next step is to show them the resulting boost in revenue and ROI.
This is an SEO business case example for a growing marketing agency. Note the exponential growth effect that can happen after around the 6 month mark.
The landscape for a B2B marketing agency is hyper competitive, which explains why the biggest revenue boosts aren’t realized until after month six. But once the campaign matures past a certain point, it will unleash a massive growth phase where revenue begins to flourish.

When you break down your SEO business case into a graph featuring dollar improvements, it makes the process look a lot more appealing. Even though you aren’t forecasting significant growth for the first couple months, this soon morphs into exponential growth over a period of 9 months to 1 year.

It’s a great way to explain the process of SEO for clients who lack experience with organic search. By showing them a path forward, they will be far likelier to want to sign on for your services.

How to Create a Business Case for SEO Investment

The power of SEO eludes many businesses, and the job of convincing them can be an uphill battle. Developing effective business cases means showing your client the relationship between SEO improvements and money in their pocket.

Can you do this manually? Yes. But why?

It takes countless hours to calculate projections and place them in a snug deliverable. You’re better off using a free tool like ZISSOU that can crunch these numbers for you and create an engaging report that any prospect will love to read.

With technology on your side, you can start creating more compelling SEO business cases today.

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