Measuring ROI from SEO

See yourself as Google sees you.

By Simon Cornelius

There is no question that return on investment (ROI) is an important metric for any business investment. For an optometrist, understanding the ROI for search engine optimization (SEO) should be as important as understanding gross sales and appointment slot utilization.

The ROI of SEO can be measured in many ways, from website traffic to tracking calls, to even more obscure metrics such as bounce rates, pages, and time spent on the website. Companies that offer SEO may use any or all of these metrics to justify the cost of their services. But there is one simple way to measure the ROI on SEO, and it can be checked at any time you have an Internet connection available to you: in other words, for most of us, any time at all.

Many options are in the marketplace for SEO services, including Imatrix (, EyecarePro (, eyefinity (, and, more recently, SureFire Social ( Understanding and justifying the monthly fees of these services is the point of many conversations I have with business-savvy doctors. The companies will give prospective customers enough metrics and numbers to overwhelm understanding.

But remember: The benefits of SEO are realized when a potential patient calls your office. The higher your website presence ranks on the first page of a search engine such as Google, the more likely you will receive a call over your competitor who is on the second page or even just lower down on the first page.

This metric should not be confused with other metrics such as website traffic. Although traffic is important and relevant, there are sites with high traffic but low effectiveness. Sites may have high engagement but lack good calls to action.


The simple and verifiable way to measure the effect of the money you spend on this rather abstract business expense is the answer to this question: “Where do I appear on the first page of the search engine results?” Despite the numerous ways that SEO services may try to justify your spending hundreds or thousands of dollars, the best way to measure your ROI is to actually see how Google “sees” you.

Google yourself right now, and you can instantly quantify the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.

Open your Internet browser and search for the keyword of your choice plus your city. Examples could include “optometrist Denver,” “dry eye specialist Cincinnati,” “eye therapy Dallas,” or “eye doctor Atlanta.” Seeing where you rank is an easy and direct manner of measuring the ROI on your Internet marketing expense, and it is verifiable at any moment in time.

Basic business sense argues that, if the cost of an investment does not yield a positive result, the investment should be withdrawn. But the fact is that having a lower first page ranking is a better result than having no ranking at all.

So go ahead. See if your SEO expenditure is giving you positive results in the search engines. Search and see where you place in the ranking, and then ask yourself, “Is this the best ROI for what I am paying?” n

Simon Cornelius
• Director, Physician Online Strategy at
• Consultant for and