Not all website traffic is created equal.
When it comes to business, the value of website traffic depends on the search terms for which the website is visible. Each search term has an inherent “value”. We call this “Search Visibility Value”, or SVV for short.
Put simply, the dollar value of SVV is the amount someone is willing to pay to be visible for a particular search term in Google Ads.
But how do you determine what someone would pay for visibility?
Fortunately, Google provides us with a free tool in their Google Ads ecosystem called “Keyword Plan” (used to be called “Keyword Planner”, which made a bit more sense?)
With the Keyword Plan(ner), you can plug in any number of keywords and get a pretty spot-on value of what you’d pay to get your Google ad to be visible for that keyword.
But this article is not about paid search, it’s about organic visibility and SVV.
High Value Keywords and Low Value Keywords
Obviously, ranking high in Google for the term “xyz rqb” is of low value. No one is searching for that term, and the “search intent” (not to mention commercial intent) is, at the very least, unclear.
Ranking high in Google for the term “home loans” is extremely valuable.
For example, as of this writing, the Google Keywords Planner shows this term costs up to $33.10 per click:
If your website received 10 “unpaid” (i.e., not Google Ads, but simple organic search) visits per day for the search term “home loans”, the value of your organic website traffic could be said to be $331 per day:
10 visits/day * $33.10 per visit = $331 of web traffic/day
While you as a business don’t “make” that money, you can think of it as an advertising value.
Obviously closing one of those visitors who arrived on your website searching for “home loans” could lead to many thousands of dollars in revenue for your home loan business.
If or when you go to sell your business, your website carries with it this intrinsic search visibility value.
This is why we say that your SVV is part of your business equity.
If your website were to show at the top of the organic results for “personal injury attorney”, Google estimates the value of this visibility to be $250.46 per click:
One more quick calculation of search visibility value to drive home the point:
- Suppose that today, you ranked #1 for “personal injury attorney” in Google organic search
- You received 10 visitors per day to your website for that term.
- The search visibility value of the website visitors per day to your website would be $2504.60.
To be sure, things are more complicated than this example in real life.
Position in the Search Results vs CTR
The relative position of your search terms in organic search results confer monetary “meaning” as well. After all, you may be on the first page of Google for “used teslas for sale”, but the #1 result has a far better click-through rate (CTR) than the #10 result.
In fact, according to a 2020 study, over 25% of people click the first search result, and the first result in Google has a 10 times higher CTR as compared to the tenth result.
As you’d expect, the CTR degrades significantly at each SERP position lower than #1.
So in order to get a viable monetary value metric, we also need to multiply the value of appearing on the first page by the CTR of the search position.
Web Pages Rank for Multiple Search Terms
A web page that ranks well, typically ranks for a number of additional keywords.
In fact, well-optimized web pages often rank organically for dozens, hundreds or even thousands of search terms.
That means the monetary value of the page overall would be the sum of every keyword your page ranks for, adjusted for CTR
Multiply the number of terms by the pay-per-click price of that term at this moment, and voila! You have the monetary value of the organic visibility of that web page for that keyword.
An Example Analysis of Search Visibility Value
How can we possibly determine the value of a given web page, much less the value of all the organic visibility of every page on a given website? Fortunately, our friend Ahrefs comes to the rescue.
Let’s take an example of a San Francisco Bay Area medical device company.
Using Ahrefs, we can view the search visibility value of a single URL (web page):
The total number of keywords this URL ranks for is 701, and the value of the search visibility for www.visbymedical.com as of July 23rd, 2022 is $250.
Why this low value for the website of a company that markets cutting edge COVID-19 rapid testing products?
Notice that their top keyword, “visby medical” is a brand name. That means, people finding visbymedical.com are searching for the company by name — they already know the company exists and are using Google search as a way to let them visit the website without having to type in the full domain name into the URL bar.
Currently, Visby’s competitors are not bidding in Google Ads for the term “visby medical” and thus, Visby enjoys a #1 position for their brand name:
The fact that no one is bidding on “visby medical” means the traffic has less value. Very often, this is the case with a unique brand name.
If this same URL ranked for “rapid covid test”, the value of this traffic would be much greater.
In fact, we can see that Visby does have a ranking for the term “visby covid test”, but the SVV is $3.80. The reason why is that, again, it’s a partial-branded search, not a “discovery” search:
Ahrefs can also analyze the search visibility value for an entire website in one swell foop:
With a $654 Traffic Value (or what we’re calling SVV), it’s safe to say that Visby Medical is probably not focused on SEO as a marketing channel.
Fun With Competitors
As you may have already realized, our tools let us see the SVV of any website.
This means we can analyze a company’s competitors as well.
Since the Traffic Value metric is created from the same dataset for all a company’s competitors, it is a good heuristic to determine the relative effort and effectiveness of a company’s SEO campaigns.
Let’s examine the term “medical device manufacturers” and check out the competition:
The website mpo-mag.com (a website about Medical Product Outsourcing) is the #1 search result for this term. MPO appears to be an industry publication, and is likely killing it with advertising the various companies in this space who don’t do SEO.
In fact, the first four positions belong to organizations or publications about medical device manufacturing.
Orionhealth.com, with a healthy SVV, is the first actual manufacturer of medical devices, or at least medical software.
What’s Your Search Visibility Value? What’s Your Competitor’s?
Ahrefs is a paid tool with no free trial available, but we’re happy to analyze the SVV of your website for you, as well as that of your competitors.
Using this technique, we can easily see how hard your competitors are working, and what you’d need to do to out-work them.