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SEO, PPC, ROI, KPI – what the hell does it all mean and what should you be paying attention to?

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SEO, PPC, ROI, KPI – what the hell does it all mean and what should you be paying attention to?

There are so many digital marketing acronyms that It almost seems pretentious to some degree.

As a marketer, keeping up with all of the acronyms and their importance is just part of the job. But, as an outsider, it can seem very confusing. Let’s break some of these items down to see exactly what they mean, how important they are, and which ones you should be paying attention to.

Common Digital Marketing Acronyms

Here’s a quick explanation of the most basic understanding of the acronyms that we are focusing on in this article;

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.

Pay-per-click (PPC)
an internet advertising model used to drive traffic to websites, in which an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked. Pay-per-click is commonly associated with first-tier search engines.

Return on Investment (ROI)
the contribution to profit attributable to marketing, divided by the marketing ‘invested’ or risked.

Key Performance Indicator(s) (KPI)
A way of measuring the effectiveness of a marketing agency and its progress towards achieving your goals.

But anybody can search Google to find a few definitions.

This article is about exploring those definitions a little further to understand how these terms are important to your home services business and it’s marketing.

So let’s do just that.

Understanding SEO and PPC, and how they fit into your business.

Most of the time that we are approached by a prospective client, they don’t know which particular form of marketing they want or need – they only know that they ultimately want to generate more service calls.

It is our job to analyze your goals and come up with a roadmap of the most effective ways to reach those goals.


Let’s start with search engine optimization.

SEO is what we consider to be the foundation for any successful home services marketing campaign.

Search engines are becoming more and more geographically aware of their users’ intent when searching for particular home services such as “HVAC repair” or “Plumbers near me”. This is why search engine optimization is so powerful for service companies with a service area of let’s say a 20-mile radius.

You want to make sure that your local map listing as well as the relevant pages on your website are completely optimized and are showing up when those users in your service area are searching for your services.

The great thing about SEO is that your results aren’t determined by how much money you are willing to spend each month. Your results are based on the effectiveness of our work as your marketing agency month in and month out.

The only caveats to local SEO are the amount of time it takes and that a local home services company will have a hard time targeting a particular neighborhood that is 50 miles away because there are simply too many service providers between your physical location and that of the user in that neighborhood.

Pay-per-click, on the other hand, is able to do exactly that.

PPC marketing is a great way to target specific geographic areas with laser-like precision. You have the ability to say when you want your ads to show up, what search terms you want to trigger them, where you want them to be displayed, and how much you’re willing to pay for the clicks.

This kind of granular control over your marketing is very powerful when it comes to expanding your business in a hurry and even testing potential service areas.

You just better be prepared to have a budget that matches your goals because search engines don’t run ads for free.

Let’s dig a little deeper to understand in what scenarios these marketing tactics work best, what type of ROI to expect, and how to track a successful campaign with the proper KPIs.

When does SEO make sense and how will I know it’s working?

I’ll be honest – there really isn’t a scenario that we wouldn’t recommend local SEO to a home services client.

As I mentioned before, it is the foundation of any successful home services company out there when it comes to digital marketing.

It is highly effective for a new home services business that is looking to establish a foothold in their territory.

SEO can take a word-of-mouth company and expose them to a segment of customers that they would have never had the chance to access before.

And SEO, done right, is a breath of fresh air for the home services company that has been burned by less than effective marketing agencies in the past.

You’ll know search engine optimization is working when your local map listing and website start showing up in the first-page search results for relevant search terms in your service area. This is known as keyword rankings and is a major KPI, or key performance indicator, when it comes to SEO.

But let’s be honest – that’s kind of a lame KPI. While it’s important, first-page Google rankings don’t necessarily translate to more service calls.

We take things much further than keyword rankings when it comes to SEO that we provide our home service clients.

Some major KPIs that we track as your marketing agency are;

  • Keyword rankings – what position your local map listing and/or website rank for specific keywords.
  • Monthly website traffic – how many organic users are driven to your website each month, specifically from our efforts.
  • Website bounce rate – how often users reach your website and immediately leave or close the window.
  • Average time spent on page – well…how long users spend on a specific page on average, obviously.
  • Pages visited per session – how many pages a user clicks through to on your website in a single visit.
  • Average session duration – how much time a user spends on your website in a single visit overall.
  • Users’ geographical location – where users are accessing your website from.
  • Conversion rate – the percentage of users who are either calling or filling out a form.

Let’s understand why some of these metrics are important…

We want to know how many users we send to your website each month because it lets us know how effective the title and description of your pages are which is what shows up in the search results. If we notice that you are showing up in search results often but nobody is visiting your site, that tells us that we need to improve the quality of your title and description to persuade the user to click on your website.

Your bounce rate and average time spent on page go hand-in-hand. If all of the traffic we send to your website is spending less than 30 seconds on the page and not calling you, then we know we are sending the wrong traffic to your website and we need to correct that.

A user’s geographical location is important because let’s be honest, someone in India isn’t going to bring a whole lot of value to your local home services company located in Texas.

Where Visibly Connected really comes in clutch is with your conversion rate. We analyze the number of people who visit your website versus the number of phone calls and web forms you get each month. If that number is low, we make changes to the user experience of your website to help improve those numbers.

Search engine optimization is a long game and nothing really happens fast in terms of results. Our goal is to be as transparent as possible about that with our clients.

But the thing is – the payoff is huge.

When we are able to consistently put forth the effort to rank your local map listing and website on the first page of search results, analyze the traffic, and make necessary adjustments to maximize the potential of that traffic, all you have to do is answer the phone, reply to emails, and run service calls.

So why would I run PPC ads and what kind of return should I expect?

There are a couple of scenarios that PPC or pay-per-click marketing is most effective.

For one, PPC is a great way to stimulate your revenue while SEO is in its early stages and the results aren’t as glorious as you would like.

Another scenario where pay-per-click advertising would be best utilized is if you are trying to grow a particular service in a hurry such as AC Installation or Roof Replacement.

Where PPC really shines is its ability to allow your home services business to scale.

You are able to segment your marketing budget to really understand where you are getting the most return on your investment in terms of services provided and the geographical market.

By knowing if you spend $3,000 per month to get an additional 20 service routes in a specific city, you can hire additional service techs without the burden of wondering where the next customer is going to come from.

You also have the ability to easily reach out and target communities that may otherwise be a pipedream with organic marketing methods.

Another thing to consider is saturation.

Search engine optimization is great to establish dominance in your local service area, but eventually, you will saturate the market and just maintain that dominance.

With PPC, you can extend your reach and grow as a home services company to eventually TAKE OVER THE WORLD *lightning crash*.

Or at least the major metropolitan area if that’s what you’re into.

Some KPIs that go into determining a successful PPC campaign include;

  • Impressions – how often your ad is being seen.
  • Click-through rate – the percentage of users who click your ad.
  • Cost per click – the average dollar amount a search engine charges per click on your ad.
  • Conversions – users that either call or submit their information after having clicked on your ad.
  • Cost per conversion – the average dollar amount spent to achieve either a phone call or form submission.
  • Conversion rate – the percentage of users who call or submit their information after having clicked on your ad.
  • Overall cost – the overall dollar amount spent on your ads campaign.

Let’s look at how some of these metrics affect the overall quality of your ads campaign…

While we look at the overall picture, the main metrics that we analyze when running a PPC ads campaign are the click-through rate, conversion rate, and cost per conversion.

We want to maintain a high click-through rate because that determines how many people actually see your landing page and offer, such as “New System Financing”. Without people clicking on your ads, nobody will see your offer, and that means no service calls.

Once a user reaches your landing page, we are able to track how many of them convert into a lead by either calling or submitting their information on a form. This percentage is your conversion rate. Our goal is to convert as many users as possible into leads for your home services business.

Lastly, we want to really focus on the overall cost per conversion. This is important because it helps us really understand your ROI or return on investment.

One of the most common misconceptions that we run into with potential home services marketing clients is that a business running PPC ads is going to make money hand over fist with a modest investment.

That’s just not the case no matter who you are working with.

PPC advertising is an effective way to grow your business and target specific services and geographical locations but depending on the industry, can require a considerable budget.

Understanding the investment is the most important part of running PPC ads. If you know your margins and comprehend the value of a lead based on the frequency at which you are turning those leads into service calls, then you should be set up for a successful ads campaign.

The concept isn’t very complicated.

Once you understand the basic terminology and know what to look for, the concept of digital marketing isn’t very complicated.

The difficult part is being able to adapt and recognize all of the nuances that go along with maintaining multiple digital marketing campaigns.

As long as you equip yourself with enough information to make the appropriate decisions, you should experience success with your home services marketing.

Visibly Connected has been a marketing partner for home services companies for over 10 years and we love to be a resource of information for anyone in the industry. Feel free to reach out if you have questions!