How to Build a Predictable SEO model for B2B Companies

Posted on September 11, 2020

In this episode of the GrowthTLDR, we talk to Eli Schwartz, a growth advisor to B2B and B2C companies, increasing their traffic via search.

We talk to Eli about when companies should consider investing in search. We dive into building a forecasting model for SEO, why it’s so hard, how to get a somewhat accurate version, and how the best SEO approaches their work as a product manager.


Happy Growing!


Time Stamped Notes:

[2.50] – SEO is a long-term investment. It’s akin to investing in your retirement fund. When Eli is building forecast models for the ROI on SEO investments, he likes to look at them across a five-year time horizon. His advice for most start-ups is SEO might not be the best fit for them. They need to invest in marketing channels that will pay today’s bills before they can start making future-looking investments.

[6:30] – Eli sees the role of SEO in B2B companies as an assisted conversion. Its role is to introduce someone into the brand and assist other channels in converting that person into a customer.

[10:20] – Eli sees two indicators to indicate it’s the right time for companies to start investing in search:

a. The unit economics of paid advertising is beginning to diminish, and they need to find a more sustainable channel.

b. The company is growing, and they have the resources to invest in another channel.

[14:25] – It’s very challenging to forecast SEO growth. The data provided by keyword tools are mostly inaccurate when accessing how much traffic keywords get. Eli talks through how he builds his forecast model for SEO.

[20:10] – The conversion rates of paid advertising channels is a good benchmark to use for SEO. However, the conversion rates of paid advertising will be higher than SEO because SEO is an assisted conversion channel for most B2B companies.

[22:40] – Eli has found that most multi-attribution models are heavily weighted towards paid advertising. 

[25:30] – The number one mistake companies make when investing in SEO is they obsess over rankings. Another common mistake is the SEO teams get held to higher standards than their paid advertising counterparts. When spending on paid, you may invest millions of dollars and expect to get a 5:1 return on that money. For SEO, you spend ten thousand dollars on a tool and expect them to generate as much revenue as the paid team.

SEO’s should consider themselves as product managers and collaborate with others to hit their goals.

[29:30] – Eli’s best tip for companies is to look through Google’s search console to identify what keywords their website is getting impressions for; that’s how Google understands the website. And invest in those relevant keywords, with high impressions, where you can improve rankings.


– Eli on Twitter / LinkedIn
– Kieran on Twitter / LinkedIn
– Scott on Twitter / Linked