Build a Business Case to Get an International SEO Investment Approved for 2024

Drive conversions

The more brand visibility you have, the more likely people are going to visit your website. The more people visit your website, the more conversions you’ll see.

So, based on the figures listed in the two forecast images above, you can determine your target conversion rate and see what you have to do to get there. Most websites are around 2 to 10% on average, depending on the industry, so don’t be too overly ambitious. However, it’s still a great tool because it allows you to see how much your conversions would increase based on the amount of organic traffic you gain.

3: Develop a Strategic Plan with an ROI Forecast

To complete your business case, you’ll need to outline costs, revenue forecasts, and timelines of the entire rollout. This enables you to accurately predict potential gains or losses and help harbor support for international SEO investments.

Resource requirements

Again, SEO is often referred to as “free traffic,” but that’s absolutely not the case. In fact, SEO typically costs more than PPC at the beginning, but it pays off more because of its long-term sustainability. With PPC, you have to keep paying to keep seeing results, but SEO will keep “paying you” for years without you having to touch it.

Of course, this is after the initial SEO engine and implementation workflows are built, which do carry costs. So, in order to determine an accurate ROI forecast, you need to outline these costs ahead of time.

Ensure you have the full costs included for resources, no matter whether you hire an agency or do it in-house. The team implementing the project is all a cost factor, as well as things like gross revenue generated from conversions and profit margin.

Important tip here for cost calculation: make sure you include the cost for a dedicated SEO developer. In my experience, this is the #1 reason SEO projects fail — content doesn’t go live due to a lack of resources. In fact, Aira’s technical SEO survey of 500 SEOs emphasizes this and outlines that technical SEO changes take an average of six months to go live. That’s six months when you could already be generating revenue, rather than changes sitting in an overworked dev’s task list.

Overall, these figures, in comparison with ROI, will be the major factor as to whether or not stakeholders invest in international SEO, so take some time to understand this and be detailed here.


Once you have a stronger understanding of resource requirements, you’ll want to create a timeline for the proposed SEO initiatives. Try to highlight the importance of a phased approach here, as this helps give you enough time to see results from your efforts.

Ideally, think in increments of 6-month milestones. This gives you plenty of time for your content to get live, indexed, and start generating conversions. It’s also enough time to establish good operational workflows that are ready to scale over the long run.

ROI forecast

Once you know your costs, timelines, forecasted conversions, and KPI milestones, you can forecast ROI. While this data takes some time to get to, it’s often the single most important factor for getting the budget you need from stakeholders.

I’ll go over a few examples below.

Example 1: E-commerce

Let’s say this e-commerce company wants to expand into Germany. They’ve determined from the search volume available that they can generate an additional 6,000 organic monthly traffic.

They currently have no presence in Germany but want to grow it. They estimate a conversion rate of 2% for the products in which a customer spends an average of €1,290 (the Average Order Value).

The operational costs to implement their SEO strategy are €18,000 per month, which leaves their core growth KPIs at 120 monthly sales from SEO that cost €150 each.

This totals to €154,800 gross revenue from monthly sales and an ROI for their SEO efforts of 760%.

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