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Like with any other website process, it is necessary to measure the success of your SEO campaign.
This helps you establish what is going on and how you can improve your performance.
Assessing your SEO is especially important for companies that are using outsourced services.
Given that you don’t have full control of the optimization, you have to be on top of things and understand what is being done.
There are numerous parameters that need to be analyzed.
However, we are able to place them in five major groups:
- Keywords and rankings
- User experience
Let’s check each of them and see how you can improve your business through flawless content marketing and SEO.
Keywords and rankings
Keywords are be-all and end-all of search engine optimization.
Whenever you need a new idea for an article, you should start by exploring keywords and finding just the right ones to pursue.
Logically, the more organic keywords you rank for, the better it will be for your traffic.
Let me open a bracket here.
Google Analytics is an awesome tool to track traffic and user engagement metrics.
If you combine Google Analytics data with Google Webmaster Console data you will be able to track click-through-rates and average positions per keyword.
Also, you will be able to see the number of keywords (and which exactly) every page on your site ranks for.
This is pretty cool!
OK, back to our keywords discussion.
Remember, the number of ranking keywords is NOT the only parameter we should consider.
It is very important to analyze each of them individually and see how much you benefit from them.
Naturally, the ranking position is the next factor we should check.
In order for your keyword to be profitable, it needs to rank among top 10 results.
Everything else should be neglected as it gives you almost no traffic.
Other important parameters are impressions, clicks and click through rate, all of which can be analyzed through Google Search Console.
Although rankings are very important they do don’t show us how many searches a keyword actually has.
You may rank on first position for a specific term but that same term may not drive a lot of traffic.
In that regard, the total number of phrases you’re ranking for can be misleading.
It’s much better to have less but high quality, in-depth articles written around high search volume terms, than to have tons of content built around words with very little searches
Another thing that needs to be considered in terms of keywords is how they help your conversions.
Here, I am not only referring to the traffic itself!
I am talking of the number of products and services you’ll be able to sell after visitors come on your sales landing page.
Here you should target a specific type of keywords which are called “money keywords”.
In short, these are keywords such as “SEO services”, “buy research paper online” or “cheap dresses” which people tend to search when they need to purchase.
Being able to rank for numerous money terms in organically is a great way of measuring your web success.
As I already said, SEO progress and performance of campaigns shouldn’t be measured solely by checking rankings.
Instead you should focus on customers engagement and money they spent per visit.
So how should you measure SEO success of a campaign properly?
In two ways:
- Based on profit (you are making higher profit after the SEO campaign started)
- Based on exposure (you are making same profit but you’re getting more exposure)
Website owners usually view campaigns in terms of whether they’re able to make profit or not.
But there is another thing to consider.
If you managed to break even after an SEO campaign, you’ve made it work
Having an experienced SEO expert in your team will always be beneficial.
Even if you don’t see any profit at first you will still have benefit of boosted SEO metrics and more exposure.
Remember, SEO is a marathon not a sprint. It takes months to kick in but once it does… sky’s the limit for your business.
Occasionally, it will take some time until all these improvements start working.
I’d say 3-6 months is the absolute minimum, so be patient.
But when results start to show, they create an avalanche effect.
Suddenly you might find yourself in a situation where search engines love your content and you profit slowly starts to increase.
If the SEO company you’re working with knows their stuff you might have to recruit more staff in a year in order to be able to serve all the clients you’re getting.
When it comes to measure SEO success of your team, you should always wait for a few months before you make an assessment of the service.
This is just how it goes.
Links are the dominant ranking factor.
In a sense, they are a vote of confidence to your site provided by other websites.
People often say that it is best to have a high amount of links pointing to your website.
That’s not entirely correct.
You have to have in mind that not every link will have the same value.
In fact, since 2012 there are 3 types of backlinks your site can get:
- High quality links which will boost your rankings, organic traffic and sales
- Useless links that will increase your stats (like domain authority and number of referring domains) but won’t give you any SEO benefits
- Low quality, spammy and toxic links which can lead to Google Penguin penalties and seriously harm your website
So how do we know if we’re building the first type of links?
That’s a great question!
There are 3 key factors that you need to account for when doing link analysis:
- Brand popularity
First thing that needs to be analyzed is the relevancy.
When you get a link, it should be coming from your a related website, preferably within your industry.
You can also get a number of links from shoulder niches (example: if you are an accountancy company, it is perfectly fine to get a link from an insurance or financial blog).
Other relevancy factors you should consider are language and country of origin.
It is best to get links from local websites working within your city or country and are (preferably) written in the same language.
If you are getting a lot of irrelevant links, it will not help your rankings.
Instead, it will most likely hinder them.
Every link is passing so called “link juice”.
With it, your page (and site as a whole) is gaining authority.
If you had to choose, it would be much better to get a few links from highly authoritative sites in your industry than to get hundreds of low quality irrelevant ones.
So if the number of high quality and relevant links is constantly increasing it is a great SEO signal for your website.
Finally, if these links are actually bringing you traffic too – now that would be magic!
Getting links from same websites over and over can pose a problem.
It can be seen as a link building strategy and might get you in trouble with Google.
Still, it does show your name on other portal and can potentially drive additional traffic.
It is also important for your name to be constantly present on popular sites within your niche.
In that sense links can be a free promotional tool and increase your brand exposure which I will be mentioning next.
Sometimes a link from a highly authoritative website can be a great improvement of your digital marketing given that this is a widely shared message.
Brand exposure is the greatest intangible when you employ services of an SEO team.
In fact, it is rarely mentioned in contract and website owners rarely place it as a requirement.
Instead, blogs usually focus on number of acquired links, improved rankings and better conversion.
Decision not to include or at least even mention brand positioning is rather ludicrous.
Whether you’ve set it as a contractual requirement or not, brand exposure has to improve after a while if your team did a good job.
If you had a longer contract with an SEO company, their report should show you that website started acquiring links without a direct involvement.
This is a sign that a company has reached a point of its development where people recognize it as a legitimate brand.
So how can you determine whether website has started gaining brand exposure?
- Increased number of social likes and shares
- Bigger number of mentions
- More acquired backlinks
Have in mind that in this case I am not talking about direct involvement.
Instead each metric should be result of people naturally noticing your organization.
For example, if someone starts sharing your content on Facebook and Twitter this can be a clear indication that you’re starting to acquire fans.
Even though traffic is mostly a product of keywords and their positions and proper usage, it also needs to be analyzed in detail.
You see, not every traffic is organic – coming directly from Google.
Some of it may be referral.
In this day and age, companies get a lot of traffic through social media channels.
Although it is not a direct factor affecting your SEO, it has an enormous indirect effect. Similarly to everything else on this list, it is much better if the numbers are high.
But again, you have to be very careful as to what type of traffic your website is getting.
Irrelevant traffic will lead to disastrous consequences for user experience metrics affecting search engine optimization in the process.
Ultimately, traffic will affect the number of backlinks you are getting. The only way to get high quality links is if your pages are visited by active professionals and influencers from your industry.
By pinpointing your users, you can determine if your domain is getting the exposure which it needs to grow further.
It is very hard to draw a line when it comes to all factors affecting your SEO progress.
However, by concentrating on a couple of major elements, we are able to establish what is going good and what needs to be adjusted.
Remember that there are a lot of online resources and tools which can guide you through this process. Given they weren’t the main focus of the article I didn’t want to further analyze them.
How often do you measure SEO success? What metrics do you include in your reports to evaluate your efforts? Let me know in the comments.