How can you tell if your SEO is working? Here are three measure you should keep an eye on, together with some links to practical guides that you can use to monitor the performance of your SEO campaigns.
Are you getting more visitors to your website from search?
Your Google Analytics reporting will provide you with one of the most useful measure of the effectiveness of your SEO campaigns. Are you getting more visitors to your website from the search engines?
Why have I put this measure top on my list, instead of measuring your position or ranks in the search engines? Because it is irrational to want to rank well for a phrase if you don’t then get any visitors to click on the link and come to your website. In SEO, the desire to rank well for a specific phrase at all costs, irrespective of the quantity or quality of traffic, can be a powerful motivator for business owners that can override the business benefit of actually getting more visitors, not just rankings.
It is easy to report on the number of visitors from the search engines as a first step. But where it gets more interesting is to report on non-branded search visitors, or in other words visitors that have not searched for your company name or brand words. These are visitors that have truly discovered your business from new using a search engine.
We have provided a guide to producing a non-branded keyword research visitor report
Are you getting more leads and enquiries?
Great SEO isn’t just about driving more visitors to your website, it is about driving the right kind of visitors to your site. Your need to define your SEO objective, usually known as your conversion.
What kinds of conversions might you be looking for? An enquiry form arriving off your website, a signup to your newsletter, downloading your company brochure, watching your company video are all conversions, but for most businesses we work with you want the phone to ring.
Put into place processes for measuring the leads and enquiries you have been receiving, and the source of the lead. There are techniques for measuring the source of telephone calls – give us a ring if you would like to know more.
And configure your Goals in your web metrics reporting: here us a guide to setting up goals in your Analytics.
Of course you can only generate an enquiry if the visitor to your site is interested in what you have to offer, and trusts your company.
Keep a close eye on the bounce rate for specific SEO phrases. You don’t want the bounce rate for your site as a whole; you need to know the bounce rate for specific types of visitors that arrived using specific phrases. Here is a guide to bounce rates and how they work with SEO.
How well is your website ranking for your key phrases?
And finally I arrive at the measure that you probably thought I was going to mention first.
Ranking well in the search engines is the ultimate goal for any SEO campaign. But the concept of ranking is becoming more complex due to changes in the way search engines present the results.
The search engines are personalising the results based on your individual preferences and behaviours. Very typically your own website will rank highly in the search results when you make a search, but you certainly can’t assume that other searchers are going to have the same experience. If you are not familiar with the concept of personalisation, read this article to learn more.
You can “depersonalise” the search results using the Chrome icognito mode, and we provide our clients with depersonalised SEO ranking reports each month as part of our standard reporting.
A second layer of complexity is the wide range of ways your site can rank: it could be that your website appears on the first page of the results. But there are many other ways to rank, and different types of searches trigger specific types of content that form part of your overall ranking profile.
Your company in the Google search results will include your website, but many other ways as well: your appearance on Google Maps for local searches, any rich media your company produces like YouTube videos or images, your company profile on Google+, your personal Google Authorship image alongside the content that you have written.