Join David Booth for an in-depth discussion in this video Measuring SEO performance, part of SEO Foundations.
- One of the biggest challenges you might find is figuring out whether your SEO campaigns are succeeding or failing. SEO measurement not only involves the analysis of basic metrics, like traffic resulting from organic search engines, but it also requires a holistic approach to measuring business outcomes and making adjustments based on data. If you've never paid attention to SEO before, there are some basic things you'll need to have checked off your list. Before you can do anything, you need to make sure you have an analytics solution installed.
Once you're collecting the data, you'll need to define your Business Objectives and the Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, that you'll use to measure them. For example, you might want people to submit a contact form on your website. In that case, you can configure your analytics solution to track that as a conversion action, and you might look at KPIs like the number of conversions that occur over a period of time, or the conversion rate for specific marketing channels. This is just an example. But remember, you'll have lots of goals for your website, and that means you'll have lots of KPIs to continually monitor and improve upon.
You'll also want to establish some SEO-specific KPIs that can help you understand how your SEO efforts are paying off. Things likes organic search traffic, or visits to your website from search engines that are not generated by paid search, but instead organic listings. Your total organic search traffic compared to a previous timeframe, like month-over-month or year-over-year. Non-branded keyword searches, or searches where your brand or business name was not part of the search term. And target keyword rankings, or how well you rank for each of the target keywords on your lists.
While this last one might not be available in your standard analytics reports, there are plenty of tools out there that can automate the monitoring of your keyword rankings over time. Anyone working in SEO that's worth their paycheck should be keeping an eye on these metrics at a minimum. But this is really just scratching the surface. While attracting traffic to your website through your SEO program is certainly important, you also need to see what that traffic is actually doing once they get to your site. When you analyze traffic that comes from search engines and your organic search engine optimization efforts, ultimately you should be focused on how that traffic converts on your business goals and provides value to your bottom line.
If you are in an E-commerce situation, then you should obviously be looking at things like revenue, average order values, and other transactional data. But even if you don't sell your products online, you've still got lots of things to track. You can look at leads that come in the form of newsletter subscribers, social followers, event or demonstration signups, driving directions to your brick-and-mortar store, contact forms, or anything else you can dream up. And these days, there are lots of analytics solutions that allow you to track phone calls back to the source of traffic as well.
Make sure that you're measuring all of these important business goals so that you can look at conversions and conversion rates from the traffic your SEO is generating. Ensuring that you're collecting the right data, reporting on your KPIs in a meaningful way, and analyzing the data to really understand what's happening with your SEO strategy is a foundation. But just looking at data doesn't change anything. Measuring and improving your SEO over time is a continuous cycle of measurement, learning, and taking action. You have to use the data to learn what changes you can make to your strategy, and once you've made those changes, you'll start the cycle over again by measuring whether or not those changes produced an improvement.
Until you reach perfection, there's always something you can be doing better, and a data-driven measurement plan for your SEO will have you on the path to continuous improvement.
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- What is SEO?
- Understanding how search engines index content
- Researching keywords
- Using SEO tools
- Optimizing pages for keywords
- Optimizing code and site structure
- Building links to your content
- Optimizing nontext components of a webpage
- Analyzing content quality
- Defining your audience, topics, angle, and style
- Promoting your content via social media
- Measuring SEO effectiveness
- Setting up Google+ Local
- Optimizing ecommerce sites for search
- Configuring sites for mobile