If your reading this chances are that you’ve invested in Search Marketing and you want to know that it has been well placed. Right? … but is your SEO working?
One of the biggest challenges with running effective Search Engine Optimization campaigns are the doubts that often surround whether or not the SEO campaign is successful or not.
If you work for an agency, or are an independent SEO you’ll know about the skepticism that usually follows the industry. To combat this, it is absolutely critical to illustrate success through hard numbers and not allowing a client to take your word for it (which often causes clients to quickly cancel). Additionally, if you’re doing your own SEO, you’ll need to be able to analyze your results to decide where to focus your marketing efforts.
Below, I’ll illustrate 5 ways to find out if your SEO campaign has been successful or not:
When determining if your SEO campaign is successful traffic is usually the first, and most obvious, place that people look. As an SEO company, the most common complaint I get is,
“My traffic is the same; SEO must not be working!!”
Most of the time, this statement is based on cynicism instead of reality.
Traffic is a great measure of success but only if you compare it to baseline traffic measurements. These measurements should be taken at the beginning of each campaign to compare results. If you don’t establish baselines for future comparisons, then you’re really setting yourself up for failure when trying to decide if your SEO is truly working or not. In the future, be sure to compare your traffic to your baselines to see if there was a net gain or loss.
Many SEO’s say that search engine rankings don’t really matter. Even though 60%-70% of all traffic come from long-tail search phrases I say that they do make a difference. In fact, you can often show a solid correlation between search engine rankings to search engine traffic.
A client will often say,
“How do I know if I’m getting more traffic is because of SEO? It could be due to a seasonal change.”
That may be true, but what will they say when you show them that search engine rankings have increased at the same time as a traffic increase? These are the types of correlations that are important to illustrate the client.
Like traffic it is important to set up baselines with rankings. First, decide on which high volume keywords to track rankings for. Then compare the baseline reports to reports that you run in future to decide if there is a net increase or decrease. These results should help you understand more about the success or problem areas of your campaign.
How you show whether your SEO campaign has resulted in “increased visibility” can be critical to measuring success. What do I mean by “increase visibility”? I mean maximizing the total overall exposure/coverage that your site is getting.
There are a couple of ways you can tell if your site’s “visibility” is increasing. These metrics are all dependent on your gathering of baseline data from which to draw a comparison:
Pages Indexed – The goal of an SEO campaign is to make sure that all of your site’s pages are getting indexing. First, you must have a rough idea of how many pages your website has. Then, measure a baseline to see how many pages are indexed. Lastly, measure your site’s indexed pages in a few weeks to see if the percentage of indexed pages has increased.
Number of Keywords Driving Traffic – The goal of any SEO campaign is to broaden your websites reach by ensuring that you rank well for a range of keywords. When you do your baseline, record how many keywords are driving traffic. After a couple of months, go back to see if the number of keywords driving traffic has increased/decreased.
4. Increase in “Other” Areas
There are several other metrics in SEO that sort of fall into the “Other” areas that may help you determine success. These include:
- Google PageRank
- Inbound Links
- Crawl Frequency
- Increase Presence within social media & bookmarking websites.
Again, this is all contingent on establishing baselines. Be sure to check a these metrics a couple of months down the line to see if they’ve increased or decreased.
Though this is listed last, it is usually the most important in the eyes of business owners and marketeers. I mean hey – why put money into something that doesn’t yield more leads, conversions, sales, etc.?
The way I see it, if all things are equal – meaning your conversion rates hold steady – you should see an overall increase just by getting better traffic and rankings. For example, let’s say your website has a 5% conversion rate and you increase your traffic from 1,000 visits per month to 5,000 visits per month. If your conversion rate holds, you should see an increase in conversion from 50 to 250 – a pretty big difference!
Now as we know, nothing is ever that simple. There are many other factors that play into how and why leads, conversions, and/or sales occur including design and user intent among many other things.
The bottom line with SEO and the reason most people do it is ROI. If the Return on investment is there, and you can prove that it correlates directly to your SEO efforts (and not another initiative), then you can tentatively say that your Search Engine Optimization efforts are a success.
In conclusion, when you look at all these things together you should be able to draw a pretty accurate picture of where your Search Engine Optimization campaign has had success and failures.
Hope this helps – happy optimizing!