When you begin the sometimes tedious process of changing your website to become search engine optimized, you might start to wonder whether or not anything you’re doing is really making a difference. And what good are goals like “improve the bottom line” if you can’t tell whether or not you have achieved them? Here are 9 ways to measure the impact of an SEO campaign.
1. Number of visitors from search engines
Clearly, increasing the number of visitors who find your site on search engines is the most important number to watch. Remember that some of your changes will not be indexed right away, so don’t get distracted if short-term numbers show no difference. Within a month or two, your changes should be getting you more results.
2. Keywords used by visitors
First, keep track of the number of keywords visitors use to find your site. As you improve your content, these keywords should increase both in number and in relevancy. It is safe to say that relevant keywords are going to bring high-quality traffic to your site.
3. Non-branded keywords used by visitors
Notice the types of keywords customers are using. If most of the searches include your business name or other branded keywords, that’s probably a sign that those customers were searching specifically for you. That’s great for tracking brand recognition, but you also want to reach search engine traffic who has never heard of you before. Track non-branded keyword searches to understand what queries you are ranking for, and which search terms you should improve upon.
4. Which pages are being landed on by search engine traffic
If you are focusing an SEO effort on specific pages of your website, you should expect those pages to be receiving more traffic than they were before, and possibly more traffic than the rest of the site. But if users are landing on pages that you haven’t optimized yet, take the opportunity to improve that page for even more relevance, and to encourage users to look at the rest of your site, instead of creating a new page from scratch.
5. Conversions from search engine traffic
You might choose to measure the number of purchases, newsletter registrations, or a lower bounce rate to track your conversions. Compare the number of conversions and the percentage of conversions to historical data and other traffic sources to notice whether your SEO optimization improved the quality of traffic from search engines.
6. Keyword rank
You can use keyword ranking software to see how your website ranks with your chosen keywords. As you work on SEO, your ranking should improve. However, these tools are not always up-to-date, so be patient!
7. Number of inbound links
You can improve your SEO by cultivating important inbound links from quality sources. As others grow in awareness of your site, more non-requested links will sprout up. Keep track of what sources are linking to you and what they are saying to you, so that you can keep the conversation going and show customers you care about their criticisms and their compliments.
8. Month to month or year to year comparisons
All of these metrics are going to need a baseline to compare them to. Don’t forget to track monthly important statistics (like those listed above) and look back to see how far you have come. If you have data from previous years, use it! Remember, you need to focus on the results, not the techniques – the same writing that got you plenty of search traffic a year or two ago might not be relevant at all anymore. Don’t be afraid to revise your content to help your numbers improve.
9. Number of e-mails or phone calls
Google Analytics will not track all of your conversions – sometimes your best conversions are more concrete ones. Watch for any increase in the number of unsolicited e-mails or phone calls you receive.
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