There is a lot of time and money that goes into an SEO campaign, so it’s imperative to be able to measure if your SEO is working. This is true whether you are working on it yourself or outsourcing it.
In order to determine if your SEO is working, you will need to set some goals and reasonable expectations. Determining whether or not SEO is working is going to be dependent on individual circumstances. Each SEO campaign is going to have different goals.
Deciding on Goals
Figuring out your goals will be the most helpful in being able to determine SEO success. Some people just want general improvement in rankings, but is that really what you are after or do you want more traffic? Are you using SEO in conjunction with other marketing efforts? How much traffic do you want to receive? Having concrete goals is good, but it’s also important to create reasonable expectations.
SEO is a long-term strategy. You won’t see results in just a week, so don’t get discouraged. You will probably find that depending on how much money you are spending and some other variables, like your industry, you’ll see a few results in the beginning and then many in the middle of the campaign. Since it’s important to remember that SEO takes months instead of weeks, plan your budget accordingly. Generally, the more money and time you spend on SEO, the better your results. This doesn’t mean spending a lot of money upfront, but instead making sure you have enough budget to see your efforts through.
KPIs for Determining if Your SEO is Working
The KPIs that determine if your SEO is working will be dependent on the goals you have set, but there are a few common KPIs you may want to keep in mind when setting your goals.
- Organic Traffic: Using Google Analytics will help you determine if your organic traffic is increasing month over month. This will be one of the most important SEO metrics. If your overall SEO strategy is working, you should receive more organic traffic. Organic traffic is the traffic that comes when someone finds your website from a search engine. If your pages are optimized for the search engine correctly, then the website will start to show in searches. You can use your organic traffic results to tweak your SEO efforts to further gain results. Take a look at what pages are showing up and if they are the right pages you want visitors to go to. For e-commerce websites, you want the majority of traffic to go to product pages.
- Referral Traffic: If part of your SEO strategy is building links, then referral traffic will show how those efforts are working. It can also be an indicator of how well your offsite content is performing.
- Conversions: The point of your SEO efforts should be more conversions for your website, whether that is more lead forms filled out or products sold. Setting up goals in Google Analytics will help you determine if you are getting more leads and e-commerce tracking will help you see if you are selling more products in order to track results.
- Page Load Time: If you are adding technical SEO elements to your campaign, see if your page load time is an easy way to make sure your changes are working. Improving your page load time will also help make sure that users stay on your website and don’t bounce. If users stay on your website, your other SEO efforts will matter more.
- Bounce Rate: The bounce rate of your pages can help you figure out what if your design and content on the page is actually working for your visitors. Bounce rate shows how engaging your website is. If you have a high bounce rate, users are not finding what they are looking for, which can indicate a problem. If users are not bouncing, you have a better chance of having them convert.
- Keyword Rankings: This used to be a much more common way to track SEO results. However, the latest Google algorithms give different search results depending on location and the search intent of the user. Therefore, it has become harder to track SEO progress with keywords. You can still keep track of SEO keywords and optimize with them, but it shouldn’t be the main KPI that you are looking at for improvement.
How Long Should You Wait?
After six months, you should start to see some progress. After a year, you should start to see a positive ROI. Remember to keep track of your KPIs and monitor progress month after month, so you can make changes and adjustments if you notice something is not working right away, such as a high bounce or bad page speed.
Contact Poet Media to learn more about SEO strategy for your business.