Tracking and Measuring SEO Results

Monitoring SEO Performance

There is a popular saying among those in marketing and business that states, what get measured, gets managed.

That’s certainly the case for SEO. SEO practitioners regularly monitor website performance and collect as much data as possible to improve how a website performs in search. By tracking conversions and rankings, it’s possible to measure your SEO’s impact on your site. This makes it possible for you to improve upon your strategies, and it also gives you a way to demonstrate the value of SEO.

On top of that, it allows you to adjust if you’re not getting the results you want. You can make changes and track them to see how effective they are or split test one tactic over another.

Consider Your End Goal 

Whenever you build out a marketing strategy, it’s important to have both micro and macro goals, as well as an end goal that you’re actively working towards. This goal should inform your strategies and the decisions you make for your site.

How do you decide on an end goal for a website? You’ll need to assess the site and consider what you’re working towards. If you’re working for a client, you’ll need to consider their needs. It’s important to ask clients the right kinds of questions. Not only will this give you direction, but it will demonstrate to the client that you’re taking their needs seriously.

Some of the most useful questions that you can ask clients include: 

  • How much is a qualified lead worth to you?
  • What can you tell me about your company’s background?
  • Which products or services have been most profitable for you?

In addition to asking the right kinds of questions, you need to make sure that you set suitable goals. These are a few of the many things you need to consider when deciding on smaller and larger goals for your site.

Make Sure Your Goals Are Measurable

Remember, if there’s no way for you to monitor your progress, there’s no way for you to improve.

Measure Your SEO Goals

Don’t Be Vague

Set clear, specific goals to work towards. If goals are vague, it won’t be easy to track your progress.

Talk About Your Goals

According to research, discussing your goals with others increases your chances of reaching that goal. You may also want to write your goals down. Have firm goals in mind and ask others to hold you accountable as you work towards those goals.

Tracking Progress 

Once you’ve decided on your main goal, you’ll want to set benchmarks. By measuring various metrics, you’ll have a clearer picture of the progress you’re making and how close you are to reaching your goal. It’s important to look at a range of metrics so that you can see what is and isn’t working.

Engagement 

What are people doing when they visit your site? This is what you can learn when you look at engagement data. Metrics that can help you track the ways people are interacting with your content could include:

Conversions 

This metric compares conversions against the unique visits a site receives. You can monitor conversions for a variety of things, including mailing list sign-ups, purchases, or downloads. If you’re aware of your conversion rate, you’ll get a better sense of how much organic search traffic your site needs to receive for you to recoup costs.

SEO Conversions

Time Spent on Page 

On average, how much time are people visiting popular pages on your site? If you’ve written thousands of words on a topic, and the average visitor is spending less than 30 seconds on the page, it’s safe to assume that many of the visitors to this page are not finding the content relevant or engaging. With that said, it’s not always a bad sign if the time spent on the page is low. You need to think about the purpose of the page. If a page contains contact information and nothing else, there’s no reason for visitors to spend a lot of time on the page.

Average Pages Visited 

Are you trying to guide visitors down a sales funnel? If there’s a specific path, you’d like visitors to take, you’ll want to look at the number of pages the average visitor is looking at. However, if you only need visitors to look at one page, you don’t need to worry about the number of pages viewed per visit.

Bounce Rate 

If someone visits a page on your site and quickly leaves without looking at additional pages, they’ve bounced away from your site. While a high bounce rate can be concerning, it’s not always cause for alarm. There are plenty of successful sites with high bounce rates. In many cases, people visit business websites looking for specific information, such as the hours. Once they find what they need, they bounce from the site but still visit the business. Instead of focusing on your bounce rate, you should focus on scroll depth.

Scroll Depth 

This metric tracks how far visitors are scrolling down when they visit pages on your site. This is a way to check to see if visitors find the content you want them to see. If your scroll rate isn’t what you want it to be, you may want to place essential content higher on your site to make it easier to find. Beyond that, you should look at the overall quality of your content. Low-quality content could be scaring off visitors before they see your most crucial content.

Search Traffic 

It’s important to look at your search engine ranking for various search terms, but there are other factors you need to consider. The reason you want to be on the first page of results for popular search terms is that it can bring organic traffic to your site. If you’re not seeing much search traffic, you’re likely doing something wrong. You may want to change your page title or meta description to see if your traffic improves.

How to Effectively Utilize Google Analytics 

You can track the metrics listed above via Google Analytics. It’s an excellent way to monitor your website’s performance. You can even customize your reports to track the metrics that are most important to you.

Google Analytics can be an impressive resource, but because it offers so many options, it can easily overwhelm you. Below, you’ll find more information about how you can use this resource more efficiently.

Identify Sources of Organic Traffic 

You can monitor your organic traffic by channel. Not only will this let you see where traffic is coming from, but it can give you a clearer picture of your site’s overall performance. A drop in traffic isn’t necessarily a bad sign. If your traffic dips after a campaign, but you’re still bringing in traffic from other channels, you don’t need to be worried.

Monitor How Traffic Has Changed Over Time 

When you use Google Analytics, you can track metrics like page views, sessions, and users over a specific period. You can even compare different metrics and ranges! Tracking your progress can be motivating, and it can also help you see when your site is stagnating.

Page Performance 

You can use Google’s Site Content reports to track how well a specific page is doing. You can also identify your most successful pages. Pay attention to which pages are succeeding and why. Keep these successes in mind as you add more content to your site.

Campaign Traffic 

It’s important to monitor the success of your campaigns. Google Analytics allows you to do this via Urchin Tracking Module codes. Just make sure you add your UTM code to the end of campaign URLs before launching your campaign.

Click-Through Rate 

Looking at the CTR for a specific page is an excellent way to track page optimization. If your CTR is low, you may need to make changes to the page’s meta description or title. You can track CTR in the Google Search Console.

Click Through Rate

You should also look at Google Tag Manager. With this free resource, you can add tracking pixels to your site without changing its code. This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to monitor visitor behavior. Since this is a free resource, there’s no reason not to take advantage of it!

Authority

This metric essentially evaluates the quality of a page. While Google doesn’t directly indicate any type of authority score, as they did back when you could see a websites PageRank, there tools like Ahrefs, Moz and SEMrush all have proprietary metrics that approximate the authority of a website’s overall domain as well as the individual pages throughout the site. Low-quality backlinks could have a negative impact on your site’s authority.

Track Metrics Effectively 

As mentioned before, there are numerous tools and resources on the market that will help you to track important metrics. Some of these tools are available for free, while others are paid tools. When doing SEO It can be helpful to use multiple tools and datasets so that you can collect a wide range of data.

If you do opt to use multiple tools, it’s a good idea to create a customized dashboard using tools like Google Data Studio so that you can evaluate your metrics at a glance. Creating your own dashboard also allows you to focus on the most important metrics.

Other Important SEO Metrics 

Keyword Rankings 

This metric measures where your site ranks on Google’s search engine results page (SERPS) for your targeted keywords. When evaluating metrics, you should also consider other factors, such as featured snippets. Remember, you shouldn’t just look at rankings. You need to take other factors into consideration, such as your CTR and conversion rate.

Backlinks 

This describes the quantity as well as the quality of the links pointing to your website. Unlike the early days of SEO where most SEO practitioners were more concerned with the quantity of links, modern SEO efforts require a consideration of both quality and quantity of links. A single backlink from an authority site can be more impactful and effective than multiple lesser links.

Website Backlinks

Consider an SEO Audit 

It’s important to have a clear picture of how well your site is performing.

Is your search ranking for your targeted keywords? How high is visitor engagement? Is the traffic you are receiving quality traffic? Auditing your site can help you resolve potential issues and find new opportunities.

Create a Google Search Console account

Make sure you have a Google Search Console account. Take the time to verify any site that you own. With this resource, you can track engagement, find errors, and spot new opportunities.

Bing Webmaster Tools

This resource has a lot in common with Google Search Console. It lets you track how well your site is performing on Bing. This is another tool you can use to improve your site.

Lighthouse

This automated auditing tool from Google provides you with information on many aspects of your site’s performance. It’s a particularly useful way to monitor the accessibility and speed of your site.

Structured Data Testing Tool

Schema markup issues can cause several issues. This tool allows you to identify any problems with your site’s schema markup.

Mobile-Friendly Test

With this tool, you can check to see how difficult it is to browse your site on mobile devices. Many people exclusively browse the web via mobile devices, which makes this an especially important metric to track.

When you do audit your site, there are a few specific factors you’ll want to pay attention to:

How Crawlable Is Your Site? 

Are you unintentionally keeping search engines like Bing and Google from crawling your pages? You should make sure you have a sitemap.xml file uploaded. This will improve the crawlability of your site.

Indexing

Try checking to see if you can find important pages on your site via Google. If there are pages that aren’t showing up, look inside your /robots.txt file (Ex. www.mywebsite.com/robots.txt) to

Crawl-ability

Meta Descriptions and Titles 

How well are you describing the content on your site? If your CTR is low, you may need to change your title or meta descriptions. Make sure your titles and descriptions are accurate yet compelling. Check our our free SERP Preview Tool

Speed 

What is your site speed like? Can you do anything to improve your load time? Low site speed could be hurting your search rankings.

Content 

Is the content on your site appealing to your target audience? How does it compare to your competitor’s content? Consider how you could improve your content. Make sure that the content on your site is valuable. Writing guides, answering questions, and providing useful information can help you to build an audience.

Prune Your Site 

If you have older content on your site that doesn’t meet your quality standards, you should consider pruning it. Alternatively, you could try rewriting your old content to make it more valuable.

Research 

By researching keywords and your top competitors, you can get a clearer picture of what you should be doing on your site. Factors you could look at include:

Keywords your competitors are ranking for

The sites that have featured snippets for your targeted keywords.

Sites that are linking to your competitors, but not you.

Through your research, you’ll be able to identify opportunities you’re missing out on. You can use this to improve on your current strategy so that you can reach your goals.

Handle Tasks in the Right Order 

You won’t be able to complete every task at once. That’s why it’s important to prioritize certain tasks.

You should consider how urgent tasks are, and you should also look at how these tasks will benefit you. Keep your goals at the forefront of your mind as you decide what to prioritize.

Create an SEO Plan

Making a SEO Plan

It’s important to create a plan of action. Figure out which SEO tasks you’re going to handle and when you’re going to handle them. You can use digital tools, such as Google Sheets or Google Calendar, or physical tools, like a daily planner. What’s important is that you find a solution that works for you. Take the time to create a plan, and make sure you follow the plan you’ve laid out.

By using metrics to monitor your progress, you’ll be able to track your overall effectiveness and adjust when you’re not getting your desired results. Through tracking, you’ll be able to notice when your current strategy isn’t working. As an example, the CTR for one of your pages may have dropped after you changed its meta description. That’s a sign that the new meta description isn’t working. You can use that information to come up with a new meta description with a better CTR. In addition to CTR, you’ll want to look for shifts in conversions, rankings, and organic traffic. It’ll let you see where you’re succeeding, and it will also help you to catch issues before they become a significant problem.

Make Sure You’re Effectively Communicating With Clients 

Your clients won’t be able to see a lot of the work you do to improve a site’s SEO. Because of this, you’ll need to make sure you effectively communicate your plan, the tasks you’re working on, and the progress you’re making. Check in with your clients regularly and show them metrics and let them see the progress that you’ve made.

It’s one thing to be familiar with SEO basics. It’s an entirely different thing to implement that advice on a site. Now is the ideal time to create your project. If you’re looking for ideas, you can find inspiration below.

Learn By Doing 

If you want to learn more about SEO and build your skills, you need to try these techniques. One of the best ways to improve your skills is to do things yourself! One of the best ways to learn and improve your skills is to create your website. You could create a blog, an online portfolio, or even a site for your own business!

If you’re trying to decide what your next step should be, this list will set you down the right path:

  • Make decisions about your site’s design, UX, and other important factors before kicking off a new project.
  • Brush up on SEO basics so that you can set appropriate goals.
  • Confirm that search engines have crawled your site and that important pages have been indexed.
  • Spend time researching keywords to find the right keywords to target.
  • Evaluate your on-page optimization and see if you can make any improvements.
  • Periodically audit your site so that you can make optimizations and address issues.
  • Work to build backlinks and establish your website as an authority.
  • Make sure you’re tracking the appropriate metrics and prioritizing tasks.
  •  Regularly test your site and make improvements. It’s not unusual for SEO professionals to maintain test sites. This gives them a way to experiment with new strategies without putting their sites at risk. Create a brand-new test site. Come up with a made-up word that you can use as a target keyword. From there, see how long it takes for your site to rank for that keyword. Once you’ve done that, you can develop other SEO experiments. When you find strategies that work, you can implement them on your other sites!
  • Always look for ways to improve. Tackle new challenges set new goals and take on new competitors.
  • Learn more about technical SEO and other valuable topics. Knowledge is power, particularly when it comes to SEO.
  • Take advantage of online communities to ask questions and learn from real people. There are plenty of online communities that will help you connect with SEO experts.
  • Always look for ways to improve. Tackle new challenges, set new goals and take on new competitors.

 

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