Search Engine Optimization (SEO) may feel like this magical source that impacts your website in a positive way. With a few waves of a wand your website starts to increase page by page for Google search rankings. As a business owner you feel this power by hearing your phone ring and your email inbox begins to be flooded with completed contact lead forms from your website. The magic is working.
SEO does not happen overnight; it’s like a fine wine. If done correctly using white hat techniques, it will need time to age, and with age comes the benefits. During this aging process, how do you know that you’re on the right track? How do you know if it’s working? And how can you feel good about the marketing dollars being spent? Here are 6 different ways you can feel good about your SEO services and track performance on your own campaign.
Tracking Keyword Phases
As a business owner you have already identified your most profitable services and/or products. You also know the overall goal of your business and your call to action on your website. As you think about your product or services, how would someone search to find you? Listing these keywords and phrases gives you a great scope of where your website performance lies with Google search results. You may find your website pulls up at the top of some searches or phrases, but others you can’t find your website at all or your website is a few pages back on Google search results. This is a great way to discover how SEO may or may not be working. For these keyword searches that you would like to improve on, check out our blog on writing content for SEO.
Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to Track Metrics
Ask yourself, “What tools do I have in place to track website performance?” Whether you are using an SEO agency or not you should have both Google Analytics and Google Search Console connected to your website. These work together to provide data points showing you ongoing results of your SEO marketing plan. Here is a list of certain metrics to watch when using these tools.
· What sources and channels your website traffic is coming from
· Where are the people located at who are visiting your website?
· What is the number of people visiting your website?
· Identify bounce rate on your website
· Search Terms people are using to get to you
· Popular pages on your website and how long people are staying on these pages
· Website load time
· Mobile search compared to Desktop search
Google Search Console
· Total Clicks
· Average Click-thru-Rate (CTR)
· Total Impressions
· Average keyword positions
Both of these tools are free and provide lots of insight regarding who is searching for your product, what is keeping them on your website, and how they find you over your competitors.
Identify Your Website Traffic
Google Analytics helps to identify where your traffic is coming from and what marketing is presenting results. Organic search traffic is a key indicator that SEO is working. This traffic is the people searching for a product or service without knowing you provide it. Think of it as someone searching one of your keywords and clicking on your website for the information.
To find this information on Google Analytics, click on ‘Acquisition’ then ‘All Traffic’ and then ‘Channels’; this data can be tracked month over month or year over year. If your business has seasonality, using year over year can be a good gage of performance from your SEO campaign.
While you’re looking at the channels, you can look at where your traffic is coming from Organic, Direct, Social, Referral and Other. The overall goal of SEO will be to increase your Organic Search Traffic.
Your prospective client has reached your website, now what happens. Tracking the behavior of what people do when they are on your website can also be a performance indicator leading to increased conversions through your SEO efforts. Using Google Analytics, you are able to track the behavior of these individuals. You can look at the data from specific pages they visit, often called engagement factors or metric. Mapping out this information provides more insight on pages that are performing and which pages are not. Also, it provides feedback on which pages are giving your prospects the answer to their question or solving their need with your services. Behavior metrics is a great way to define what your website is bringing to the table for searchers. By using engagement metrics, you can identify and test content or specific call-to-actions to improve your authority in your industry. Use this to develop a strategy that improves on the pages people are bouncing or dropping from your website. How are you going to keep people interested on your website?
Other engagement metrics to track using Google Analytics:
· Time on page
· Pages per website visit
· Scroll depth
Tracking these measurable goals will result in a greater focus on where you can improve and be the source Google guides prospects to in your industry.
‘Old School’, Just Ask Approach
If you’re ‘old school’, once a prospect has made it to your website and picked up the phone you can ask, ‘How did you find us’, and keep a documented log of answers. Or perhaps this is a question on your contact form. This data can also be used as a very basic metric. Think of this as the manual way to get quick feedback without analyzing the website data from a tool. The questions you ask this individual could provide the details as extensive as the keyword they searched to get to you.
The magical wand of SEO is trackable and these metrics are easy to pull once the tools have been connected to your website. Once you start researching the data and figuring out an ongoing strategy, there is a plethora of information you could implement. So, continue drinking your SEO wine and watch your progress grow over time.