'What you can't measure, you can't manage.' This famous quote holds especially true for SEO strategies. Since SEO takes three to six months
to start showing results, measuring your SEO progress helps confirm if your efforts are paying off. Monitoring your SEO efforts also provides insights for revising your content strategy and finding areas for improvement to attract more visitors seeking your products and services.
How to Measure SEO Success
Considering Google has over 200 ranking factors in its algorithm, it is important to focus on the metrics that really make a difference and use the right tools to make that happen. In this article, we address how to achieve success by measuring SEO performance to refine digital marketing efforts and reach business goals.
Setting Goals and KPIs
If you don’t know whether or not your efforts are paying off, the first place to check is your goals. Goals are like roadmaps to guide your SEO strategies. They are the actions that affect your bottom line and should be measurable and specific.
For example, depending on the nature of your business, your goals could be to increase organic traffic, improve search rankings, have more quality backlinks, etc.
By setting targets for your goals, you have a clear benchmark to measure your SEO progress. But that's only the foundation. You must also regularly check if your efforts yield results with key performance indicators (KPIs).
Courtesy of: SEMrush
Setting goals and aligning them with KPIs helps you keep tabs on your performance and find opportunities to improve your current strategy. The most common KPIs include organic search traffic, keyword ranking, click-through rates (CTRs), bounce rates, page loading times, customer lifetime value, revenue attribution, and more. Keeping a watch on these metrics allows you to measure SEO performance in a quantifiable manner.
Tools for Measuring SEO Success
Lack of data isn’t usually the problem in SEO. It’s actually quite the opposite, requiring analysis of large quantities of data and deciding what is important and what is not. Here are ten tools that can help track the key metrics that are pivotal to digital marketing success.
1. Google Analytics
Incredible for dissecting a website’s traffic data, google analytics shows how visitors find your site, whether through organic search, referrals, or direct visits. The insights help you understand visitors’ behavior and see what’s working or needs tweaking in your SEO strategy.
2. Google Search Console
The console shows your rank in Google, average position, and impressions. It's also suitable for troubleshooting issues affecting your site so you can fix them and rank higher.
Ahrefs is a paid but effective tool for startups looking to carve a niche in the market. With its broad suite, you can spy into your competitor’s playbook- see what content drives traffic to your site or what keywords you rank for. You can also use this tool for backlink research, content research, rank tracking, and web monitoring.
SEMrush is another paid tool to center your SEO operations. You can get a detailed analysis of your SEO, PPC, social media, and content marketing efforts. Perhaps, the standout feature is the in-depth competitor analysis feature that lets you spy and gain insights into your competitor's keyword strategies and formulate a winning plan. An excellent tool for a rewarding SEO journey.
Moz is famous for its Domain Authority metric- a feature that helps measure website strength and visibility. With its robust suite, you can also do rank tracking, backlink analysis, keyword suggestions, SERP analysis, and access a vast keyword research database to boost your online presence.
Metrics to track
There is literally too much information when it comes to SEO data. Some parameters are essential to track and some are just vanity metrics that won’t impact your business decisions. Here are ten metrics worth tracking to see your SEO performance and make data-driven decisions that boost your visibility, user experience and conversions.
- Organic search traffic helps you see the number of visitors coming to your website from search engines. It’s a great way to measure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts in attracting traffic and increasing visibility.
- Keyword rankings are how well your site ranks for specific search terms. The insight also comes in handy in finding opportunities for improvement.
- Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of users who click on your website's link in search engine results. A high CTR means you have great meta titles and descriptions driving traffic to your site.
- Conversion rate measures the percentage of visitors who take action, such as filling out a form or subscribing to your newsletter. It helps you understand if your site content is working in generating conversions.
- Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website after viewing only one page.
- Backlinks are links from other websites to your site. Monitoring the number and quality of backlinks helps you assess your website's authority and influence in search engine rankings.
- The total number of keywords ranked shows the full keywords your website ranks for in search engine results. The insight comes in handy to evaluate your website's SEO performance for different search terms.
- Average time on page measures the average period visitors stay on your site. It comes in handy in gauging the user's experience and how engaging your content is.
- Pages per session calculate the average number of pages a visitor views during a single session. Higher page-per-session values indicate increased engagement and exploration of your website, potentially leading to more conversions and interactions.
- Domain authority quantifies the strength and credibility of your website's domain. A higher domain authority score, usually measured on a scale of 1-100, indicates more chances of ranking higher in search engine results.
Displaying and Analyzing SEO Data
Implementing SEO strategies involves gathering data from different sources. However, SEO goes beyond just the quantity of data. The true value lies in digesting and organizing them in a manner that’s easy to understand. With display options, like graphs, tables, charts, etc., you can communicate your findings visually and explore SEO metrics from different angles.
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For instance, tables help capture key performance indicators, such as organic traffic, click-through rates, and keyword rankings. Graphs help in tracking trends over time to inform your strategy. And heatmaps shed light on areas that attract your site that attract visitors more.
Once you have sorted your SEO data, the next action is identifying trends and patterns. What content is driving more traffic? Which has received more backlinks? Comparing your performance and spotting trends can help you refine your strategy and focus on the tactics getting better results.
Also, knowing how you stack up against competitors can help you unlock new opportunities. By benchmarking your metrics, such as organic traffic growth or conversion rates, against industry averages or top-performing competitors, you can set realistic goals and create strategies to earn a competitive edge.
Ultimately, the data from SEO analysis should serve as a compass for your SEO strategies. With practical insights, increase traffic, optimize your site, improve user experience, and improve digital marketing ROI by getting ahead of competitors.
Still, trying to understand how measuring SEO can help your business? Let's look at some success stories, the benefits of measuring SEO success, and the results achieved.
#1 - How Direct Pay Online increased conversion rates
Direct Pay Online (DPO) provides an online and mobile payment solution for east African countries. DPO already had a web presence but the business growth was crippling. Hence they wanted to increase sales by doubling organic traffic to 400 monthly visitors, online conversions to 28, Facebook likes to 1,600, and achieve penetration rate to 20%
Keyscouts implemented a three-pronged approach for Direct Pay Online to increase sales. Here’s how we did it:
- Ran a site audit and leveraged the insights to implement strategies including keyword research, onsite optimizations, blog topic creation and acquisition of quality backlinks.
- Populated the blog with relevant content many times each month
- Created a social media strategy that included content to engage with DPO fans and potential customers.
DPO witnessed organic traffic increase by 265% resulting in 150 monthly conversions, 21,000 Facebook likes and an 80% penetration rate.
#2 - ONE Corporation increases organic blog visitors
The company was receiving a paltry 90 organic monthly visitors for each blog post, which was well below expectations, so they reached out to KeyScouts to help formulate an SEO plan to increase organic traffic.
First KeyScouts monitored their current SEO efforts and then used these data to develop a three-staged approach to updating their blog strategy.
- Stage 1 - KeyScouts implemented a simple blog strategy focusing on low to medium-sized posts.
- Stage 2 - They used the recommendations from stage 1 to update 4-5 blogs from stage one and republished them after submitting to Google Console.
- Stage 3 - KeyScouts focused on the top performing posts by updating them and republishing 4-5 posts monthly.
The 25 monitored and updated posts increased One Company’s traffic by as much as 85% within a year. Overall blog traffic increased to 90% from 155k visitors to 295k visitors. By measuring the SEO success of the company and optimizing each blog for SEO through the search console, the company witnessed an overall 65% in blog traffic without additional spending on Ads or content promotion.
Measuring your digital success is key to staying competitive online. By tracking key metrics such as success, organic traffic, keyword rankings, conversion rates, bounce rates, etc., you can see website performance, assess your strategies' effectiveness, and find room for improvement.
Businesses should also invest in the right tools and ensure the data is well organized to explore the findings from different angles to boost visibility and engagement.
For additional support contact KeyScouts today for a free evaluation of your SEO status to help you drive qualified leads, boost your marketing efforts, and achieve your business goals through SEO.