Any efforts to improve your SEO must be followed by careful measurement and tracking of SEO success by professionals to ensure that results match goals. You never want to be in the dark about where you stand. And you certainly don’t want to base any assessment on a hunch or a gut feeling. Let the objective tracking information speak for itself about whether you’re on target to reach your goals or if tweaks need to be made.
What Should You be Measuring and Tracking to Determine SEO Success?
Answering the following questions is critical to your SEO success:
1. What is Your Search Engine Share of Referring Visits?
Keep track of how each traffic source is contributing to your site. This includes:
Direct Navigation: These are users who got to you directly. They may have typed in your website, used a bookmark or an email link that doesn’t have a tracking code.
Referral Traffic: These arrive from anywhere on the web or in email, promotional and branding campaign links that are tracked.
Search Traffic: This is traffic that arrives at your website through a query on a search engine. This is a crucial metric for you to know because it helps reveal your strengths and any possible weaknesses. It also gives you benchmarks that can be compared over time. Remember that you may encounter “false positives” such as spikes in traffic that come from sites that aren’t at all relevant to you. On the other hand, if traffic plunges, you need to be aware of this fact as soon as possible so that you can take steps to correct the problem.
2. How Are Your Search Engine Referrals?
At this point, Google handles the majority of internet searches throughout most of the world (more than 60% of all searches). Competitors like Yahoo and Bing command significantly smaller percentages. Knowing to what degree search engines send you traffic is useful for the following reasons:
Compare Performance vs. Market Share
How much is each search engine contributing to your traffic? For example, if Google is consistently delivering much less than 60% of your search engine traffic, you need to understand why you aren’t performing better with the world’s most popular search engine.
Reveal Drops in Traffic
A drop in search engine traffic should always be cause for concern. You’ll need to know if the drop was the same or different across all of the search engines. If Google drops but the others don’t, you have most likely be penalized for some SEO infraction.
Reveal Strategic Value
Different SEO strategies pay off differently among the search engines. For example, many SEO experts believe that effective use of keywords deliver better results in Yahoo and Bing than they do in Google. Conversely, Google is thought to reward you more than competitors when you have specific anchor text links that come from a large number of trusted domains. Knowing what each search engine likes and doesn’t like can help you in your SEO initiatives.
3. Which Search Engine-Specific Terms and Phrases Generated Traffic?
Determining which keywords drive search results is an important part of the puzzle. Regular tracking of this metric is vital for identifying any possible developing trends in keyword popularity. You’ll always want to know if you’re optimized for emerging keywords.
You’ll also want to be aware if there are seasonal fluctuations in the popularity of your keywords. For example, are your keywords bringing in more traffic at certain times of the day or certain times of the month or year?
4. What are Your Search Query Term/Phrase Conversion Rates?
Conversion rates are everything. Obviously, keywords are intended to bring traffic to your website. But what do these people do once they get there? How long do they stay on your site? Do they came back more than once? Do they take the next step? Or do they do nothing? Understanding whether your traffic is just “window shoppers” or people ready to act must be understood.
5. How many of your pages do search engines direct visitors to?
Do the search engines direct people to many pages on your site or just one or two? When you’re monitoring SEO success, that’s something you need to know. If search engines aren’t directing visitors to certain pages, it’s a good bet those pages may not be indexed. Knowing this gives you the opportunity to brainstorm better ways to optimize these pages.
When SEO professionals deal with site architecture, XML sitemaps, link acquisition and the validity of content, the objective is always to ensure that the number of pages being indexed by the search engines continues to climb.
Knowing the answers to the above questions is the basis for building and maintaining a successful website. As you contemplate how to best optimize your website, always consider the help of expert advisors. Dreamscape Marketing, a Google Partner, has the knowledge and experience you need to stay competitive with your website. Contact Dreamscape Marketing today so that we can discuss your unique SEO needs.