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How Do I Track Return on my SEO Efforts?

     -     Oct 11th, 2018   -     Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

Any seasoned marketer or business owner wants to make the right investment when it comes to marketing tactics to help accomplish their objectives. This is the case whether it’s traditional advertising, radio, print publication and even search engine optimization (SEO). Since many businesses are unfamiliar with the various ways to demonstrate progress in SEO, they typically have only one metric in mind when it comes to identifying the return, and that’s new business. While this is certainly a compelling metric and one that should be regularly monitored, there are several others that can provide additional insight into the return being received from SEO efforts. It’s important to measure progress in ways that extend beyond just the amount of new business generated by a website because different sites have different maturity levels in terms of content quality, engagement, influence and amplification. Therefore, the appropriate level of return for one site may be completely different for another. However, there are several ways to measure or track your return on SEO efforts as summarized below.

Measuring SEO Return

  1. Non-Branded Traffic Increase – This means the website is receiving an increase in traffic from non-branded keyword term searches. Non-branded refers to the fact that the company’s name is not included in the search. The concept here is that as a company’s website becomes more visible to search engines, it will rank higher for new keyword combinations. Once this happens, searchers looking for information on a product or service should (at some point) be able to find your content (assuming it’s high-quality) without having to enter the name of the company prior. As traffic from these searches increases, it’s demonstrating that SEO efforts to enhance website visibility is paying off.
  2. Increase in Quality Traffic – Another sign that SEO is working and delivering value is an increase in the amount of high-quality traffic being generated to the website. It’s important to pay attention to the term “high-quality”. Most SEO efforts can produce an increase in traffic, but you don’t just want anyone coming to your site and viewing the content. Rather it’s important to attract quality traffic, or in other words, qualified prospects to your site. One way to understand the type of traffic coming to your site is to assess bounce rate. This reflects how many people enter and exit on the same page of your website. It’s assumed when this happens that whatever reason, someone came to your site, was not met and they left. The goal of good SEO is keeping this rate at a manageable number especially when ramping up content marketing efforts.
  3. Google Alerts – If you are not using Google Alerts to monitor your company and competitors, it’s time to configure your Google alerts. This is an excellent tool that lets you know anytime Google indexes new content on a specific topic, company or theme. One way to use this tool is to configure it to track a company and their competitors. It acts as a thermometer to indicate how well the SEO being implementing on customer sites is working and to assess what competitors are doing at the same time.
  4. New Business – As mentioned in the introduction this is the gold standard to understanding how well your SEO is working. However, it’s worth noting that the actual metric that should be measured is the amount of quality leads generated rather than new business closed. Why? It’s simple. It is not the responsibility, nor is it reasonable to believe, that SEO should be held responsible for a company’s ability to follow up on or close web-based leads. There are often several other factors involved in the sales process beyond the control of SEO that don’t reflect the quality of work being performed or the value being received by the company. However, it’s reasonable to expect that new leads will be generated from your SEO investment. Note that the expectations should be increased when using Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising.

In Summary

There are dozens of ways to measure SEO return and progress. A lot of what you decide to measure will be dictated by your goals and starting point. However, what has been outlined above provides an important place to begin to expand expectations beyond leads generated and how to measure your progress along the way.

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