So you've put a lot of time and effort into search engine optimization for your website. You have done the research, mastered both on-page and off-page factors, and kept abreast of all the latest best and worst practices for building a stronger SEO campaign. You should be reaping the rewards of all that hard work.
Are you? Have your SEO efforts produced results, or has it all been in vain? How can you even know?
Thankfully, there are ways to quantify your SEO results. It just requires using the right tools, and doing a little detective work.
The most obvious measure of SEO success is how highly your site ranks in search engine results pages (or SERPs, as they are often called). After all, the first goal (though not the endgoal) of search engine optimization is to appear higher in search engine results, right?
You can't get an accurate picture of your search engine ranking, though, by simply doing a search yourself. That is because search engines are now personalized, and adjust results based on your location and on your own browsing history. The search results you see may not be the same as what your typical customer sees.
To get an unbiased look at your search rankings, you can use one of several different rank tracking applications. If your ranking for a particular search term improves over time, you know your SEO efforts are having an impact.
Even if you rank No. 1 for a target keyword, your SEO efforts might not be successful if the keyword itself is irrelevant. So, besides search rankings, you need to look at the amount of traffic that your site actually receives. You can track traffic over time by using a web statistics program such as Google Analytics. Besides showing you the number of visitors, Google Analytics can tell you where the traffic is coming from, and what search terms are driving traffic to the site.
Even if you do have high rankings and traffic, you still can't say for certain if your SEO campaign has been truly successful. That's because it is possible to attract the wrong kind of traffic.
For example, you may be a strictly local company that gets most of its traffic from people outside your service area, due to having poor local SEO. Or, you may still be using the wrong keywords, resulting in a high bounce rate.
To quantify the true results of your SEO efforts, you will need to look at conversions and sales. If you have a lot of traffic but a low conversion rate, the problem could be because you are targeting the wrong traffic. However, it could also indicate that a good SEO campaign is being thwarted by poor sales copy once they get to the site.
You can diagnose the problem by utilizing the "conversions" functions within Google Analytics. By tracking differences in conversion rates between search engine referrals and other sources of traffic, you can deduce whether the problem lies with your search targeting or with the offer itself.
By quantifying your SEO results in this way, you can get a much better idea of what is working, and what needs improvement. And by using the data to refine your approach, you can improve the ROI of your SEO efforts.
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