Implementing an SEO (search engine optimization) strategy can be a daunting task, especially when considering the amount of resources you are pouring into your SEO efforts. One of the issues is that SEO is a long-term strategy that won’t net you immediate results, making it hard to identify what the ROI (return on investment) is. Fortunately, there are ways to judge how your strategy is working and to pinpoint why or why it isn’t working. The way to do this is by tracking certain metrics. Here are five metrics that you should keep an eye on in order to ensure that your SEO efforts are working.
1. Keyword Rankings for SEO Metrics
Checking keyword rankings is a good way to get a somewhat accurate estimate of your search engine authority as it allows you to measure specific keywords that you are trying to rank for. While traffic generated by your keywords doesn’t account for a huge part of your total website traffic, it’s still a substantial amount. Your keyword rankings should go up over time, and if they’re not, then you have some issues that you need to fix concerning your SEO strategy. There’s a chance you may just be targeting the wrong keywords — or you aren’t paying enough attention to gaining backlinks and building your brand’s reputation. Checking your keyword rankings is relatively easy. There are a number of tools that you can use, such as the one our team loves called SEMrush. Not only does it measure your sites traffic, your backlinks, and your rankings, it measures which keywords you rank for per page and gives your position changes. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to set up your Google Search Console. It measures your traffic and shows which queries (search terms) are bringing users to your site and which pages they are landing on. This way, you can better optimize your pages that are generating traffic for lead generation techniques such as on page offers.
Here’s a Quick Video on using Google Search Console
Backlinks continue to have a big impact on search engine rankings. Backlinks are an indicator of your site’s quality — as long as they come from other quality websites. Google assumes that if a high ranking website links to one of your pages, that your page must have something worthwhile to offer. However, if your backlinks come from poor quality websites, Google won’t weigh them as heavily.
There are several tools that you can use in order to track how many backlinks you have as well as what the quality of your backlinks are. Tools like , SEMrush.com, Moz Open Site Explorer, MajesticSEO allow you to input your domain in order to track the number of backlinks you’ve gained over a certain period of time (they should be trending upwards if you’re doing things right) as well as the quality of those backlinks by providing URL ratings and domain ratings for each source. By tracking your backlinks using these tools, you can determine things like the cost per link and the effectiveness of your backlink earning tactics. You can also identify potential business partners and relationships with high quality websites that link to your site regularly.
Here’s a video featuring Rand Fishkin ‘Wizard of Moz’ discussing link building
3. Organic Search Traffic
Organic search traffic is the amount of free traffic you are getting via search engines. You can view how much organic search traffic your site is getting by simply checking the audience overview section of Google Analytics. The initial graph shows the amount of organic search traffic you’ve received over a 30-day period – but keep in mind that even though it should be increasing, there are times where it may drop off, so be sure to look over a period of a few months to draw any conclusions. In 2016, Organic Search Traffic needs to be earned, not ‘gamed’. When you create a quality user experience, and create content that solves a problem, educates or entertains the user, Google will reward you in rankings increasing your organic traffic.
4. Pages Per Visitor
All of that effort that you are making in order to attract high quality traffic to your website is for nought if you can’t get your visitors to stay on your website. You want your visitors to continue reading content on various pages of your site. You can check your audience overview in Google Analytics in order to identify the average amount of pages each visitor spends time on. This might be low if you have just established a website, but it should grow over time. If your number remains low, it means that the usability of your site is questionable. You need to focus on a stronger internal linking strategy that makes it easier for visitors to find more relevant content on your site through your landing pages. Be sure your website is mobile responsive and is user friendly on mobile. Web traffic for mobile has now surpassed desktop in the United States. Menu Items, Videos, Articles, Images and so on must be correctly sized for mobile. Guide the user where you believe they want to go in easy navigation menus and links on the page.
Here’s a video on Getting Started with Google Analytics
5. Bounce Rate
The bounce rate is an important metric because it’s a signifier that something is probably wrong with your website. The bounce rate is the rate at which visitors leave your website without viewing any additional pages or engaging in anyway on the page they landed on. A high bounce rate could be indicative of a number of issues. Your website may be loading too slow, which would result in visitors abandoning your page out of frustration. If this isn’t the case, it could be that visitors are not finding what they are looking for, which means you may be targeting the wrong keywords. You might see high bounce rates if your website is not mobile responsive as well.
Once you’ve begun implementing an SEO strategy, it’s important that you keep track of metrics such as keyword rankings, backlink authority, organic search traffic, pages per visitor and bounce rate. They can help you to determine how effective your SEO strategy is over time, thereby letting you change and adjust your strategy where necessary in order to strengthen your SEO efforts and ensure that you aren’t wasting your resources.
7. CTR – Click Through Rate
Click Through Rates can be calculated during many types of campaigns. In this case, the reference is to CTR from the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages). Once you begin to see your pages ranking on the search engines, you’ll want to measure how many click through to your site after seeing your “snippet” on the page. Your snippet is basically a title and a couple lines of text that tell the visitor what your website is about. You only have a moment to capture their interest. Your title and call to action must be compelling to gain more clicks through to your site. Google often uses the metadescription for the page as the snippet. If you are using WordPress, a simple plugin like YOAST can be used to customize your title tag and metadescription after you create the content.
Lori Ballen is the creator of The Ballen Method, an online training program especially for real estate agents. She recently opened Ballen Marketing, a Search Engine Focused digital marketing company providing search engine focused blog and web content, web development, design, and service on today’s digital strategies in lead generation for business. Call 702.917.0755 to speak with Jeff about your marketing needs.