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Measuring SEO Success

Why is it necessary to track website traffic data and results?

Spending money on marketing online? Then you should definitely be recording your results and measuring the success of your efforts. If you aren’t, you may be wasting your marketing budget money.

But recording and measuring your results is much more easily said than done for some marketing channels. Especially the Return on Investment (ROI) for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Knowing the ROI for any expenditure your business makes is essential; tracking the profit made through SEO is critical to understanding how this digital marketing channel benefits your business.

Tracking the return is important, but keeping an eye on the investment is crucial as well.  How are you spending money to create profit for the business?  Keeping track of expenses is important in every business, and that extends to the online world.  It is essential to monitor how resources are being allocated to improve your site’s performance.

The first step in creating a report is tracking your website’s data.  How do you do this?  The best way to track your website is with Google Analytics.  Google is the most popular search engine and Analytics provides you with a vast quantity of information about your website.  Best of all, it’s free.

Once you get your account set up, you’ll be able to start tracking website traffic data and results. Retaining this information provides valuable insight into performance and allows you to keep track of performance over time.

It also allows you to gain insights into possible improvements that can be made to benefit your marketing strategy. This information is useful for any business owner, as traffic data can show you how people are getting to your website, where in the world they are accessing your website, what kinds of devices they are using, and so much more.

With this information, you can begin to adapt your online presence to better suit your customer base and increase profits.

How often should you track and create reports for these data results?

Once you begin tracking your website’s results and data, this information should be compiled into reports monthly.

Gathering this information and compiling it into an easily digestible format on a scheduled basis avoids losing valuable data.  Often, changes implemented will take weeks or months to really take effect, and having that data is essential for tracking progress.

After a few months, you’ll have enough information to begin to look for trends and patterns over time and use this to your advantage.

What are the 3 most important metrics to track and report in SEO?

There’s a lot of information available on Google analytics, and it’s easy to get lost in the numbers. This is why it is important to emphasize relevant data while not getting overwhelmed with information that may not benefit your business.

In SEO, conversion, ranking, and traffic are among the most important metrics to track and report.

Conversions

A conversion is when you get the user of your website to complete a desired action.

For example, say you have an email newsletter for your site. You can track how many new users sign up for your newsletter.

If you run an online shop, you can keep count of how many customers reach your purchase confirmation page.

A conversion can be any completed action on your website, so you should be monitoring whatever it is you want your users to do on your site.

Ranking

Your website’s rank is its position in the results for a specific keyword. By staying aware of a site’s ranking on relevant SERPs, an understanding of brand visibility can be developed. This also allows specific keywords to be targeted for campaigns.

Traffic

Traffic refers to the amount of people arriving at your website – via organic search, paid search, backlinks, etc.

It is important to understand where this traffic is coming from, and how much is coming from each of these sources. This can help you determine how you’re going to market your company.

Do more people visit your website on mobile than on desktop?  Consider focusing on your mobile site.  Do you have a lot of loyal customers who access your website directly?

These metrics all go hand in hand in measuring success, and are important indicators into the value of your SEO efforts.

How do you measure ROI for SEO?

Tracking the success of an SEO campaign may not be that straightforward at first.  Every campaign will have its own needs and metrics to track, depending on the needs and goals of your business.

The only way to track success across any SEO campaign is ROI.  Your return on investment is the money you make from an endeavor (like hiring a marketing firm, for example) after paying for the costs of it.

The basic formula for ROI is:

ROI = (Net Profit / Total Investment )x100

Your ROI, specifically in relation to SEO, is how much money is in your pocket after paying for the costs of SEO.

For example, a law firm pays their SEO team $2500 per month to optimize for organic (unpaid) search.

This Law firm wants to determine how much money they made from their online marketing efforts for August, so they look to their conversion goals and see what the numbers say.

If 35 users had contacted the Law firm for that month, and out of those 35 people, 4 became new clients for the law firm with each paying a $2000 flat rate, we can determine the following ROI:

(8000/2500)x100 = 320%

That’s a whopping 320% positive return on investment (meaning this law firm made over 4 times what they spent on SEO)!! 

The incredible fact of SEO is that the return for your marketing dollars is unsurpassed by any other marketing channel.

Return on investment is and will always be the primary goal of any business. When compiling data into a report, this must be kept in mind.

How do you measure Brand Lift? 

Brand lift can seem difficult to track, but like anything in marketing, there are quantitative ways of measuring brand lift.

Before we jump in, an important question to answer is: What is brand lift?  Brand lift is an increase in awareness or engagement with your company, which typically results from a new ad campaign.

How is your campaign affecting your brand’s public image? Are more people talking about your brand since you began the campaign?

There are several ways to measure brand lift. One of the easiest ways to do this is by looking at your branded searches. How many people are typing your company name, or the name of one of your products, into Google?

This is a good measure of brand awareness.

We’ll use Merson Law as an example again:  In July 2016, 35 people searched online for the phrase “Merson Law.”

After running a campaign and optimizing their website, Merson saw 105 searches in September for their company name.

They also began to rank for several new branded searches like “Jordan Merson,” “Merson Law New York,” and “Brittany Schoenbeck.” (People’s names can be branded keywords too.)

This indicates their campaign is boosting their brand lift, as more people are becoming aware of the company!

Companies often use surveys to gauge brand lift as well.

YouTube, for example, often places surveys as advertisements before videos, prompting the user to answer questions about particular products and services.

This method is not applicable to all businesses, but some companies use these surveys to measure brand lift and to understand the impact their advertisements have on consumers.

What additional metrics can be tracked and measured to show campaign results, besides ROI and Brand Lift?

Bounce rate

Bounce rate is the percent of users who leave your website immediately after landing on it. (They see your site and “bounce.”)

Bounce rate gives you a good idea of how relevant your page is to users.  A high bounce rate means a lot of people who find your website don’t think your website is relevant to their needs.

Maybe you’re ranking for the wrong keywords, or maybe your website appears outdated and uninteresting.

In September of this year, Merson’s bounce rate was 0.57%, down from 5.56% the month before.

By tracking their bounce rate, Merson’s SEO team was able to determine that 5.56% of the users accessing their website “bounced,” and tweak their website to better engage users or rank for more relevant keywords.

Exit pages

Exit pages, like bounce rate, can reveal crucial information to your website.

This metric tracks where users are leaving your website. This is the last step in a user’s journey on your website. Every user needs to complete this journey; some pages like order confirmation pages, thank you pages and contact us pages, should have high exit rates.

Last month, 29.8% of the total exits on Merson Law’s website were from /larry-nassar-msu-sex-abuse-settlement/.  This page is supposed to be the last step in the user’s journey. (By clicking “email us” or “call us,” the user is taken to a new webpage and completes a conversion.)

If a higher rate existed on a page that you don’t intend to be the last page your user sees, this can be an opportunity for improvement.

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