How to Tell If Your SEO Is Working
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO is a critical marketing component in today’s fast-paced, tech-savvy, mobile-friendly world. The ability to measure whether your SEO is working is imperative to improving search engine results pages (SERP) and therefore increasing brand awareness and visibility. Yet, small business owners or anyone else new to SEO might not know how to tell if their SEO is working, or even think to assess it in the first place. Further, some SEO agencies simply get it wrong and injure the reputations of the companies they work for as a result.
The truth is that SEO isn’t always the easiest thing to understand. Moreover, there are fluctuations beyond your control, such as Google changes, website changes, competition changes, and user behavior changes. However, there are numerous options for measuring SEO efforts and determining what’s working and what requires tweaking.
Check out the following and be on your way to higher search engine results:
Keyword ranking is one of the main things to look for in terms of whether SEO is working for you or not. Understanding where your keywords rank in search results is arguably the biggest yay-or-nay indicator, as it shows website movement. Fluctuations during the first three months are normal and mean your SEO campaign is actually achieving results. If your keywords do not show up on the first page of Google six months in, you’ll need to reexamine your efforts. Utilizing a rank tracker from the cloud is a good way to keep a watchful eye on keyword activity.
“Something to Show”
Does your SEO agency have something—anything—to show for its work? If the answer is no, you might want to replace the agency or take a closer look at what your own team is doing in terms of SEO. Your SEO agency must be able to show you exactly what it’s doing and how it’s affecting your search engine ranking. Again, not much may be happening three or four months in, but you still have the right to ask for deliverables. You’re paying the agency, after all! Any reputable SEO agency can show you a thorough SEO audit of your site, including optimized site content, an analysis of your site’s link profile, and articles on related sites featuring links to yours. Link building is of special importance in the early days of SEO efforts, as it helps with brand visibility and awareness, even if you’re still on the third page of Google.
Your SEO agency should also ask you for various lists and account logins if it’s doing the job correctly. Failure to receive even one email from the agency is a huge warning sign, as it should be requesting access to your CMS, Google Analytics, social media accounts, and Google Webmaster tools. The company should also ask for a list of keywords you wish to target, as well as information on past work, audits, and penalties. A reputable SEO agency will also be able to suggest improvements and demonstrate its techniques.
Another huge indication that your SEO is working is an increase in website traffic. Traffic refers to the number of hits your website receives per day, with increases directly related to keyword ranking. If no increase occurs, your SEO efforts are definitely not working. Website niche plays a role, and traffic comes in the forms of ‘search’ and ‘referral.’ Search traffic is the number of queries from search engines that result in website hits. Referral traffic concerns the aforementioned link-building techniques. Links come from websites, promotions, trackable emails, and branding link campaigns, as well as blogs, bookmarking sites, and social networking sites.
Search is of special importance with regard to B2B. Some 81 percent of B2B buyers note that purchase cycles start with web searches. Additionally, organic search is thought to be the largest driver of website traffic.
The number of conversions your business receives lets you know whether SEO efforts are working or not. Conversions refer to the number of website visitors who morph into customers. This data is significant, as it lets you know your business is growing and the number of customers is increasing, which is the whole point of SEO. You may decide to calculate conversions yourself, which can be accomplished by dividing the total number of site visitors by the total number of sales. For example, if your website featured 500 hits in one day and resulted in five sales, your site is receiving one sale per 50 visitors.
Analyzing micro-conversions is also recommended. Micro-conversions are the building blocks that lead to full-blown conversions, and they offer insight regarding where your website requires improvement. For example, if you lose customers after they click on the “Buy Now” link, you’ll need to check that link and page.
Manual penalties are among the worst things that can happen to your website. You’ll receive an email message or GWT notification letting you know you’ve been penalized. “User-generated spam” is a typical example of a manual penalty. Such penalties may not be the fault of your SEO agency or in-house team, and they don’t mean you should fire everyone involved. However, you should take a close look at what went wrong. If the agency’s work resulted in one or more penalties, one or two months after hiring, you have every right to raise an eyebrow and question what’s being done.
It’s true: not all webpages are acknowledged by all search engines. The goal of page indexing is to maximize search engine page recognition, so search engines recognize as many of your web pages as possible. Take a look at some page indexing metrics to further measure whether your SEO is working—and a success.
Are you ranking for the wrong keywords? Significant changes to organic keywords equal SEO carelessness. A cessation in ranking for words you previously ranked highly for is another big problem that requires a detailed look at what your SEO team or agency is doing.
These and many more factors let you know if your SEO strategy is doing what it should. More internet traffic is predicted for 2017 than all previous years combined, making SEO refinement a worthwhile project.
Have questions about your SEO Performance? Please contact us today.