Measuring SEO – The Basics
One unique and beneficial aspect to SEO is that the user has the ability to track the effectiveness that SEO is having on his/her business. One way to measure is through the traffic itseld. Doing so allows you to see where and how visitors are accessing your site. This is important because it relates directly to other aspects of your business such as marketing, sales and advertising, meaning that depending upon what your data is telling you, you may or not be marketing to the right group of people. By tracking and analyzing the traffic it allows you to notice any weaknesses or strengths your business may have. Some forms of traffic include:
• Direct Navigation- This includes traffic from bookmarks, email links, and typed in searches.
• Referral- Traffic from links from across the web, promotions, marketing campaigns, etc…
• Search- Queries that sent traffic from any major or minor web search engine
Another way to measure your online performance is through visits from the different search engines. In the US the three major search engines are Google, Bing, and Yahoo; however on an international scale Google makes up for more than 80% of search traffic. Tracking traffic by country allows you to see exactly what contributions each search engine is making and compare that to its market share. We think it is important to not be solely focused on one search engine (Google) in order to obtain as much information as possible.
When trying to figure out your “bottom line”, few measures for tracking are better than the conversion rate. The conversion rate allows you to see the percentage of users who “convert” after visiting your site. This could be the number of people who actually buy a pizza for Dominoes after landing on their webpage. Once you’ve discovered your conversion rate you can find exactly where you rank for your targeted keywords and focus on improving the ones that drive the most conversions.
Here are some other signs you may want to look out for:
Traffic from various search engines
If a single engine is sending you considerably less traffic, it could be due to one of these possibilities:
• You're under a penalty at that engine for violating search quality or terms of service guidelines.
• You've accidentally blocked access to that search engine's crawler. Double-check your robots.txt file and meta robots tags and review the Webmaster Tools for that engine to see if any issues exist.
• That engine has changed their ranking algorithm in a fashion that no longer favors your site. Most frequently, this happens because links pointing to your site have been devalued in some way, and is especially prevalent for sites that engage in manual link building campaigns of low-moderate quality links.
• Individual ranking fluctuations over a particular word or phrase happens millions of times a day, and is generally nothing to be concerned about.
• Ranking algorithms fluctuate, competitors gain and lose links (and on-page optimization tactics) and search engines even flux between indices (and may sometimes even make mistakes in their crawling, inclusion or ranking processes).
• However, when major fluctuations do occur, carefully review on-page elements for any signs of over-optimization or violation of guidelines (cloaking, keyword stuffing, etc.) and check to see if links have recently been gained or lost.
While these are some basic tips, the world of SEO is very complex and always evolving. Be sure to take a look at our Blog for some advanced topics.