Starting a search optimization campaign is often an exciting venture. Even if you’re outsourcing it to an agency, you’ll still need to invest resources in:
- Creating content
- Promoting content
- Restructuring your site to make it SEO-friendly
If you do it right, you’ll reap the fruits of your campaign efforts. However, how can you know if your SEO campaign is working?
How to Tell if Your SEO Is Working
What are the main goals of your campaign?
First, you need to set up the purpose of your SEO campaign. The general aim is always to improve your site’s ranking and increase traffic. However, what are your specific goals?
- Are you expecting some financial return?
- Brand exposure?
- Is there a particular traffic volume you want to achieve?
Having specific goals can help quantify your website’s SEO performance.
How long can you wait?
Remember organic SEO is a long-term endeavor. You can’t expect dramatic results in just one week or two. Usually, the early stages will require most of your budget but little results. However, you can reap the most significant effects during the middle stages. Meanwhile, as the campaign begins to wind down, the yield may slow down as well.
What are your expectations?
You should also set reasonable expectations. Remember, the number of resources, time, and effort you invest will reflect on the results that you’ll get. For example, small business owners posting monthly blogs can achieve some SEO success. However, they can’t rake in as many sales as those companies who work with a professional SEO company.
SEO tools to use for monitoring
After setting up an effective campaign, the next step is to measure its success. Here are some SEO tools you can use:
1 - SEMRush or AgencyAnalytics for keywords
Ranking for keywords is often the first SEO objective. It’s an indicator of how your site is performing with the search engines. To measure your keyword rank, consider using tools like SEMRush or AgencyAnalytics. They are useful for knowing the previous and current ranking of your head and long-tail keywords. These tools are handy since Google won’t give you the data that you need most.
2 - Moz for inbound links
To monitor your link profiles, consider using tools like Moz’s Open Site Explorer. It can also help you select new links and evaluate your link profile. Getting new links indicates that:
- Your site’s reputation is rising
- People want to link to your content
3 - Google Analytics for organic traffic
The best tool for measuring organic traffic is Google Analytics. It can accurately measure the number of visitors to your site. Note that you’ll need the search engines to direct the visitors to you. All of them were directed by search engines. By combining it with keyword ranking, you’ll learn how much visibility and traction your website is getting.
4 - Google Analytics for referral traffic
Building external links can also result in referral traffic for your site. Measuring it can indicate that your off-site content is doing well. You can also use Google Analytics for measuring your referrals.
5 - Conversions and revenue
Whether you’re doing local SEO or going global, the real purpose of your SEO campaign strategy is to make sales and earn revenues. Consider using your content to turn leads to customers. By measuring the sales and revenue generated by your SEO campaign, you can figure out your Return of Investment (ROI).
The ROI is the amount that will tell you if your efforts are providing profits.
Aside from making sales, there are other types of conversion you can measure, such as:
- Giving information, like contact details
- Giving you an email response or call
- Signing up for a subscription, like a newsletter
- Registering on your site
- Downloading your product, like a software or eBook
Here’s a simple formula for computing the conversion rate:
Conversion rate = (conversions / total visitors) * 100%
For example, if you have 1,000 visitors and 250 conversions for the month, your conversion rate is 25 per cent.
Google Analytics and social networks like Facebook can also provide you with the conversion rate in your interface.
Timeline for results
Numbers can indicate growth. However, you can also measure your growth depending on your budget. You can measure it by:
1 - First month
Use this time to:
- Create, publish, and promote content
- Earn links
- Establish your site’s reputation
You can get a higher ranking using on-site optimization tools. However, such an effect is minimal.
2 - First year
After a year, you can see how much improvement your site has accomplished. It’s even possible that you can break-even or obtain a positive ROI.
3 - Improvement through time
After one to two years, the results you get from the campaign will start leveling off. You may notice that your site’s ranking is slowing down, including the amount of traffic you receive.
To sustain your SEO results make sure that your site is:
- Following SEO fundamentals and updating your site based on the new algorithms and opportunities presented by SEO engines like Google.
You work hard for your SEO campaign, but if you’re not getting results, consider making adjustments. Also, keeping things the same may not guarantee the same results. As search engines continue to change their algorithms, so should you. You can change the SEO tools or methods as long as it accomplishes your objective.
Chris Anderson is an online marketing expert with 15 years of experience with SEO and Google Ads campaigns. As Springhill Marketing’s founder, he helped various companies drive-up their website traffic via increased sales and enquiries. His company is also a Google Partner, specializing in SEO and Google Ads Services. Find him on Twitter @springhillmktg.