Measuring SEO Success
At FSE Digital, we prefer to provide a more transparent SEO service than many other companies. From our perspective, this means not only providing you with comprehensive reports of all work done, but also by empowering you by providing the tools you need to monitor SEO campaigns.
Some of the most common criticisms of SEO have arisen as a result of many agencies keeping their optimisation methods hidden, even from their own clients. We’ve found that this is never a good approach in the long term and this secrecy is often the main reason why many SEO partnerships are so short lived. We provide transparent reporting that includes an indication of our clients’ overall SEO performance, but there are many other ways to measure the success of an SEO campaign. Familiarise yourself with these methods to keep track of your website’s health and status in search.
Why Measure Success?
There are two reasons why it’s vital to measure the success of an SEO campaign, the first and foremost being that if you keep your finger on the pulse you can be sure that your SEO consultant is doing a good job. If you are unable to measure the way the campaign is progressing, you can never be sure that the work is being carried out as agreed.
Secondly, you will be in a better position to steer the campaign. Although an SEO strategy will initially focus on an agreed set of keyword search terms, you may find that you start winning more business from unexpected search requests, and this information can be used to enhance an SEO campaign or even adjust a business strategy. One way to keep ahead of the competition is to win new markets before others even know that they are there – SEO can help you achieve this goal!
Where your chosen keywords rank in a Google search provide you with the campaign’s core Key Performance Indictors (KPIs). At the start of an SEO campaign you will agree which phrases you would like to rank well for. Naturally, they need to be relevant to your business and your website’s pages. Monitoring keyword performance is easy, but when you delve deeper into the ins and outs of the search engine ranking positions (SERPs), it’s not actually as straightforward as you may think!
Google delivers personalised search results, so if you regularly view a particular website (i.e. your own or your competitors’) it will probably appear higher in search to you than your customers. To accurately monitor your keyword positions you should use the Incognito function in the Chrome browser, or the private browsing feature in Firefox. This will allow you to view the Google search results without the algorithm taking into account your own personal profile. This is not completely without fault, as it is possible that Google will also adjust results based on the location of your IP address. This means that if you are running a national campaign you may appear higher in the SERPs for your local market, which likely will include your own computer. However, so long as you are consistent in your approach, you can accurately monitor changes in search positions as your campaign gains more and more traction.
Monitoring your main target keywords will help you keep an eye on the amount of exposure you’re getting from the organic search results. However, as your SEO campaign progresses, you’ll find that people will be reaching your website via a wider range of search terms. Keywords and key phrases that fall outside your main target list are often referred to as “long-tail keywords”. Google has disclosed that around 20% of all searches entered every day are unique – that is, the term is only used once. It can be argued that these are all long tail terms, and together they represent a huge part of the traffic that you can claim with your SEO campaign.
To monitor your organic traffic properly, you need to delve into analytics. There are services such as SEMRush and Alexa which provide an estimate of the traffic you are receiving, but their data is very limited and based on an educated guess, not solid facts. Instead, you should really use Google Analytics for this purpose. We always recommend the installation of Google Analytics – if we are managing your campaign, we will always ensure the software is set up and verified correctly in the first instance.
Developing A Strong Digital Presence
It is vital to develop a good online presence as well as improving the visibility of your website in search. Customers now expect a business to be not only present, but active online, and any business that cannot be found on the internet is immediately distrusted. Even the newest business can have an online presence on social media platforms within a few days, so there really is no excuse for not being found!
A good SEO campaign will also increase your overall brand visibility. There are many ways to achieve this and we use a range of techniques and platforms to ensure that brand searches will bring up favourable listings for your business.
The use of business directories is a vital part of digital marketing today. As well as bolstering SEO efforts, profiles on high authority directories which contain a link back to your website will provide direct referrals; many of these profiles will also appear in the search results for branded or localised searches, too. Directories such as Trustatrader and Yell are used by thousands of consumers to find local businesses, so by adding and improving your listings in these and on similar sites, your company will become more established and ‘find-able’ online.
Our team will also manage various authentic accounts on business and trade forums. These can provide more direct referrals and also help to position you as an expert in your field, which is a great way to thwart the competition!
Success with these platforms can be monitored with tools such as Mention.com and Google Alerts, which can be set up to forward emails on to you whenever your business name is mentioned on the public internet. This way, if you spot something unfavourable online, you can take steps to combat any negative publicity. Better the devil you know, after all.
Social media is playing an increasingly important role in digital marketing. Granted, managing your social profiles correctly can help you drive more visitors to your website, but staying social is also very important for brand reputation management (and staying strong amongst the competition). If somebody searches for your company name they will most likely find your social media pages following your website in the search results, so they need to be updated and contain accurate business information if you’re going to give off a credible impression to potential customers.
Carrying out brand searches for your business will normally show you how well your social campaign is progressing. If the first page of Google is filled with pages that you either directly control or have had some input in, you know that your campaign is heading in the right direction.
Of course, the ultimate goal of an SEO campaign is to win more business, so the most important metric really is the number of leads, calls or orders you are receiving each week. If business starts to improve, then you know that the SEO campaign is working for you. If you are too busy to monitor the campaign, don’t worry – we can deliver reports that will provide a comprehensive overview. Speak to us today to learn more about our search engine optimisation services.