This post originally appeared on tBL member Joshua Lyon's blog Joshua Lyons Marketing Blog and is republished with permission. Find out how to syndicate your content with theBrokerList.
You just started a website and you want to grow the quality and quantity of traffic to your website. The problem is you don’t know where to start making improvements to this flow of traffic. One of the most important tactics that you can use in digital marketing is search engine optimization, or SEO for short. SEO is a marketing activity you implement to increase your website’s visibility to users of a search engine. Search engine examples include Bing, Safari, Edge, Google, etc. But, you should also make a point to measure results for SEO, to understand how much of an impact it’s making for your business. This is one aspect of SEO that’s often overlooked, even by those who offer SEO as a service.
Throughout this blog post, we introduce you to a variety of metrics you can use to measure results for SEO.
Use Google Analytics
If you want to receive a proper return on investment for your SEO, then Google Analytics is one measurement tool you should definitely use. By sifting through and sorting out the many different kinds of visitors that explore through your website, Google Analytics breaks down exactly what kinds of audiences you’re attracting.
Google Analytics is a reliable measuring tool for understanding how much organic (non-paid) website traffic is being generated. This tool will plainly tell you what is working on your website and what isn’t. It will also let you know which search engines your visitors are coming from. Is there a page on your website your visitors are landing on first? Which keywords are attracting your visitors? Google Analytics answers these questions, and many others.
Ultimately, if SEO is being properly done, most businesses should start to see a noticeable increase in organic website traffic. This is the primary metric to measure through Google Analytics, as it relates to tracking SEO performance.
Be Mindful of Keyword Positions
A “keyword position” is what we use to describe where in a search engine your website is ranking, for a particular keyword. For example, if you’re a restaurant, and you search Google for “restaurants near me,” that’s a keyword. If your website is the fifth result in the Google search, then your keyword position is #5. Most SEO professionals will track the position for each of your keywords, along with that of your top competitors. Being an effective website owner or marketer in the world of SEO involves capturing and holding as many top positions (#1) in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) as possible.
Consider what kind of content best supports your keywords. Make sure the keywords you target are relevant to your business. For example, if you own a Mexican restaurant, you probably don’t want to focus on keywords like “asian restaurants near me.” You might not even want to focus on keywords like “chili relleno’s near me,” since that’s probably not the best keyword for your to target. Keyword research will help you identify the keywords you should focus on. Leverage your keyword whenever possible, but don’t use it excessively to the point where it sounds like a spam message. And also include synonyms for the keyword. Tools that you can use to measure the ranking of keywords include SEMRush, MOZ, and Raven Tools.
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Keep Track of the Bounce Rate
One overlooked metric that gives you a better understanding of how to measure results for SEO is the “Bounce Rate” of your website. What is a Bounce Rate and why does it matter? This is the percentage of visitors that open a website and then leave before after only looking at a single page. If they land on your website, then then before exploring further, they leave your website, that’s a bounce. Ideally, you would want someone to view the landing page and then move over to a contact page, or some other page in the marketing funnel.
Keep track of your website’s Bounce Rate, because if the percentage is too high, you will likely need to make some adjustments to your landing pages. According to an excellent article by RocketFuel, a good bounce rate is from 26-40 percent. 41-55 percent is average. 56-70 percent is typically rather bad, depending on why the bounce rate is happening.
Monitor Average Time on Page
It is also important to know how much time visitors are spending on your website. If users are on a page that takes 15 minutes to read and they only spend 3 minutes on that page before leaving, then there may be an issue with your content.
Google Analytics can help you with its “average time on page” metric by letting you see how much time users spend on specific pages of your website. All users are different in how they spend a session on a page, and measuring the average amount of time spent per page can be quite helpful. Google Analytics tracks time on pages and sites by measuring the difference between the timestamps of hits. However, if a visit is a bounce, it won’t record the time. This can through your “time on page” data off.
As a general rule, most website visitors will visit two pages while on your website and will spend two minutes on your website. This gives you a frame of reference to compare your website to.
Develop Backlink Quality
Another important metric that helps you better understand how to measure results for SEO is backlink quality. Backlinks are links that take users to your website from another website. Backlinks come from all kinds of locations, including press releases, blog posts, directories and social media profiles. However, not all backlinks provide the same kind of quality your website needs.
Links that come from high domain authority websites are what SEO experts call quality backlinks. The opposite end of this spectrum are broken links and links from untrustworthy websites that give users computer viruses, or simply aren’t credible enough to make search engines think more highly of your website.
Developing enough backlink quality not only gives your website more of a professional look and feel, but it builds the trust that users will have for you and whatever you offer on your website. Consider using tools like this website authority checker made by SEO Review Tools that will help you find good quality backlinks.
There’s more than just one way to measure results for SEO. And SEO doesn’t always guarantee a sudden massive burst in site traffic. If you create SEO content for a few months and then stop, you most likely will not see good results. It takes time and patience. Check out our blog post on how long it takes to show results from SEO. Overall, if done right, you will typically receive a better return on investment than email marketing and social media marketing if you remain consistent with SEO. Another related blog post is “How Many Leads to Expect per Marketing Channel.”
We hope you found this blog post helpful. And, if you have questions or need help with your own SEO, let us know! We’d be happy to have a conversation with you about this. You can connect with us via the form below or our contact page.