How do you know if your SEO strategy is working? Maybe more importantly: how do you prove to the corner offices that your SEO strategy is working?
SEO has the amazing ability to generate a lot of numbers and charts. There are a lot of metrics you could measure or include in reports, but do everyone a favor and focus on the ones that show meaningful results.
Here are the top three SEO metrics to show progress and prove SEO’s impact on the bottom line:
The first change that will indicate an SEO strategy is working is improved organic search rankings for non-branded terms. Ranking high on the search engine results page (SERP) for desired keywords can mean the difference between getting a new customer, and total online anonymity.
Rankings are not the only, or even the most important, SEO metric, but they are a start.
A reliable strategy for monitoring organic search rankings is a visibility score that compares your organic search visibility against your competitors. SERPs are customized to individual users, physical locations, and search history. Organic results tend to fluctuate as Google tests algorithm adjustments, and RankBrain continues to learn. A tool like—Moz or SEOmonitor—that provides a visibility score gives a more accurate, long-term impression of how content performs in organic search.
Improving rankings and increased brand awareness are good, but don’t guarantee more traffic to the site. A thorough SEO strategy builds on high rankings to drive users to the site.
Consider the fact that only 8.5% of web traffic makes it past the first page of organic search results. Furthermore, the average click through rate degrades quickly: the first two organic results on an average Google search get 42.7% of the clicks.
Because even if a landing page manages to secure a spot on the first page of Google search results, it still has to compete with dozens of other SERP features:
Good SEO goes beyond rankings and helps CTRs by:
To measure the quantity and quality of search traffic, use an analytics tool like Google Analytics to determine changes in organic, non-branded traffic to the site. A tool like SEOmonitor can help determine which keywords are driving traffic to which pages.
Rankings, brand awareness, and traffic are all necessary improvements, but they all need to add up to actual revenue in the end. Don’t bother talking to the C-suite about your SEO campaign unless you’re prepared to tie your metrics to their metrics … i.e. revenue.
Google Analytics can be a great way to measure the bottom line impact of SEO on revenue.
It can also be very helpful to integrate your marketing automation and/or CRM platform with Google Analytics. This integration is helpful for identifying individual buyers and accounts, evaluating customer lifecycles, etc.
Measuring the impact of SEO is a progression of metrics and considerations. Start by monitoring rankings, but remember that organic rankings are just the first marker of an effective SEO strategy. They are not the goal. High-quality traffic, and then revenue are the goals you really want to measure—and show to the C-suite.
Make sure you’re working with a good tool that can monitor your visibility score, and that you have clean data coming into Google Analytics.
And remember that SEO doesn’t happen overnight. Good SEO should see measurable results in about six months, so make sure your metrics are set up and stick to your strategy until then.