SEO basics

How to Know if Your SEO Is Working

SEO is a business investment where you want to know if you’re making or losing money. Here are a few key metrics to determine if your SEO is working.

Search engine optimization (S.E.O.) is similar to other business investments. You want to know if you’re getting a return on your investment or wasting time and resources. Even if you’re a non-SEO person, you can (and should) have a firm grasp on how your SEO campaign is performing.

SEO Comes Down to Data

How to know if your SEO is working largely comes down to analytics. Without tracking, your SEO strategy will be like flying in the dark. Having reliable and accurate data is crucial for making informed decisions so your SEO efforts are more likely to produce the kind of results you want.

There are a variety of ways you can get analytics for your site. My favorite is Google Analytics since it’s free and I love using Google products. If you’re just getting started with this, check out my recent Google Analytics Introduction Webinar. This is where I’ll explain what questions to ask, what dashboards to review, and how to craft the next steps.

Which SEO Metrics to Track

While platforms like Google Analytics offer an abundance of metrics for website performance, there are a few that I focus on in order to measure search traffic. I’ll start from the bottom of the funnel up.

  • Organic Conversions
    A conversion is when a visitor takes an action on your website. This can include soft conversions, such as form submissions, email signups, and webinar registrations. This can also include more hard conversions, which include product or service purchases. Measuring conversions is a great way to measure the return on your SEO investment.

  • Organic Traffic
    Organic search traffic is an important SEO metric because it tells us if people are finding you on Google. When organic search traffic is steadily increasing, it’s a good sign that your SEO campaign is on the right path.

  • Keyword Rankings
    It’s not only important to exist on Google; you need to rank prominently in search results. If you can’t be found on Google, then how can a customer consider you? With the keyword ranking metric, you’ll see where your site is positioned in search results for target keywords. The higher your organic keywords are ranking, the greater chances you have of people visiting your site.  

  • Engagement Metrics
    One way to tell if people are engaging with your website is with engagement metrics that include bounce rate, average time on site, and pages per session.
    • Bounce rate: A ‘bounce’ is whenever a visitor only views one page and then ‘bounces’. This means they leave after viewing only one page. A bounce rate ranges from 0-100%. As an example, if the bounce rate is 90%, that means that 90% of site visitors left without viewing another page.

    • Average time on site: The average duration of time spent viewing your site. When visitors spend time on your site, they’re more likely to engage, thereby increasing conversions. A “good” average time is anywhere between two to four minutes.

    • Pages per session: The average number of pages viewed during a session on your site. More pages per session indicate that visitors are exploring and engaging your site. If visitors only visit one page per session, that can mean they’re not finding value in your content.

External Factors That Impact SEO Performance

SEO metrics often fluctuate because there are many external factors that can impact website performance. Although you can’t control external factors, being aware of them will allow you to modify your SEO strategy so you can roll with the punches.

  • Algorithm Updates
    Search engines are constantly refining their algorithms to improve the user experience. Google’s core algorithm updates make headlines in the SEO world because their updates can drastically affect rankings in search results.

  • Technical Changes
    You can have the greatest content in the world, but you still run the risk of not being found on Google if your site has technical hindrances. This can include having a slow website or important content within JavaScript, etc.

  • New Competition
    Search engines show a limited amount of results on the first page. That’s why SEO can sometimes feel like a game of hungry hippos. Everyone is fighting to be seen. For this reason, you’ll want to be aware of new competitors. Chances are they might be going after the same keywords and business as you.

  • Searcher Behavior Changes
    Tastes change over time which means that a keyword’s popularity can change too. It’s important to be aware of market trends and evolve your SEO strategy to ensure you’re focusing on the right organic keywords.

  • Bad Analytics Data
    If your analytics isn’t properly set up, you’ll end up with bad analytics data which will hamper your SEO efforts. Having accurate data is essential for determining if your SEO is actually successful.

Final Thoughts

It’s crucial to always be asking if your SEO is working because things are constantly changing. However, now that you understand how to measure SEO performance and what factors impact it, you’ll be better able to answer that question.

Additionally, your SEO consultant should make it easier to determine whether your SEO is working, whether it’s by providing a monthly report or sending check-in emails with quick wins, opportunities, or items that need immediate attention.

Success doesn’t happen overnight and how long it takes SEO to work varies, but partnering with an expert will speed up the process. With over 10+ years of SEO experience, MediaSesh can help you determine if your SEO is working or not and create an effective strategy.

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