How Can You Tell If Your SEO Campaign Is Working?
Measuring the success of your SEO campaign isn’t always black and white. There are so many factors affecting the impact of your SEO work that it isn’t always possible to pinpoint exactly what is and isn’t working.
You could drive yourself crazy by checking you site’s analytics every hour and panic over small changes, but you really need to look at the big picture when it comes to determining if your SEO campaign is working.
Here are few ways you can tell if your SEO campaign is on the right track.
Increase in non-branded keywords
If you were to take a look at your latest analytics report, you should be able to see which keywords are driving traffic to your website. A good portion of those might be branded keywords (company name, product names, etc), but a sure sign of SEO success is when you notice an increase in non-branded keywords that lead to visitors.
Many of these non-branded keywords will be ones that you are actively targeting on your site, but you should also start to see variations of those keywords driving visitors each month. Even if those long tail keywords are only driving a few visitors each month, it means that your website is showing up in the search results for more and more searches.
Uptick in visitors
The best way to tell if your SEO campaign is working is by checking how many visitors your site is getting each month. While slight dips from month to month are common, you should see a trend (3-6 months of data) of increasing amounts of visitors. This means your site is showing up in the right places for the right type of traffic. There is no “right amount” of visitors to get in a month—it’s all relative to your business—but continual growth is a good sign of a strong SEO campaign.
More qualified leads
The goal of SEO is to not only drive more traffic to your website, but to drive more targeted traffic to your website. In a way, a good SEO campaign can almost act like lead qualification.
If your website is targeting the right keywords, both broad and long tail, the right people should be finding your website when searching. That is why long tail keywords, even though they may have less search volume, can be so valuable.
Someone who conducts a search with long tail keywords knows exactly what they are looking for, making them a better lead for your website. They are typically nearing the end of their buying cycle, which also increases the odds that they will convert.
Traffic coming from more sources
A good SEO strategy should focus on diversifying your traffic sources.
While it may sound strange coming from an SEO professional, you don’t want the overall health and well-being of your website to be placed in the hands of the search engines as it leaves your site vulnerable.
What happens if the search engines decide to penalize your site? If 90% of all traffic comes from the search engines there goes 90% of your business. The more traffic sources your site has the more it can withstand a hit to one of them.
A good SEO campaign is going to help build direct traffic, referrals, organic traffic and more. The more sources of traffic the better your SEO campaign.
Stronger presence in the SERPs
When you search for your company by name, what do you see in the search results? Hopefully your company website comes first, but what about after that?
Are your social profiles appearing in the SERPs? What about your press releases and company blog? Are all your business profiles listed? Or is content that is out of your hands, things like consumer reviews, news articles and forums, filling up the search results?
A strong SEO campaign is going to build your overall online brand presence in the SERPs so that the content you’ve created dominates the search results for your brand name.
These are just a few of the key indicators that your SEO campaign is working. It’s important to remember that SEO is a long term, ongoing process so you shouldn’t expect any huge gains overnight. Slow and steady is what wins the SEO race, so don’t panic over small loses; it comes with the territory. Take a step back and look at the overall SEO picture.
About the Author – Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis is the President of the Boston SEO firm Brick Marketing. With nearly 13 years of B2B SEO experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by posting to the Brick Marketing blog and the publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 150,000 opt-in subscribers.
photo thanks to Marco Bellucci
Great post, but I do think that in addition to keeping these facts in mind, you should also be keeping close track of your analytics. Perhaps not every day to the point where your brain hurts, lol, but at least a couple of times a week. In my experience not paying close enough attention to this is a huge mistake that newbies make.
Nice tips Nick! You have provided some really solid information, I think people may overlook the importance on long tail keywords, but, as you pointed out, they bring in more qualified leads.
Thanks Teresa and Heather for sharing your thoughts and for reading!
Great post indeed Nick, with some really good pointers. Although each and every one of the facts you mentioned is very important for the big picture, I believe sometime business owners forget about getting more qualified leads. And what’s even sadder is the fact that I still find websites (which aren’t about selling something online) without a call-to-action, in order to begin to qualify a certain lead. And a stronger presence in SERPs is very important for brand awareness, which again is usually disregarded by some business owners.
I also agree with Teresa, looking over your analytics data a couple of times a week can save you if something goes terribly wrong, and the earlier you notice it the better. Additionally, you can notice if you’re doing something terribly right as well :)
Great tips Nick. It’s always interesting to see what long tail keywords develop as you crank out more content.
It’s one thing to rank in the SERPs. It’s a better thing to develop qualified leads. It’s the best thing when these leads convert into paying clients.
Thanks, Nick. Good tips. Thanks for the helpful reminder about broadening the source of incoming traffic (get organic; not just search engine results). Thanks!