But how can you tell whether or not your SEO strategy is working? When it comes to how to measure SEO performance, sometimes things can get confusing.
There is a wealth of information out there on SEO, but less on how to measure SEO performance.
Measuring SEO performance comes down to whether or not you are meeting your KPIs or Key Performance Indicators. KPIs help you to identify what is working and what needs improvement.
Before learning how to measure SEO performance, you should understand your KPIs. Not knowing what your KPIs are (or whether or not you are meeting them) will prevent you from being able to measure your SEO performance.
Key Performance Indicators for SEO Success
Before we dive into how to measure SEO performance, we must first discuss what metrics you are using to quantify that performance.
These metrics are called your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Depending on your business and its SEO goals, your KPIs could include:
- Number of unique visitors to your site
- Number of page views on your site
- Bounce rate (how long a visitor stays on your site and how many pages they visit)
- Ranking for your main desired keywords
- Ranking for secondary keywords
- Moz domain authority
…and much more.
Deciding which metrics matter to you and your business is the first step in figuring out how to measure SEO performance.
The metrics that matter to you should be the ones that most directly affect your conversion rate and whether your online efforts are fulfilling the purpose of your site.
How to Measure SEO Performance
Now that you have a better grasp on KPIs, you can dive into the world of measuring your SEO performance.
Here are a few ways to measure SEO performance so that you can ensure that your strategy is working and that you are on the path to success.
One of the main ways to measure SEO performance is to check which websites are linked to, and refer traffic to, your web pages.
These can be links across the w.w.w., links in emails, and branding campaign links.
You should keep track of what sources are contributing to the monthly traffic on your site. Sources of traffic can include:
- Direct navigation
- Referral traffic
- Search traffic
- Search engine referrals
It is important to find and track both the percentage and the exact numbers of these traffic sources.
Tracking these numbers will allow you to compare your referral numbers to the levels they were at in the past, especially if you recently implemented a new strategy. You can also see which areas you may need to focus on more.
To illustrate: a spike in traffic coming from referral links seems like a cause for celebration. However, if these referral links are not very relevant to you or your site, this traffic will be of little real use to you.
As far as search engine referrals, the two biggest search engines in Canada are Google and the Yahoo-Bing alliance.
If you are getting more referrals from Yahoo-Bing than Google, then your promoted ads might be more efficient there than on Google.
Likewise, if you get more referrals from some other particular website, then focus your content marketing efforts there.
Ranking for chosen keywords that are relevant to your business is an important measure of SEO success.
You should have a dedicated keyword strategy in place. This starts by making a list of your most important keywords but also have an understanding of why those are important.
You should also adjust your SEO strategy based off what keywords you rank higher for.
Then, when it comes to thinking about how to measure SEO performance, you simply need to examine those keywords.
What keywords are you targeting?
How high are you in those search rankings?
Are there other keywords that you search higher for?
If there are, then target those keywords more in your content than the other keywords.
Remember: ranking higher in specific keywords is better than ranking lower in more generic terms.
Measuring “conversions” on your site depends on what your goals are. Essentially, conversions are when your site is successful at whatever it is your site exists to do. Examples of conversions include:
- Gaining email subscribers
- Making sales
- Garnering comments
- Attracting a unique list of visitors who will share your content
Whatever your specific goal for your SEO strategy is, that’s how you should measure your conversions. Make sure to have a system in place to measure the conversions when making a new SEO strategy.
That way, you know if you are getting a good return on investment for the time and money you spend on SEO marketing. Conversions will tell you if you are effective or not in your message, if you are targeting the correct keywords, etc.
When measuring the return on investment for a new customer, do not simply factor the initial purchase into your measurements. When determining the return on investment, you must estimate the value of purchases that customer will make in a lifetime.
Page Loading Times
Not only do slow loading pages hurt conversions and traffic, but they also hurt your rankings in search engines. As a measure of SEO success, look at your page loading times and see how fast or slow they are. This is an area often overlooked, but faster loading page times make a huge difference.
Not only will they help you move up the list in search rankings, but they will also provide more web traffic and conversions because people will not get sidetracked and leave your site while the page is loading.
Being able to measure SEO performance is essential for anyone with a website. If your SEO is performing poorly, you are losing sales and conversions because not as many people know about your business.
Knowing how to measure SEO performance accurately will allow you to determine the success of your SEO strategy and reveal how to adjust it for even better results.