This article was written in 2010, research, measurement and adaptation are the most important tradecrafts for SEOs. Much of this information is dated but the sentiment is forward thinking. Get our thoughts of SEO today.
Measuring Your Results
Every successful website should have an effective way of MEASURING YOUR SEO & SEM RESULTS performance. Every SEO campaign should have some way of determining the success of its outcome.
Even though SEO, search engine optimization, can create free web traffic it is far from free. Even if you do not spend any money you are investing a lot of time, effort, and energy in the process.
Since you are using these valuable resources, you want to be sure you are seeing a return on that investment. This is why it is important to measure your results. You want to see what efforts are effective and to continue them. At the same time, you want to identify what is not working and either modify it or do away with those efforts entirely.
This process begins with determining what to measure.
Phase 1: Establish the Metrics
To begin, we need to determine what exactly we are going to measure. With a good analytics solution, you will be able to compile a lot of important data to study later. So at this point we are interested in determining exactly how you want that data to be comprised.
Here are some categories you should look at:
- Costs: As you are spending valuable time, effort, energy, and sometimes money on optimizing your site you will likely want to look at what those costs are (primarily in the areas of time and money). You can then relate those expenditures to specific results from your campaign.
- Leads and Sales: For most businesses developing leads which later amount to sales and the sales themselves are the goal of a website and any associated marketing and optimizing campaigns. With proper analysis, you can link those leads and sales to specific keywords, phrases and marketing campaigns.
- Site Rankings: When evaluating your main search terms and your overall keyword strategy it is important to monitor changes in your rankings across the top 2 or 3 search engines. At the same time, you need to remind yourself that SEO is a long process.
- Referrals and Traffic: In addition to looking at specific results for certain keywords and phrases, it is important to measure the overall performance of your SEO or SEM campaign by looking at the total volume of traffic generated from organic search results.
- Links: If you are actively engaged in link building and promoting our site you will naturally want to look at the volume of inbound links to your site. This is a great way to determine if your optimization efforts are paying off even if you cannot connect the links to a specific activity every time.
Phase 2: Setting up Analytics
Here are some recommendations for tools that are good for analyzing and tracking your website:
For a web-based solution look at Digital Point www.digitalpoint.com which offers a free keyword ranking tool that works on all of the top 3 major search engines.
A great offline tool is Advanced Web Ranking
Tracking Traffic and Referrals
Phase 3: Measuring Results
Once you establish your metrics and determine which sites or programs to use to gather all your data, you will want to set up a regular schedule of reporting and analyzing data so you can see reports at the same time each week or month to better gauge results.
Phase 4: Tracking Resources
It is also important to track the resources spent on optimizing your site be they time and money or other less tangible assets.
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