Whether you’re tackling your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts in-house or hiring an agency to handle it, you must know how to measure the performance of your SEO program.
Without the ability to measure your SEO effectiveness, you won’t be able to review tactics and adjust as necessary to earn the most SEO ROI.
Of course, the first thing you need to do is define your goals before the campaign even starts. This way, you have benchmarks for what constitutes a successful campaign and what equates to failure. Once you have those goals set, you can start measuring performance using the data meant for the job.
SEO traffic and revenue
One of the most important SEO metrics you have is how many people visit your website. Track your organic search traffic on a monthly basis to confirm it is increasing. Of course, you may see drops occasionally due to things such as seasonality or algorithm updates, but in general, you should see an upward trend. This is just one of many ways to determine your SEO effectiveness.
Keyword positioning improvements will boost SEO traffic to your website because your results will be more toward the top of the search engine results, where people are more likely to click.
Take a look at your organic search versus your overall site traffic to get a better idea of how organic search is impacting your website traffic.
If you are working with eCommerce SEO and have correctly implemented eCommerce tracking, you will have access to revenue strictly coming from organic website visits.
Here, look for revenue increases month-to-month and year-to-year. Some understandable drops are to be expected, but dips you can’t explain call for a deeper dive into this data.
Bounce rate and time spent on webpages
The percentage of people who leave your website after viewing just a page is your bounce rate.
A high bounce rate isn’t automatically a bad thing if it stems from visitors finding what they are looking for right away. However, more often, a high bounce rate signifies visitors are not seeing what they wanted when they clicked on your website, and this is a big problem.
Taking a look at your website’s bounce rate overall can give you insight into the usability and readability of your website.
Analyze your bounce rate from the visitor-type, category and page perspectives to get a clearer idea as to why your visitors leave so quickly.
Another metric to examine is how long visitors spend on your pages, particularly the organic landing pages, which your organic visitors may see first.
This will help you understand your visitors’ search intentions. If you see landing page users quickly moving to another website section, for example, you might want to make it easier for them to find what they are seeking.
Returning versus new users
The amount of people returning to your website helps you see how engaging your website is. Even if you are converting all of your users, when none of them return, you’re losing out on a significant source of revenue.
Ideally, your visitors don’t come just to make a sale—they’ll share what they bought online with others and return to buy again.
You want to see increases in new and returning users each month. Pay attention to the new-to-returning-users ratio to get an idea of how good your organic website growth really is.
SEO: A blend of science and art
SEO is both a science and an art. As such, it should evolve and will require tweaks over time. To ensure you are using the right tactics for your brand and audience, it’s vital you measure how effective your SEO is in practice and prepare to make any necessary changes.