SEO can take a lot of time and effort. What good is spending all this time and effort if you can’t see the fruits of your labor? There are many metrics you can track on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to keep your SEO plan on track and measure your success.
Measuring overall traffic to your website from organic search is something you should look at on a weekly basis. This will help you determine if that changes you made in the previous weeks or months have started to have an impact.
Leads / ROI
Web analytics tools like Google Analytics and inbound marketing solutions like HubSpot can make it easy to see how many conversions have occurred on your website as a result of organic search traffic and keywords. These tools will also allow to you set up multiple conversion definitions (visits, leads, customer) so you can really get a sense of how much return you are getting on your SEO investment.
Measuring how many pages the search engines have indexed for your site is an easy way to measure the growth of your SEO efforts and your website. The more pages that are indexed, the easier it is to rank for more keywords. Free tools like HubSpot’s Website Grader will show you how many pages you have indexed. Measure indexed pages on a monthly basis. This number should always be going up.
Inbound links are the easiest way to determine how successful you have been at off-page SEO. HubSpot’s Website Grader will provide you with the number of inbound links your website currently has. Track this metric monthly. Any growth is good unless they come from sites that have a bad reputation according to search engines.
Keep a list of the keywords that are driving traffic to your website from organic search. On a monthly basis, dive deeper into your organic search traffic and analyze what keywords were responsible for driving the traffic. Your brand keywords are usually going to be responsible for the bulk of it. If possible, separate out brand keywords and pay close attention to the non-branded keywords that are driving traffic to your website.
Select a list of the top 10 keywords that you want to rank for. Every month, go in and conduct a search on Google and see where you rank. Record your rank and you will be able to see if your SEO efforts have helped you improve. Make note of jumps of over five spots, because those changes are usually not the result of normal search engine updates and changes.
By this point you should have a firm understanding of what SEO is and why every online business needs to recognize how critical it is. Developing and executing an SEO strategy can be a daunting task. However, this process is completely manageable if you dedicate adequate time and resources to it. There are several things to consider when getting started with SEO.
Make a List of Keywords
Do some keyword research and make a list of all the keywords you would like to rank for on the search engines. Rank this list in order of priority or relevance to your business. This should be a living and breathing document that you review and update at least on a monthly basis. This will ensure you continue conducting keyword research and allow you to make note of the keywords you are already ranking for.
Build Keyword-Focused Pages
After conducting keyword research, you will have a good idea of how many specific webpages you want to create. Each webpage will need content and pictures. Also, you need to decide where these webpages will live on your website and what other pages or offers they should link to. Make a list of the assets that need to be created or gathered and devise a plan to get it done.
Set Up a Blog
As discussed previously, blogging can be an incredible way to rank for keywords and engage your website‟s users. If your business does not already have a blog, set one up and make a point to blog at least one a week. Remember, you are blogging for your audience, not the search engines. Write about things your audience and/or prospects are interested in, and they will naturally find you via the search engines. Remember that every blog post is a new webpage (a lottery ticket) for getting found on the search engines.
Create a Link-Building Plan
Link building is the primary objective of off-page SEO. Dedicate some time to brainstorm the many different ways you can go about attracting inbound links to your website. Start small – maybe share your links with other local businesses in exchange for links to their sites. Write a few blog posts and share them on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Another great way to attract inbound links is to use your blog to post articles related to current events or news. That way you increase the chances of attracting links from news outlets or industry influencers.
Stay Current on SEO News & Practices
Like the overall marketing landscape, search engines are ever-evolving. Staying on top of current trends and best practices is a hard task. The best way is to read. There are multiple online resources that make it easy for you to stay on top of SEO news and changes that may impact your website. Here are a few resources to check out and get you started:
You should now have all of the tools and understand all of the concepts you need to get started on SEO basics. Now, take your time to figure the strategy that is right for you and start optimizing!