While I am no fan of statistics and measures, the fact remains that for most things in life, and certainly for most business ventures, it is essential to have some sort of measuring or analysis tool in place. Otherwise, you are unable to ascertain exactly how well your SEO strategy is working.
When you’re looking at your SEO plan either as an individual or as a paying customer, you need to have certain realistic expectations, which need to be revisited on a regular basis. This is perhaps even more important if you are paying for a professional SEO company to look after your needs. You should have agreed upon targets and followed the Smart mnemonic.
S – Specific Discuss with your SEO company exactly what your and their aims should be. Once agreed these should be written down somewhere as a reference of progress.
M – Measurable This is linked to the targets set above. Don’t be fobbed off with some wishy-washy talk or promises. Be absolutely clear about what the targets should be.
A – Agreed Upon This may sound silly, but make sure both you and your company are in agreement on the expectations, so there can be no confusion further down the line.
R – Realistic You have to be sensible about your expectations. It is unlikely that you will be able to be number one for your energy drink compared to, say, Coca-Cola.
T – Time Based Have a monthly review where everyone can look at the results and measure progress. Otherwise, your strategy will begin to drift.
1. What is Happening with Your Organic Traffic
The end game with all SEO work is to get more organic traffic, so one of the easiest metrics to check, and what you should expect if your SEO strategy is working, is for the organic traffic to increase. If it is flatlining, or worse still dropping off, I think it is reasonable to conclude that your strategy has gone badly off track and needs to be altered drastically. Google Analytics will be able to assist you with this information, and regardless of your targets, should be regularly checked as a good business practice.
2. Your Website Drops Drastically Within Google Overnight
This is the worst possible thing to happen to any online business, and is commonly referred to as a “Google Slap”. Normally what it means is that you or your SEO company has been playing fast and free with the rules. Perhaps you have been using link farms and using blackhat techniques to try and outsmart Google and cheat the system. While this may work in the short term, long term it can be an absolute disaster, and ultimately destroy your online business overnight. If you have been or suspect your SEO agency of utilizing black hat tactics, stop them immediately. Prevention is always better than the cure, and getting a site restored on Google causes a lot of difficulties and to some extent can even be impossible. The reward is simply not worth the risk.
3. Your Website is Not Ranking for the Correct Keywords
There is very little point in ranking for words that are highly irrelevant to your business. And it is vital that you rank for your main keywords. You need to know exactly which keywords you or your SEO service provider should be targeting. First and foremost if you don’t then you are almost guaranteed to be wasting your own time, but secondly, this is an excellent way to assess how well your SEO is working There is little point in ranking for BMW if you sell Mercedes.
4. Your Keyword Rankings are Sinking Month On Month
Once you’ve ranked for a certain keyword, there’s always the chance of an occasional blip; perhaps a competitor really knocks it out of the park, or your site has an outage due to hosting issues or something. That can have a temporary effect on your ranking, but when a pattern of dropping keyword rankings begins to develop, that’s when you know things aren’t good with your SEO strategy. If you are investing money to get good SEO results, then you shouldn’t be going backward, and questions should be asked.
5. Your Conversion Rate is Horrible
This may or may not be related to SEO. If your SEO is bad and as a consequence due to poor keyword targeting, the organic traffic being delivered is the wrong traffic, then that is 100% the fault of your SEO. However there could also be a strong argument that the sales pages on your website are of inferior quality, and so your SEO team may be doing everything properly but the copy on your website is letting you down. Be certain you know the reasons behind your poor conversion before discussing things with your SEO staff.
6. Your Content is Poor or Worse, Written for a Computer
Google along with the other search engines, wants to deliver the best results for their customers. In previous years, some people tried to game the system by using poor-quality content, stuffed with keywords. The theory, which was heavily flawed, was to write for Google rather than for a human. While it may have helped initiate a site ranked, when visitors arrived, they quickly left again as the content was rubbish. Google now values content, and so a site with poor quality content will drop down the rankings rapidly.
7. Are Your Backlinks Genuine and Natural
Years ago one of the ways people used to rank was to have lots of backlinks pointing to their site. Now those links need to be genuine and realistic. It is unlikely for example that a Monster Truck website would link to an environmental activists’ site, and vice versa. If your site has lots of unnatural, low-quality backlinks, this will hurt your ranking and is a very poor SEO technique.
8. Monitor Your Visitor’s Behaviour Using Google Analytics
How long are your visitors staying on page? Are they engaged with the content, and clicking through to other parts of the site, or are they leaving within 20 seconds? If this is the case, that points you toward at least part of your problem. Your content simply cannot be grabbing and hold their attention. Think of it as a constantly evolving, living creature that needs constant care and attention. With tools such as Google Analytics, you are in a fantastic position to improve your business, but that means you have to keep your finger on the pulse.
Running a web-based business is a lot of work. Your SEO strategy is essential and needs to be continually tweaked. But it doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and there are other things you as the owner or manager need to consider. Look at your content, and think about your customers, are you gathering their details so you can re-target them? These are all a part of the big puzzle, and while SEO may play a large part, it isn’t totally magic. You need to do your part as well.
SEO plays a vital role in the success of any online business. It is crucial to set realistic expectations and targets to achieve success in SEO. Monitoring certain metrics such as organic traffic, keyword rankings, backlinks, and visitor behavior is crucial. A decline in any of these metrics may indicate the need for a reassessment of the SEO strategy and necessary changes. Additionally, it is crucial to avoid using black hat tactics that may lead to a Google penalty and the destruction of the online business. By monitoring these metrics and revisiting the SEO strategy regularly, a business can ensure long-term competitiveness and success.