Long gone are the days when search engine optimization (SEO) was a simple process. It now entails very nuanced approaches, often aiming for long-term benefits. Thus, SEO strategies may now take 4 to 6 months before they begin showing results. This slow pace and lack of immediate results may understandably worry you; is your strategy on the right track? Fortunately, there are key metrics that can give you early hints on its performance. If you’re wondering how to know if your SEO is effective, read on.
Analytics lets you know if your SEO is effective
Gauging the effectiveness of your SEO strategy should hinge on your analytics. After all, SEO has concrete goals in its pursuit to increase your rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). Among others, consider the following end goals:
- Increase the effectiveness of your keywords and, in turn, organic traffic
- Enhance your pages’ crawling likelihood and speed
- Increase page loading speeds, content structure, and overall user experience
- Enhance page mobile-friendliness and accessibility
- Increase content effectiveness; relevance, quality, engagement, shares, and referrals
- Increase your page authority (PA) and domain authority (DA)
Of course, everything that we will discuss hinges on your active involvement in the process of SEO. You may fully entrust your website’s SEO to agencies, but even the best SEO audits still require your attention. As such, you should know which metrics can let you know if your SEO is effective enough to make informed decisions.
Depending on your business’s needs and aims, you may need to focus on any of the above or other goals.
As you consider the analytics that is most relevant to you, consider the following criteria:
- Are your goals as specific as possible?
Gauging your SEO effectiveness is much easier if you have specific, well-defined goals in mind.
- Is everyone you work with fully aware of your goals?
Whether you’re working with an SEO agency or not, it’s always significant that all your partners know your exact goals.
- Are your goals realistic and measurable?
Finally, if you’ve established clear, realistic goals, they should be measurable. If they can’t be measured with clear, relevant analytics, it will be nigh impossible to improve your efforts proactively.
Key metrics to track to know your SEO is effective
Let us delve into the key metrics you should track at all times. The exact value of each of those metrics will depend on your own unique goals and needs. However, if you’d like to know if your SEO is effective, they can all provide valuable insights.
#1 Organic search traffic
First and foremost, a good SEO strategy should yield more organic search traffic. No matter which results you value more, organic traffic overlaps with all of your vital goals;
- SERP rankings
Google Analytics and other tools can help you measure your organic search traffic gains. However, as you track your traffic, remember the following.
- Search engine traffic and referral traffic differ.
This is a vital distinction to make. Search engine traffic gains are a great way to know if your SEO is effective in SERPs. Referral traffic, on the other hand, may indicate your backlink strategy is working.
- Search traffic benefits take time.
It’s vital to be patient in this regard; it may not be your SEO failing, but that it needs more time.
#2 Keyword ranking
Keyword ranking is invaluable to gauge the success of your SEO; there are two points of comparison to keep in mind:
- How you rank for valuable keywords compared to your competitors
How you fare against your competitors is vital since you’re competing with them for precious SERP ranking.
- How you rank now compared to how you did
Similarly, you should note how your strategy improves your keyword ranking compared to before.
Finally, it’s equally significant to separate high-value keywords from low-value ones. Both are significant, but you should have a clear view of both in isolation.
#3 Page indexing
To improve your SERP rankings, SEO intends to make your pages easier to index. Pages that search engines don’t index or de-index won’t reach your audiences.
Thus, it would be best if you used Google’s webmaster and similar analytics tools to ensure your pages are being indexed properly. If they are not, there might be some oversight you need to attend to.
#4 Time on page and bounce rates
Similarly, your visitors’ time on a page and their bounce rates can let you know if your SEO is effective. However, there are also a few key factors to consider.
- Time on a page will vary and fluctuate.
First and foremost, it’s noteworthy that not all pages will require the same amount of time from your audiences; there’s no single, objective optimal time on a page. Instead, each type of content and subject matter will produce different results.
- Bounce rates vary.
Visitors may always leave before taking further actions or “bounce”. What’s vital to track is not merely whether your bounce rates decrease but whether this reduction produces a net engagement benefit.
Finally, better keyword research, more organic search traffic, and more engagement with your content should result in more conversions. Results may not be immediate, but if your SEO is effective, you should start seeing some measurable improvement in conversions.
To conclude, the above analytics will let you know if your SEO is effective. It will take time, patience, and dedication, but such data can reliably inform your decisions.