Having a well designed website doesn’t mean that your organization has secured a visible web presence. In order to ensure that your website is highly “discoverable,” you must invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engines via “natural” or unpaid (“organic”) search results.
SEO is an ongoing process, not a one-time deal, and it requires maintenance in order to remain effective and ensure a return on your investment. Measuring the success of your program on a regular basis will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, as well as ways to address them. Therefore, it is important to run regular stats reports on your website’s traffic so that you can compare its performance each time you make any changes to your program.
Ultimately, as with any other marketing undertaking, the goal of an SEO investment is to increase conversions – whether your goal is to sell a product or service, recruit followers to a cause, or distribute news.
While checking the success of your SEO program, keep the following items in mind:
- Be certain to log out of your Google, Bing, or Yahoo! accounts when searching for your website, as otherwise your search results might be misleading. Modern engines are smart, and provide results tailored to each user. Therefore, if you are logged in, your website will always be easily found – and with a stellar ranking, too!
- If your organic search ranking has improved, feel free to pat yourself on the back, as that is a sign of a successful SEO program. Additionally, if you begin seeing search results that do not include the name of your company, but rather your website’s content, it is a solid sign of well-written content using highly relevant keywords.
- Inbound traffic is also a very important way to measure the quality of your back linking program (that is, the websites that contain links to your own). Take a close look at which links referred the most visitors to your website, and cross-reference that number with your conversion rates.
- Take a look at your conversion rates to measure improvement. If you see more visitors filling out inquiry forms, signing up for newsletters, leaving comments on your blogs, these actions also count as conversions. Don’t simply measure your sales figures.
- How high is your referral rate from search engines and social media? Is the number increasing, stagnate, or decreasing? What might account for the change?
The great thing about your SEO program is that its effectiveness is easily measurable. However, as with any statistical data, it is imperative that the information is carefully analyzed to avoid comparing apples with oranges. The only way you can make intelligent decisions about which campaigns are working and which are not is if you have a clear understanding of what your results are telling you.