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In today’s global marketplace, you can enjoy access to a greater audience than ever before. Unfortunately, you’ll also face the fiercest competition in the history of commerce. For that reason, having a digital presence is not enough – you’ll need to actively drive traffic to your site. SEO is one of the primary tools needed to achieve that.
Aware of this fact, many business owners funnel significant time, money and resources into their SEO efforts, so it’s only logical that you want to make sure your investment receives its return. Tracking and monitoring your SEO performance is the best method of doing so, as well as being a great way of identifying areas in which your strategy can improve.
Unfortunately, too many companies are unaware of the importance of following up on their original efforts to make sure their SEO plan stays on track. If that sounds familiar, this article will outline exactly how to measure SEO performance – and what to do with that information to continually improve, evolve and expand.
What is SEO performance?
First things first – it’s imperative you have a firm grasp of the terminology before you can make any headway in progressing your website’s online performance. As a term, SEO performance simply refers to how well your SEO strategies are doing in terms of where your website appears in search engine results pages (SERPs), how many people they drive to your site and what actions they take once there.
Monitoring this performance is key to understanding how to track SEO progress, which will show you where your marketing efforts are paying off – and where they could use work. For example, if your site consistently ranks highly in Google searches and you receive a decent amount of organic traffic as a result, your keyword placement and backlink growth is probably doing well. However, if your site suffers from a high bounce rate and poor conversion rates, you may need to optimise your content, tweak your site layout and work on closing out the sale.
How can I monitor my site’s SEO performance?
Depending on the industry you operate in and the specific products or services you provide, there may be a number of different metrics you should keep tabs on when figuring out how to track SEO performance. However, the same key performance indicators (KPIs) continually crop up across sectors and companies. These include:
- Organic traffic. Studies have shown that organic traffic is the single biggest contributor to increased conversion rates – and, as a result, fatter profit margins. Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that you get a handle on how much organic traffic your SEO techniques are generating. If you don’t observe an upward trend in organic traffic, your strategy may need rethinking.
- Keyword rankings. Ensuring your site ranks on the first page of SERPs is essential to accessing your target audience, since people click through to the second page relatively rarely. Identifying the right keywords for your industry, as well as positioning them strategically throughout your content in a natural manner, is key to ranking highly.
- Backlink quantity and quality. Did you know that two-thirds of websites today do not have any backlinks leading to them? As a strong driver of organic traffic, prioritising backlink growth can help you steal a march on the competition. However, it’s not just the quantity of backlinks that matters – you’ll also need to guarantee they come from respected domains to really help.
- Bounce rate. You can perfect all three of the above KPIs and witness a steady influx of traffic to your site. But if visitors are clicking away from your domain or closing the browser after landing on it without performing another action, all of your efforts have been in vain. This likely indicates an issue with your content, site layout or some other aspect of your user experience.
- Similar to bounce rate, the conversions you achieve on your site will tell you more about its performance than your offsite SEO strategies. If you’re having trouble converting leads into customers, it may be that you need to reposition your calls-to-action (CTAs), rethink your pricing structure or tweak your sales funnel in some other way.
How can I monitor those KPIs?
Now that you’re aware of the various metrics that can best inform you about your site’s SEO performance, you’ll need to understand how you can go about measuring them. Fortunately, there is a range of tools, apps and platforms geared towards helping you do exactly that, many of which are available free of charge.
Google Analytics and Google Keyword Planner, for example, are both in-depth methods of understanding how effectively your digital strategies are achieving their goals and come without a subscription service. Of course, you may find that you require even more comprehensive insights, in which you can take advantage of a raft of paid analytical suites, such as those provided by Ahrefs, Moz Pro and SEMRush.
However, you’ll also need to invest significant amounts of time and energy into these tools. For many new to the realm of SEO, that learning curve can be quite steep and incur a far greater outlay of hours than they had previously envisaged. As such, it often makes sense to outsource the monitoring of a third-party company who specialise in SEO performance assessment.