Ask the SEO: “How Will I Measure SEO Success?”

Planted seed growing like organic traffic with SEO

When you make an investment, for example buying stocks, you pay attention to certain metrics to make sure that you’re money has been well spent. You probably keep an eye on the index, an ear to the ground for industry news, and check-in with your broker.

It makes sense, then, that’d you’d do the same when investing in SEO for your business.

How do you measure SEO success? When will you see results? What will they look like?

Let’s dive in…

“How will I measure success?”

This feels like a logical question. Like with stocks, you want to make sure you’ve put your money into something useful and valuable to your organization.

SEO, however, can feel a little tricky. SEO is not one of those things where you’ll see returns in the first month, and maybe not even the second. SEO is a long game strategy (think: 401k of marketing). Some sights may see an initial boost in traffic from SEO efforts. However, increases to organic traffic results take time.

What is organic traffic?

Organic traffic refers to traffic to your website from people clicking your listing in search results. This traffic has the best return on investment (ROI) over all other types of traffic. Compared to paid traffic (i.e. advertising) which tends to lead to one-and-done visits, organic traffic generally is associated with return visits. A key measure of SEO success is an increase in organic traffic.

How to increase organic traffic

Use SEO! SEO is a combination of a range of tactics from content creation to backlink building that focuses on building organic traffic to your website.

How long does it take to increase traffic?

It can take 4-6 months to start seeing results but 6-12 months to see big gains from SEO. You may see keyword rankings change sooner if done correctly. Remember that SEO is a long-game strategy. The goal is to create traffic that grows naturally, stays longer, and builds loyalty with your brand.

How do you know if it’s working?

Here at IQnection, when we begin a relationship with a client we start with a baseline to understand where you’re are ranking now.

We look at the number of keywords you rank for, evaluate your website, and look at your competitors to understand where, and what, we’re starting with. These metrics help us measure what SEO success will look like for your business. From there, our Account Managers and SEO team compile strategies to improve your website’s performance in search.

We use reporting tools, like the IQnection Dashboard, to bring in data from multiple sources (SEMrush, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and more) to track how your website improves during our SEO engagement.

What metrics should you keep an eye on?

Sometimes look at all these numbers can be overwhelming! You may not know which are the most important or why. Here are 5 metrics that you can focus on:

  1. Organic traffic
  2. Return visitors
  3. Time on Page
  4. Keyword rankings
  5. Domain Authority

Organic traffic is the most important and tells you how many of the visitors coming to your site are coming by using a search engine. Return visitors show what percentage of those visitors have been to your site before.

Why does time on page matter?

Google likes seeing websites where visitors spend a lot of time on page. They use that as an indicator that your website is providing helpful, high-quality content. A good average time on page is about 3-4 minutes for something like a blog post or longer content. The more time, and visits, a user makes the more likely they are to make a purchase or complete a form.

What to watch for in Keyword rankings:

Keyword rankings are a fun thing to watch. That being said, Google will sometimes juggle rankings as a way to test what content performs the best (i.e. gets more clicks). You’ll see some natural fluctuation.

However, if you see a big drop in rankings alert your Account Manager. But, if I had to guess, they probably already know!

We like to pay attention to things like this to make sure that your website isn’t being penalized by Google, to make sure that Google didn’t update their algorithm to your detriment, or that some other issue isn’t happening. As SEO efforts increase you’ll naturally see a rise in how your website ranks for the keywords relevant to your business.

What is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority (DA) is a metric used by Google to try and understand the value of your website. It’s on a scale of 0-100. Domain Authority is relative. For example, if your competitors rank in the 60's but your website has a DA score of 40 we know that your website where it should be.

In fact, Google will assume that your content isn’t as high quality or as authoritative as your competitors and won’t rank you as highly.

How do you improve your Domain Authority?

With SEO of course! Certain strategies, like backlink building, directly help to improve a website's Domain Authority.

There are other ways to measure success when it comes to SEO:

  • You’ll see an improvement in sales. With return visitors and more time on page you’ll find your sales increasing over time.
  • You’ll see an improvement in qualified leads. With tools like setting a special phone number on your blog, we can see how many leads you get from certain content.

Read on: The Beginners Guide to Selecting an eCommerce Platform