Although search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most valuable types of marketing, many businesses don’t maintain their momentum because they need to learn how to check if their strategy is working. Organic SEO can take a while to build traffic, so many brands get frustrated and try various tactics instead of staying the course and trusting in the process.
Fortunately, there are many ways to measure SEO success, even if you have a lean marketing budget. To that end, let’s discuss five ways to keep track of your SEO and see how well it works for your bottom line.
Pay Attention to Which Traffic Stems from Organic Search Results
First and foremost, you need to download and set up an account with Google Analytics. This free tool will give you tons of valuable insight that you can use to dictate what your next move is with SEO and other marketing methods. In fact, Google Analytics is the most useful SEO tool in your arsenal, and it’s free to use!
A big reason why GA is so valuable is that it mines data directly from Google. Since Google is the largest search engine in the world, it makes sense to leverage this information for your own ends. Navigating your Analytics account can be complicated, so you should use a marketing agency like BizIQ.
We’ll discuss a few metrics to pay attention to within Google Analytics, but one of the most critical elements is to look at your organic search traffic. This number will tell you whether your efforts are getting any results so that you can focus on the best tactics. Also, you can look at traffic from other sources like pay-per-click (PPC) ads, social media, and more.
Here’s how to filter organic search results through Google Analytics:
On your account dashboard, go to Acquisition — All Traffic — Channels — Channel Grouping Report.
This report gives you a breakdown of all the traffic your site is getting and from which source. Better yet, each channel is ranked by the number of visitors, meaning you can get a quick overview of where most of your visitors originate. The channels listed in this report include:
- Direct Traffic – This happens when someone either types your URL into a search bar or uses a bookmark to access your page. Having tons of direct traffic means you have decent brand recognition and a loyal following. Ideally, you can increase your direct traffic alongside organic search, illustrating that you retain customers over the long term.
- Referral Traffic – This traffic came from a direct link, such as on a listing site or blog post. As with all types of site traffic, you can get detailed reports showing where most of your referrals originate. This way, you can tell if your marketing outreach (i.e., guest blog posting) is doing well or if you need to improve your relationships with other sites.
- Paid Search Traffic – It’s obvious that paid search traffic came from a PPC ad. You can also double-check to verify that your traffic numbers here are identical to those on your Google Ads dashboard. If there’s a significant discrepancy, you need to figure out why. Also, you can determine which ads generate the most traffic and focus more attention and resources on them.
- Social Traffic – You can see how many visitors come from various social sites. All social platforms are grouped in the Channel Grouping Report, but you can see breakdowns to verify which social media platform brings the most leads. If certain platforms aren’t delivering the right numbers, you either change your tactics or drop your account.
- Email Traffic – Ideally, you should have a robust list of email subscribers growing daily. Email marketing has a substantial ROI and allows you to target customers more directly than other forms of advertising. Google can tell when someone visited your site or landing page from an email link, showing you the effectiveness of your messages. You should see a spike after sending a new email to your subscriber list – if not, you’ll have to change your language accordingly.
Finally, you can see your organic traffic, which tells you how many visitors are coming from organic searches for related keywords. The higher this number, the more your SEO strategy is working. Ideally, this traffic should increase incrementally as you refine your organic SEO approach. It may sometimes level off or plateau, but it shouldn’t go down. If it decreases, you need to identify the problem and verify your ranking for those keywords.
Clicking on the Organic Traffic report will give you a more detailed breakdown of the number, including the percentage of new users, your bounce rate, time spent on the site, and the average number of pages visited. All of these details can help you refine and enhance your SEO strategy. That said, keep in mind that changes can take a while to affect your numbers, so don’t get hyper-fixated on minor changes that fluctuate daily. Instead, look at long-term trends and whether they’re going up or down in your favor.
Look at Your Conversion Rate
Your site’s conversion rate refers to the number of new visitors (i.e., leads) converted into customers. Calculating this rate can be tricky because it often takes multiple touchpoints to ensure full conversion. For example, it’s not typical for a user to visit your site once and buy something immediately. Instead, they’ll likely bookmark the page and return later (sometimes on multiple occasions) before making a final decision.
That said, you can calculate your conversion rate via Google Analytics if you tell the program what you want your visitors to do to convert (i.e., your calls to action). By segmenting these CTAs, you can also look at which ones convert the most and adjust your strategy accordingly. For example, if most leads convert after calling a sales representative, then you want to direct as many people to call as possible.
Some examples of CTAs that can improve your conversion rate include:
- Subscribe to an Email List – Email marketing is excellent because it allows you to be more proactive with your touchpoints to get a lead to convert. For example, you can send discounts or bonuses to your target leads and entice them to purchase something ASAP. So, the more subscribers you get, the more chances you have to convert them.
- Watch a Video – Video content is king on the internet, and most people are okay with watching a short clip, even if it’s a sales pitch. That said, compelling video content will convert better than a traditional “ad,” so you want to get creative with your marketing materials. These videos can help close a sale on a particular product or give the viewer more information about your brand and what you’re offering.
- Download a Product – E-books are far more common today than in years past because it’s easy for visitors to download a digital document and read it later at their leisure. Usually, digital products like e-books focus more on establishing your brand as an authority within your industry. From there, leads are more likely to come back for additional information and insight, and then they may also buy something since they trust your brand.
- Purchase a Product – In many cases, it doesn’t hurt to promote an individual product via a CTA. In this example, the goal is to illustrate why your product can help the lead solve a problem or achieve a goal. If you can increase this conversion rate, you’ll look good as you increase your overall site traffic via SEO.
As your conversion rates increase, those numbers reflect how well your organic optimization tactics work. While it’s harder to tell whether new sales or conversions are happening solely because of organic traffic, you can often link a rise in visitors with a better conversion rate.
Also, by dialing your SEO strategy in as much as possible, you can appeal to new visitors by addressing their search queries and intent. For example, if someone is looking to buy a toaster, don’t ask them to subscribe to your small appliance newsletter. Instead, sell them a toaster, then ask them to subscribe to your newsletter.
Put Dollar Values on Your Organic Search Traffic
As with your overall conversion rate, verifying how much you’re saving by investing in organic SEO can be complicated and tricky. However, once you know and practice the steps, you’ll be able to look at these prices faster and more efficiently every time. Here’s how to put a dollar amount on your organic SEO strategy:
- First, you’ll need a Google Ads account to verify how much you would spend if you run paid ads on your organic keywords.
- Next, type a primary keyword into the UberSuggest tool and click “keyword ideas.”
- UberSuggest will crunch the numbers and give you suggestions for related keywords and how much businesses are spending on them with paid search ads. The report will list the “cost per click,” making it much easier for you.
- Match the suggested keywords with the ones you’re using in an organic SEO strategy, and multiply the cost per click by the number of visitors you get for each keyword.
- For example, let’s say you’re trying to rank for the keyword “SEO marketing,” and the average cost per click for that keyword is $5. Then, you determine that you get 1,000 visitors per month from that keyword via organic search results.
In this case, you’re saving $5,000 by utilizing organic search tactics instead of paid ads. When you break down your site traffic this way, it’s easy to see the value of organic SEO strategies. Plus, the more visitors you get naturally, the more you save overall, even if you’re running paid ads for other keywords.
Check Your Site’s Domain Authority
The SEO giant Moz has a free tool that allows you to check your site’s domain authority (DA). This ranking is from 0 to 100, and the higher the number, the better your site ranks in search results overall.
A high domain authority rating means you’re more likely to get backlinks because other sites view your brand as a major player in your industry. It also means search engines like Google are more likely to rank your pages higher because it sees how valuable you are in the eyes of your site visitors.
Realistically, you shouldn’t check your domain authority all the time, but it helps to look at it every few months or so. Once you make changes or update your website, it can take weeks for the adjustments to affect your ranking, so it’s imperative not to jump the gun, particularly if you need to figure out how to replicate (or prevent) the same results in the future.
Pay Attention to Your Site’s “Stickiness”
A sticky website means visitors take longer to bounce off to another site. Since you want your traffic to stay a while and potentially purchase products, you need to optimize your site to be as “sticky” as possible. But what does that term mean exactly? Here are some metrics to verify it:
- Time on Page – The longer a visitor spends on different pages of your website, the more likely they’ll come back or convert immediately.
- Number of Pages Visited – Users may bounce around within your site to see what else you have to offer. A healthy internal link network makes it easy for an individual to go from one page to the next while maintaining momentum and understanding.
- Number of Repeat Visits – As new users return to your site, they’re far more likely to convert into customers. So, you can see how many repeat visits you’re getting and compare them to the number of new users.
But what does stickiness have to do with SEO? If you pay attention to your organic search traffic and your average stickiness, you can determine whether you’re addressing user intent. For example, if you have high bounce rates on different pages, you’re offering something people don’t want or need. If a user stays on your site, chances are you’ve appealed to their intent when they were searching.
Get Better SEO Results with BizIQ
As you can see, managing your SEO strategy is lengthy and complicated. While you could navigate through these methods yourself, it’s often much better to outsource those duties to a professional agency. BizIQ is highly affordable, and we can handle all the logistics. We also provide comprehensive reports so you can verify how well our tactics are moving the needle for your bottom line.