Measuring success and using tools to record progress
It’s important to measure and record SEO progress on your site so you know how well you’re doing. Learn how in Day 11
If you’ve been following the 10 lessons so far you should have completed some keyword research, added keywords onto the page, reworked the meta tags, gained an idea of some of the online SEO tools out there and considered how much effort you need to put into social media to help with SEO.
Record how the SEO campaign is going
All these tasks you’ve completed can be counted as the basic building blocks of SEO, but there is one important topic we haven’t covered so far, and that is to review progress and record how things are going.
Never have the time
Reviewing progress is one important topic that can be overlooked when optimising a website, often because people don’t have the time or never considered it important enough in the first place. In my view it is actually a vitally important part of website optimisation because when you make some effort to measure progress, you’ll have a much better idea of how well you’re doing.
What are the best yardsticks to measure?
The problem is it can be very difficult to know which are the best yardsticks to use when measuring SEO progress as some of the more obvious ones such as monitoring keyword positions, can be inaccurate and changeable (although still being a useful guide) and simply focusing on say any increase in business could mean you miss benefits from increased branding or awareness.
A number of indicators can be used to measure progress
The truth is there are a number of indicators you can use to measure progress, ranging from solid results pulled from analytics data, keyword tools and softer indicators such as more inbound calls coming in or even more positive feedback from the site visitors (this is because SEO when done well can result in a better user experience).
Some simple steps you can follow
In my view there are no hard and fast rules on what is best as everyone’s needs are different, as is the way each website is built and will work. But there are some simple steps you can follow that enable you to gain a good understanding on how things are improving. Below I’m going to take you through the steps and outline the best way to record results.
Step 1 Using keyword tools or analytics
This is the most obvious way to monitor progress. Basically you use a keyword position tool or analytics tools such as Google Analytics, to research your website’s pages positions in the search engines (ideally before your SEO campaign even starts) and then run the same checks every month or so, noting down every time there is any changes in position.
Fairly easy to interpret
This is obviously an easy result to interpret. If the site has gone up, that’s good, if it’s stayed the same or gone down that is not so good. But there are a few things you need to bear in mind when assessing the results.
The first of these is to be aware that even if the site does move up in the results it doesn’t always mean you’ll get more sales or even more traffic.
Other factors at play as well
There are a number of other factors at play here such as the click through rate from the search results page, or if say your site is running slower than it should because of an overloaded server or even technical issues with the pages; all of these factors can have a negative effect on the search engines position.
Tools I’ve found useful
There are a number of tools that I’ve found can give useful information regarding keyword position:
Small SEO Tools Keyword Position Tool
Small SEO Tools offer a range of tools one of which you can use to check the keyword positions. It’s also very easy to use. You just enter your domain, the keywords and then click “Check position”. Try the Keyword Position Tool now. You can also learn more about using it in my 5 Step DIY SEO Audit.
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools has the benefit that it can show the actual positions of you website page results in the search engines. You just need to have Webmaster Tools authorised for your website and then look at the search queries report.
My SEO Guide on Using Google Webmaster Tools to find your website in Google, offers detailed information on completing this.