In the era of motivational speakers and self-improvement, everyone wants to be a better version of themselves. It’s all about moving forward, not backward. Why are we even referring to this? A similar groundwork rules the optimization.
SEO is a process that aims at improving websites’ rank in a search engine. You want your page to appear in the top 10 results, therefore, you are most focused on the organic traffic. But how do you get there?
Measuring SEO performance is fundamental if you want to learn how your strategies are working and how the audience is responding to every change you implement. It will put you through the hoops but once you master the art of optimization, none of this will matter. It’ll be worth it.
The Importance of SEO
Let’s state the obvious – SEO is important. If you wish your business was receiving more revenue and clients, you probably need to start with proper optimization. There’s no other way. You either accept it or drift away on a raft to… nowhere.
SEO is the key to success. If implemented well, it will build credibility and trust among your visitors. Good optimization will also give your potential clients a better UX; they will be less likely to leave your page and increase the bounce rate. All of this impacts the buying cycle and directly translates to bigger revenue.
Understanding constantly changing SEO helps marketers learn more about the virtual environment. And this is truly beneficial for brands they work with. A top-notch strategy allows them to be a step ahead of their competitors. All you need to do is analyze, analyze, and analyze.
There is, however, one fundamental misconception that every marketer can refer to – optimization does take time and it’s hard to determine SEO results time frame. Website owners tend to be impatient and expect to see better performance overnight. That, unfortunately, is not the case with optimization. Only a long-term strategy can provide long-term results.
How Long Does It Take to See SEO Results?
The first thing one needs to know is that for a brand new website SEO is very hard. Why? Because there are hundreds of similar websites that have been implementing optimization for months or even years and they have earned that high space in SERP. For that particular reason, it can take years to start ranking high if you’re going for general highly-competitive keywords.
But there’s a different story if you decide to rank using niche phrases. So how long to see results in SEO in this case? Choosing more specific, long-tailed keywords can boost your rank in 9-12 months depending on the term. Of course, there are various factors which determine how quickly you get there such as the authority of your domain, the number of links, content quality, and your competition.
So how long does SEO takes to see results if you have a more established rank? A lot less even if you haven’t really optimized it properly. On average you will be able to see progress gradually within 3-5 months. That’s because your domain has been visible in SERP in a natural, organic way. You probably have some good content, links directing to your website, maybe you have run several paid campaigns but the right strategy has never been in place.
There are, however, things that can hold your site down such as penalties in the past. In this case, the issue needs to be taken care of immediately or you will not see any results whatsoever.
How to Measure SEO Results – Successful KPIs
There is a lot of complexity involved in optimization and newbies may find it a little offputting. Implementation is, however, only the first step. What really matters is the SEO performance check. You need to know which KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure in order to receive valuable information.
Organic Search Traffic
We mentioned earlier that the main focus of SEO should be placed on improving organic traffic. But what is it? When you search for a phrase, you will see a list of results called SERP (Search Engine Results Page). At the top Google usually displays 3-4 ads – these have been paid for, therefore, they’re not organic. You want your website to appear at the top of non-sponsored links. Those will generate valuable traffic and increase conversion.
In order to measure organic search traffic, you can open Google Analytics, find Aquisition → All Traffic → Channels → Organic Search. You will be presented with an insightful report full of useful statistics. Focus on a few information such as which landing pages and keywords generate the most traffic, which pages have a high bounce rate, and which search engines are used most often. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to better understand what changes to implement.
Going for the right terms is a challenge itself. Checking your SEO results report based on keywords is another story. There are many factors that influence them such as personalization or even inconspicuous change of device from which visitors access your page.
There are various tools available online that allow you to check website performance SEO in terms of keywords. For example, you can use free Keyword Rank Checker. You only need to search for a term, enter your domain, select a search engine, device and location and click GO. Alternatively, you can use paid tools such as Ahrefs, and get more detailed insights into the performance of your keywords.
Conversion happens when a person visiting your websites makes a purchase and becomes a client. Normally the conversion of e-commerce businesses varies between 2-4%. This means that on average 2-4 people out of 100 buy your product. Companies are striving for higher sales but they’re not sure how to check SEO performance based on a conversion from organic traffic.
Again, you can use Google Analytics to measure it. Select Admin → View → Goals → New Goal. Give it a name and choose “Destination” in the “ Type” list. Under “Goal Details” section enter the URL you want your customers to land on and click “Save”. Track the performance in “Goal Completions” to see if your website is attractive enough to convince visitors to make a purchase.
Inbound links can be highly effective in terms of bringing more traffic to your website. Any results based SEO company will tell you, however, that the quality of backlinks has to be quite high. This simply indicates the content on your website has been found useful enough that high authority domains want to direct their visitors to your URL. In other words, Google sees it as a sign and gives you priority in SERP.
Traditionally, you can measure it with Google Analytics. Simply find Aquisition → All Traffic → Referrals. Track it constantly, it’s crucial to make sure you’re not getting backlinks from spammy, low-quality domains. See how many backlinks you’re getting each week. In addition, compare it with your competition to know whether you should increase your SEO efforts or not.
How to Measure SEO Performance – Important Metrics
SEO is an ongoing process that requires regular monitoring. Even before you see clear results of your efforts, it’s possible to measure the campaign’s success. To make sure you are moving in the right direction, it’s important to check SEO metrics. They can reflect SEO success and help with the campaign’s analysis.
Whether you are just starting with an SEO strategy or need to tweak your digital marketing campaign, these metrics can help streamline your efforts.
1. Keywords Your Rank For
Keyword rankings can give you valuable information about the success of your SEO efforts. If your website doesn’t rank high for the target keywords, it’s time to adjust your SEO strategy toward less competitive keywords.
This information can also help you understand if your campaign is yielding results. With time, you should be able to see improvements in keyword rankings. If it remains the same, your site isn’t gaining sufficient authority for the search engine algorithms to rank it.
Numerous tools exist to help you track keyword rankings. By monitoring them regularly, you can get a clear idea of your SEO performance. Good keyword rankings aren’t as important as the positive change in rankings over time.
2. Backlinks Number & Quality
Backlinks are one of the top ranking factors for your site. By focusing on their quality and quantity, you are bound to improve your SEO performance. Don’t expect to get high-quality backlinks immediately. Acquiring them takes time.
If you’ve been implementing your SEO tactics for a while and haven’t seen any improvements in the backlink department, you need to adjust your approach.
The key to acquiring backlinks is a solid content strategy. By showing your expertise in a certain niche, you are inviting other websites to link to your site. Other ways to acquire backlinks are:
· Asking for them
· Writing guest posts
· Giving testimonials
· Listing your site on directories
If the number of backlinks is growing, you are on the right track. You may want to expand the content that brings you the most backlinks and turn it into a topic cluster.
By tracking your backlinks, you can identify new opportunities for link building and learn more about your target audience.
The quality of backlinks is just as important as their quantity. Make sure to check the domain authority of root domains of sites backlinks are coming from.
3. Levels of Organic Traffic
Since the key goal of any SEO campaign is to increase organic traffic, measuring it can help you see if your efforts are worthwhile. Just as with rankings, the organic search traffic levels should show a positive trend.
Your site’s organic search traffic is easy to measure by using Google Analytics. It generates comprehensive reports that show the organic search traffic figures for the previous month. You can see the total number in sessions and how it changes over the course of the last 30 days.
You can adjust the period when monitoring the traffic and gain a better understanding of your SEO success rates.
4. Bounce Rate
While the bounce rate isn’t a ranking factor, it can affect the way the search engine views your site. This metric is somewhat controversial because it only looks at how many pages visitors engage with on the site without considering the time they spend there.
If the visitor comes to the landing page, stays there for a while, and then leaves, Google thinks that they bounced. Only if the user visits another page before leaving, their actions aren’t viewed as a bounce.
The bounce rate depends on the type of content you share as well as your niche. For example, if you are optimizing for the featured snippet with a Q&A section, don’t expect many visitors to spend too much time on your site. They’ll see information in the search results, come to the site, and leave immediately.
The bounce rate can also depend on your niche. For example, bounce rates are usually higher for B2B businesses than they are for B2C companies. Average bounce rates also differ depending on the industries.
You can check the bounce rate in your Google Analytics report. It can show if you need to beef up your content and paid search efforts. Poorly designed paid ads can generate a lot of useless traffic to your site and affect your conversion rate.
5. Mobile Traffic
Organic traffic from mobile sources is highly important when measuring SEO success. A rise in such traffic shows that Google is happy with your work.
Mobile traffic also demonstrates how well you optimize your website for mobile users. By 2025, more than 70% of people are going to access the internet solely through mobile devices. That’s why optimizing your site for mobile use should be on top of the list.
If while you measure SEO results, you notice that there isn’t a mobile traffic increase over time, take another look at your site’s structure. Does it load fast enough? Is your content optimized for keywords that drive mobile users to your site? Do you spend enough time on social media marketing?
Google Analytics helps you check your mobile traffic information and track changes over time. By taking full advantage of the search console offered by Google, you can get vital information about the success of your site and SEO campaign
6. Domain Authority
When you measure SEO results, domain authority is an important metric that tells everyone, including Google, how authoritative your site is. The more authority your site has, the likelier you are to get backlinks. Since link building is the pillar of SEO, working on authority is a big part of your digital marketing efforts.
Your domain authority doesn’t just depend on your content quality. It also depends on the industry you are in. For example, higher education sites usually have a higher domain authority than wellness websites.
7. Dwell Time
Dwell time is one of the most important SEO metrics. It helps you understand the quality of your organic traffic. The metric indicates how much time the visitor spends on your site after coming to it through one of the search engines.
Dwell time can impact the conversion rate and affect your further SEO efforts. While Google doesn’t directly say that the time spent on site affects the rankings, SEO experts still focus on improving it. The dwell time to strive for is between two and four minutes.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console don’t have the “dwell time” report. However, you can check the average session duration in Google Analytics, which reflects the dwell time rather accurately.
8. Returning Visitors
When you measure SEO results, it’s important to understand how well your efforts lead to conversions. The influx of traffic doesn’t always mean you are doing a good job.
Are visitors coming back to your website? If they are, you have more shots at conversion. The number of returning visitors indicates the quality of your organic traffic. Having a high number of such users shows to Google that you have a high-quality website and helps with rankings.
You can learn the number of returning visitors on Google Search console. It shows the ratio of direct traffic to other traffic types. While there isn’t a “perfect” ratio, anything less than 25% warrants your attention. Most likely, it means that the quality of your content suffers. However, it could also point to issues with your paid search ad campaign.
How to Measure SEO Performance with Google Analytics
While a variety of tools exist to help you track organic traffic and other SEO metrics. Regardless of how many you use, Google Analytics remains a must-have for all SEO experts. Learning how to use Google Analytics to track your progress can help you achieve top-notch optimization results.
You can take advantage of the data collected by the tool to optimize your site and streamline your SEO efforts.
After all, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.