Search Engine Optimisation (SEO for short) refers to a wide range of strategies that’s centred around improving your website(s) ranking in search engine results for key terms related to your business. Otherwise known as keywords.
With Google now providing results for over 5.6 billion, yes, billion searches per day – this is naturally a great opportunity to increase the potential reach of your business and engage with a whole new array of customers.
If you’re wondering how to track SEO, then this is the post for you. In this post, we will be addressing some of the key things you need to look for when you are evaluating the progress of your SEO campaign(s).
We will also explain which are the most important metrics you need to monitor regarding the optimisation of your website(s).
What Is SEO And Why Is It So Important For Your Website?
Search Engine Optimisation provides a fantastic opportunity for websites of all different types to be seen by a wide range of people who ordinarily wouldn’t have been seen before.
An example of this is if you own a cake shop, as the owner – you are likely used to people entering via word of mouth by friends who have already visited your shop.
Maybe you have even posted flyers around or even dipped your toe into paid advertising. There are multiple avenues for businesses to go down in order to be seen by potential customers.
However, the most important of all is SEO. Ensuring your website utilises all of the best-practice optimisation for search engines grants you the opportunity to be seen by people through search engines such as Google organically.
For websites, SEO is the fundamental pillar in which your brand can start to be noticed by potential customers or clients.
Effectively implementing SEO across all of your website(s) will also grant you the opportunity to move into different avenues in the future – AdWords for example.
When it comes to search engine ranking for your website pages if somebody is searching “celebration cakes near me” or whatever your target keywords maybe if you are conducting effective SEO (or local SEO in this example) – then you will find that your website will start to appear for those keywords. And thus, seeing an increase in the number of visitors your website is receiving.
To put it simply, the more successful your SEO, the higher you will appear.
The greater your search engine optimisation becomes, the higher the chance becomes of obtaining more revenue or clients.
This approach is applicable to all different types of websites. Should you be an eCommerce website or a lead generation website – SEO is all about widening your reach to more people and turning the traffic into more conversions.
So how to track SEO? Let us explain more below:
How To Track SEO?
Regarding tracking SEO, the important thing to remember is that SEO is a longer process than some people may think.
For more information regarding this, take a look at our post regarding how long does SEO take to work to find out more.
While it is possible that some quick wins in SEO can sometimes provide quick wins that lead to returns conversions. In most cases, however, SEO is a long-term game that can take many months to implement properly.
With this in mind, there are different sets of metrics that you can use to track your KPIs for SEO. These are best explained by dividing them into two metrics – Leading Metrics and Lagging Metrics.
What Are Leading Metrics?
Leading metrics are the first metrics that we suggest that you pay attention to in Search Engine Optimisation. But what are leading metrics?
Leading metrics are things like impressions which refers to the number of people who lay eyes on your page. Leading metrics don’t necessarily indicate who will click through to that URL, but every time somebody can view your page in a search result – this would count as an impression.
The ranking is another crucial component of a leading metric. The ranking factor for your search engine ranking is simply the position that your site appears on Google for regarding a specific search term – “celebration cakes near me” like the example we provided above.
If you are thinking of doing search engine optimisation for a client and are unsure as to what SEO actually is, or how to present growth in particular then keyword rankings are a great place to look.
For example, perhaps you have a client who had a position of 60 when they first signed on. With effective work – you are able to eventually push up to position 30. Once you’re on the first page for that keyword – you can then start a big push up to the top of the mountain.
Impressions and rankings are great initial leading metrics to measure your progress at the start of a campaign as these will show you the impact of your immediate changes.
Even if your work doesn’t necessarily result in obtaining immediate conversions, this doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. It simply means that you’re not quite there yet.
Another example can be perhaps you have leapfrogged the rankings from eighty to twenty, and whilst you may not see growth in conversions – you can rest easy knowing that Google is liking the SEO enough to provide you with this jump in positions.
Who knows, with a jump like that – you might be at the top of Google in another two months’ time. Resulting in the conversions becoming overwhelming.
To summarise what are leading metrics, they are a great way to measure things, especially in the early phases of an SEO campaign. Leading metrics are key metrics that indicate the initial impact of your SEO efforts.
What Are Lagging Metrics?
Metrics that are more centred around client work are lagging metrics. But what are lagging metrics? Lagging metrics are things like traffic and conversions.
Often people will refer to traffic being a leading metric when in fact they are not, traffic is a lagging metric. The reason for this is when you increase the rankings of a page, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the traffic’s going to follow yet, and it’s the same for conversions.
Ultimately, it’s only when you start to break through to the front pages with a high search volume that you’re going to start to feel the benefits of SEO.
Understandably, a lot of clients tend to focus on the lagging metrics. It’s not really important to incorporate both metrics into your reporting for clients.
This is so clients are able to understand the progress that is being made to achieve the goals that have been set at the beginning of the SEO campaign.
What Are KPIs?
Deciding on which metrics are the most important for you and your clients to track from among the various leading and lagging metrics comes down to determining what are your KPIs. KPIs, also known as key performance indicators can ultimately be anything at all.
So long as it is important to the growth of your business. A simple way to put it is that a KPI is just a way to measure your success.
If you’re a marketing agency for example – KPIs can be things such as more traffic to a website, revenue or a return on your Ad spend.
There’s a plethora of KPIs you can have. Regarding SEO however, usually, the consistent end goal is to see more revenue and leads being converted.
To understand how people are progressing sooner than that, it’s also important to pay attention to KPIs like impressions and rankings.
What KPIs should You Track?
For SEO purposes, it is vital to track impressions. It is important, however, to separate brand impressions and non-brand impressions. This way you can get a better understanding of how your organic search is performing.
If 10,000 people a month search for just the brand name alone. And 6,000 search for the brand name the following month – this is not necessarily something you can impact with SEO. This is mainly about the input that’s going into the site.
Whereas with non-branded searches this is something that SEO can have a profound impact on.
For example, if you are a mechanics company and some of the keywords that you wish to rank for are “electric drill” or “power tools”, then the impressions from those non-branded searches give you a far better indication of how the SEO is performing.
Knowing the difference between your branded impressions and your non-branded impressions is really important.
Aside from impressions, rankings are obviously a major factor. Knowing where you sit in the SERPs (search engine result pages) is very important.
This is especially important when you want to increase the rankings for certain keywords. Understanding where your keywords sit in the rankings is also important.
Should you notice any fluctuations or drops to your rankings – you can always go back and make amendments to take back your original position.
This means keeping a close eye on search results and landing pages, ensuring that you’re doing everything you can to have pages that are better than your competitors’ and that is more likely to convert for you.
Non-brand impressions and rankings for your converting keywords would be the main KPIs that we suggest focusing on at the start of a campaign.
Of course, you should always have the end goal of generating revenue in mind. Even though it is great to have a clear understanding of your progress, especially in those initial months.
The most important thing for clients is to generate more revenue and leads.
It’s vital that you always have that in your mind, and not get too caught up in rankings. For instance, you might want to rank for a word that’s got a very high search volume.
If the search intent isn’t something that’s going to convert – ultimately you need to think about whether it’s worth your time and effort to go after those keywords.
It might actually be worth investing your time into something that will ultimately generate more revenue.
So, all the other metrics are important and they’re a great way to report progress to the client. The best way to get results is to always have generating revenue in mind.
Liam is the founder of Liverpool based SEO agency Quirky Digital. He has been ranking websites at the top of Google since 2014 and has a particular focus on link building in competitive niches while taking eCommerce brands to the next level.