If you are doing your own search engine optimization or even you have have hired an SEO firm, then you’ll want to make sure that you measure certain data to determine whether or not your SEO efforts are paying off. There are all sorts of data that you can measure, but I’ve narrowed down the list to the ones that absolutely are essential data sets for every business owner or marketer to measure.
- Sales, Leads aka Conversions – At the end of the day all of your online and offline marketing efforts come down to increasing and generating sales for your business. Often many times people tend to loose sight of this key aspect and how truly important it is. The only difference is that search engine optimization is a long term and on going. Have patience and measure your sales and conversion increase over time.
- Organic Website Visitors – Tied directly into increasing conversions, over time the key measurable area is how many visitors is your website receiving as a result of your SEO efforts. This means out of all of the keyword phrases that you targeted on your website how many organic (from the 3 major search engines) visitors is your website getting. A simple way to break down the return on investment for this is to add up your monthly SEO service fee or your time (if doing your SEO on your own) and divide the into the money spent. Along with sales this is a good way to gauge how well things are going. I often explain to my SEO clients that if you are spending $5 on average per click for your PPC advertising (although not directly apples to apples with SEO visitors) but if you organic visitors on average cost $.25 then things are looking pretty good!
- Keyword Rankings – By keyword rankings I mean the actual search engine rankings of each page on your site for each keyword that is important to that page. If you have a 10-page website and each page has a primary and a secondary keyword that it has been optimized for, that’s 20 keyword rankings you should concern yourself with. Over the past several years keyword positioning has started to diminish as a key goal (I am so glad!). With universal search, social search and the keyword rankings that fluctuate sometimes daily based on datacenter and visitor location, this is still an important measurement, but 3rd on my list.
- Indexed Web Pages – How many pages you have indexed at each search engine is important. If your website has 100 pages published and you have 90 pages indexed at Google, 94 pages indexed at Yahoo!, 52 at Bing, and 87 at Ask, you’ve got a red flag. That 52 pages at Bing needs to be looked at more critically. Why only 52? Why isn’t Bing indexing more pages? Keep an eye on this metric and make sure that your pages are getting indexed.
- Inbound Links – Finally, the number of relevant inbound links your site has, and each page has, point to it. Obviously, link building is important so make sure your links are getting counted by Google webmaster tools. Also, be sure to build your links the right ways, through highly relevant incoming links from many different sources, over time.