Search engine optimization is one of those marketing efforts that seems to just be consistently surrounded by confusion by many different parties. Clients seem to have a real hard time understanding just how to gauge the effectiveness of SEO for their business. Right out of the gate SEO was pigeon holed into something technical and clients often times don’t understand that there is a big marketing factor in SEO. Yes there are technical aspects to it but it has evolved over the years into more of a marketing vehicle. It is important to stress that it is a marketing vehicle early in the sales process to avoid as much confusion as possible later on in the campaign. Still, how does a client gauge if it is working? Here are a few outside the box ways to analyze the effectiveness of your optimization efforts.
I urge every client to install some sort of analytics software onto their website. They need to see the numbers when it comes to SEO. We like Google analytics because it works well and it is free but you can use any that you are comfortable with. Numbers don’t lie. Showing a client various traffic reports is a good place to start. What where their traffic numbers prior to starting with you? What are they after? Are there an abundance of new referring websites delivering new traffic? Look at the bounce rate, was it 80% before and not it is 40%? Don’t these numbers count for some sort of success? If you are doing SEO all these numbers should eventually increase. If they don’t you might want to question your methods.
Conversions: It is important that clients don’t only look at sales to equate the success of an SEO campaign. SEO will only work in this manner if there is a high demand for a product. Right about now there is not much demand for anything. Has the email newsletter list grown? Customers might not pull out their credit card when they get to a site but if they submit their email information it means that they just might want to buy something in the future.
I am a firm believer that rankings alone don’t measure success but they are important. There are many different ways to really measure rankings and it is one way to show how well and SEO campaign is working. Rankings take time to grow especially in competitive spaces. If a website sees movement for competitive keywords that is a very good thing, an even if the site moves just a few spaces in the search engine results.
With trust being a large factor in the eyes of not just people but search engines also branding is important for the overall success measuring of a campaign. Have your SEO efforts allowed a website to become visible on many other websites? Branding is playing a very important role in marketing any business. Optimization done the right way could really proactively brand a business online with the right light.