How to tell if SEO is working is a frequently asked question, all the more so because SEO results do not appear immediately. When done correctly, search engine optimization (SEO) is a long-term investment that pays dividends, and who doesn’t like getting more than they invested? SEO, on the other hand, takes time to produce results.
It truly depends on the level of competition for your keywords and the overall market. A realistic time frame for SEO results is typically three to six months; however, if you’re in a highly competitive market, it could take up to a year. Numerous businesses take a long-term view of SEO because they understand the value and potential for a high return on investment. When SEO is done correctly, you can anticipate a steady increase in traffic, leads, and sales.
If you’ve been doing SEO for a month or several months and aren’t yet appearing on the first page for your keywords, don’t panic; this does not mean your SEO is ineffective. To determine whether your SEO strategy is effective, you must track a few key SEO performance metrics.
1. Initial impressions
The number of times your website appears in search results without being clicked on is referred to as the number of impressions. Impressions are a good place to start because, in most cases, when you begin optimising for keywords, you will not immediately rank on the first page. You’re more than likely to begin on lower pages, which means that while you’ll appear in search results, you’re less likely to be clicked on. The critical point is that you have begun to rank for those keywords, at which point you can intensify your efforts to reach the first page.
You can even compare periods to determine if there has been an increase. If your organic search impressions increase, this is a very good indicator that your SEO is working.
2. Organic Search Traffic
Let’s face it, the ultimate goal of SEO is not rankings. Your ultimate objective should be to boost traffic and sales. As a result, an increase in organic traffic is an excellent indicator of how well your SEO is performing. It is critical to look at organic traffic data specifically, rather than overall traffic, due to the possibility that activities other than SEO are affecting your results. On the other hand, a decline in organic traffic can be a sign that your SEO is underperforming.
When analysing traffic, it’s critical to compare it to the same period last year in order to accurately assess your SEO success.
3. Page Count
The number of pages for which you rank is another excellent indicator of your SEO performance. An increase in the number of pages for which you rank indicates that your SEO strategy is working; a decrease in the number of pages for which you rank indicates that you have a problem, which could be due to penalties or indexing issues.
If you have an indexing issue, it means that some of the pages you’ve optimised aren’t being listed in search engines.
This could be due to search engines’ inability to effectively crawl your website. The more pages you optimise, the more pages you should rank for, even if each page receives only one click.
Additionally, you can monitor the number of pages for which you are ranking in Google Search Console.
As with impressions, select pages to view all pages that are ranking for SEO.
Link building is just as critical as on-page optimization. It is critical to have a sufficient number of high-quality backlinks (links from other websites to your website). Additionally, this is a key performance indicator. It’s natural that if you’re doing good SEO, you’ll see an increase in the number of backlinks to your website. If you outsource your SEO, this is another metric to monitor to ensure that they are doing everything possible to improve your rankings and SEO results.
Monitor your backlinks to determine if there has been an increase or decrease in the number of links you have or the number of root domains from which those links originate.
It’s also critical to keep an eye on the quality of those links. Low-quality links are just as bad as no links at all, and they may cause you harm. Numerous tools, such as Majestic SEO and AHREFS, assist you in tracking your website’s backlinks and also provide a quality score for your links.
Again, it’s critical to establish baselines for these metrics at the start of your SEO project in order to monitor your progress.
5. Links to our website from other websites
Your link-building strategy is critical to SEO. If you adhere to link-building best practises and actively seek links from reputable, relevant websites, you should naturally see referral website traffic from those sites as well.
6. Authority of the domain and individual pages
The domain authority and page authority of your website are early indicators of how well it compares to your competitors. You’ll receive a score generated by Moz, an SEO software company that uses a logarithmic scale to rank the strength of your website’s overall domain and individual web pages. The higher your site’s authority score, the more authoritative it is.
Your backlink profile is a significant factor in determining your domain and page authority. As a result, if you conduct effective on-page and off-page SEO, your domain authority will almost certainly increase as well.
7. Mentions of Brands
Effective SEO should result in an increase in your business’s visibility and exposure. As you increase your visibility, you increase brand awareness, which should result in an increase in the number of online searches for your company’s name as well as mentions as users conduct additional research on your company.
At the heart of why we invest in SEO are the desired outcomes: increased traffic, leads, and revenue. Conversions – the percentage of visitors who take the desired action after arriving on your website – are the ultimate performance indicators. Are you generating additional leads? Is the number of phone calls increasing? Is your email contact list increasing in size?
Are you noticing an increase in ecommerce website sales? These metrics will not only indicate whether or not your SEO is effective, but will also assist you in calculating your return on investment.
I’m placing ranking last because most businesses place an excessive amount of emphasis on rankings, when the ultimate goal should be to increase traffic, leads, and sales. Prior to launching an SEO campaign, it’s critical to check your current rankings for the keywords you wish to target. This will enable you to monitor your SEO results and performance in the future by determining whether your rankings are increasing or decreasing or simply remaining stable on a weekly or monthly basis.
Additionally, it’s critical to monitor your ranking in order to determine whether you’re pursuing the appropriate keywords. If you’re still not ranking for the keywords you’re targeting after a 30- or 60-day period, it may be a sign that you’re targeting extremely competitive keywords and you need to decide whether it makes sense to continue focusing on those keywords. It’s significantly easier to rank for keywords that are already on the first page.
There are numerous tools available for determining rankings.
Cuterank.net is what I use. You can use it for free if you’re monitoring only one website at a time, and I’ve found it to be fairly accurate.
While monitoring your rankings, the tool will also indicate whether your keywords are rising (+) or falling (–) in the rankings.
To summarise, I believe a wise man once stated that you cannot improve something you do not measure.
As a result, tracking your SEO success is critical for optimising performance.
I would even argue that it is a critical factor in determining whether a site makes it to the first page or not.
While SEO is time-consuming, it is also well worth the effort.
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