How to Measure SEO Results
26th February 2021
You’ve done the hard work. You’ve written content, acquired links, optimised your images, you name it. You’ve tried every SEO trick in the book. But how do you measure your SEO results?
Set your Targets
Before you start measuring your SEO results, you need to know what you’re looking for. Ensure the goals you set are measurable, specific and realistic. Achieving position one for all of your target terms in 1 month just isn’t going to happen, as delightful as that would be.
Do you want to achieve a certain position for a set of keyword terms? Do you want a certain amount of traffic to land on a page? Do you want a certain amount of enquiries? Whatever your goals are, set and follow them. Having a path will make it easier to see how SEO has impacted your results.
How To Track Organic Traffic
One of the biggest ways to measure your SEO results is through organic traffic. It is our number one metric. Organic traffic is exactly the audience that SEO targets, those users reaching your website through search result listings. Ultimately, the main goal of SEO is to get more traffic from search engines. Everything else is a bonus.
Google Analytics is the most efficient way to measure your website traffic. To take a look, login and navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. There you will find Organic traffic listed as one of your traffic channels. Or if you are using the brand spanking new Google Analytics 4, head over to Acquisition > Overview. (Side note, we recommend using both Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 to get the most out of your data).
Once you have found your organic traffic, we recommend looking at a time period of one month as a minimum. This will allow you to see how your traffic has moved over a period of time and whether there have been any significant peaks or troughs.
To get an even better idea of how your traffic is performing, compare it. We like to look at both a month on month comparison and a year on year comparison. This allows you to see what improvements have been made both short term and long term. To access a different time period, click on the date in the top right-hand corner, click ‘compare to’ and set your dates. Has your traffic improved or dropped? What areas need improvement?
How To Track The Bounce Rate
Whilst you’re deep into your website traffic in Google Analytics, take a look at your bounce rate beside it too. Your bounce rate showcases the percentage of users who visit your site but leave pretty quickly without doing anything. If your bounce rate is particularly high on certain pages, something might need fixing. We recommend a bounce rate of below 60% throughout your website. If it is any higher, take a further look and see if any changes need to be made.
Of course, take the bounce rate with a pinch of salt. For example, if you are a restaurant, users might have ‘bounced’ because they were simply visiting your website to quickly find a menu or address, then visit you in person. Analyse your results with the context in mind. Usually, it will be pretty clear if the bounce rate is natural or if something fishy is going on.
Some quick ways to reduce or manage your bounce rate include:
- Create engaging call to actions
- Avoid invasive pop-ups
- Optimise your website speed
- Use engaging media such as imagery or videos
- Ensure your website content format is readable
Tracking Clicks and Impressions
Another useful way to measure your website SEO performance is before users even get to your website, in the search engines. Impressions of your website indicate how many times users have seen your website listed in their search results. Clicks, as you might guess, indicate how many times users click through to your website following their impression. The higher the click-through rate, the better.
To have a look at your click-through rate, head on over to Google Search Console. Navigate to Performance > Clicks and Impressions. Analyse your results over different time periods and gain insight into how your website performs.
Generally, your clicks and impressions will correlate with the success of your keyword rankings and organic traffic. To improve your chances, make sure your page titles and meta descriptions are engaging. This will catch user attention in search engines and make them want to know more.
Ah, the all-important keyword rankings. For us, this is the exciting bit! Keyword rankings are where you can further see if all of your hard SEO work has paid off. That being said, organic traffic is still the ultimate teller of your SEO success. A keyword is a term that involves anything searched on a search engine, not just a single word by itself. A word or phrase is considered a keyword if it produces a results page on a search engine.
There are many tools out there that you can use to discover your keyword rankings. A simple way to see what you are ranking for is to search Google yourself, but this can sometimes be subjective depending on your location, IP address and previous searches. Here are a few keyword ranking tools that you can use to collectively measure your results:
Keyword rankings should be measured alongside organic traffic. For example, if your organic traffic has seen a sudden spike, check your keyword rankings. You will likely find that you are now ranking for a popular keyword term that is bringing through a lot of traffic to your website.
Keywords should be measured over time and you need to set targets. Gather a collection of keywords that you would like to aim for. Go for them, whether that be through content, link building, technical SEO optimisation or whichever SEO methods that you choose. Measure the results and see what is working and what needs improvement. We recommend a time period of 3 months after website changes to see if your keyword rankings are moving in the right direction. Don’t give up at the first hurdle, big keyword rankings take time and there is a lot of competition out there.
For many website owners, the success of SEO boils down to the number of conversions. After all, conversion rate represents the overall impact of an SEO strategy on business sales. Conversion rates can be calculated by taking the number of conversions and dividing that by the number of total unique visitors to a website during the same time period.
You first of all need to decide what a conversion is for you. This might simply be a sale, or it could be a form submission, phone click or PDF download. Decide what your conversions are and measure them through Google Tag Manager and/or Google Analytics.
To see custom goal conversions in Google Analytics, navigate to Conversions > Goals > Overview. If you are an Ecommerce website and just want to see sales, navigate to Conversions > Ecommerce > Overview. If you have set up custom events and want to see those conversions, navigate to Behaviour > Events > Overview in Google Analytics.
We recommend setting up as much accurate tracking as you can to get the best overall picture of your success.
How Long Before I see SEO Results?
Remember, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t expect to see results overnight. If you have everything in place, expect to see results within 3 months to a year. There are many other ways to measure your SEO success, but we have listed what we consider to be some of the essentials. Traffic, keywords and conversions are really what will tell you how successful your SEO campaign has been.