As a marketing channel, ranking organically in search engines for key terms is one of the most effective things you can do for your business long-term and SEO success has the power to transform your levels of traffic, sales, and revenue. Not only does ranking highly for terms that relate to the products and services you’re trying to sell increase sales but it also shows to users that Google and other search engines think that your website elicits the most expertise, authority, and trust.
All that is amazing, and the impact of it really can be felt but, and this is important, proper SEO takes time and effort (emphasis on ‘proper’ there, the kind that our team at Embryo do). It is not something that can be achieved in an hour, a day, a week, or even a month. Search engine optimisation is unlike other marketing channels in that it is an investment, a running cost, much like your gas and electric bill. Initially, SEO takes time because of the size of the internet, as we’ll explain in this article. Billions upon billions of pieces of content are being uploaded every day and assuming that search engines are going to immediately rank the one or two blogs you’ve done overnight is pie-in-the-sky thinking. Your website sits amongst millions, be patient, if you follow white hat SEO principles the results will follow.
In this blog, we’re going to look at how to determine search engine optimisation success, what that looks like, and how to measure search success for your business. If you’re struggling with your current search setup and aren’t seeing the results that you’d like, why not have a chat with our team? Call us on 0161 327 2635 or drop us an email at [email protected] – we’d love to talk!
What is SEO Success?
Before we try to measure SEO Success, it might be best to understand exactly what is meant by the term ‘success’ with regards to SEO. An increase in the number of sales and/or conversions is the end goal and the biggest indicator of success, that goes without saying, but several factors indicate success from an SEO perspective, such as an increase in brand awareness or online presence. It’s important to understand that all of these factors will interact with each other to create a comprehensive picture of your SEO and how search engines and users might build an opinion of your brand. We’ll discuss this, and a few more of the factors in this blog, but ultimately, anything that puts your company/brand in front of more users looking for the service you offer will improve the chances of conversion.
SEO Success is an ambiguous term, but let’s go over the largest contributing factors, exactly what they are, and how they interconnect to affect the success of your business overall.
Tracking the position and ranking of targeted keywords in the search engine results pages is one of the best ways to measure the effectiveness of ongoing SEO efforts. Recording which keywords are losing visibility is just as important as recording those that are rising in position. Doing so, over a couple of months, will start to develop patterns of how users interact with the results when searching for a service/offering you might provide. It is also critically important to monitor competitor movement in the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages). Consistent and high-quality competitor analysis might glean insights into what works for your industry, and what google wants to see.
An incredibly simplified view of how the content creation and on-page SEO efforts might increase rankings is that the addition of useful, optimised content (We’ll get back to that term ‘Useful’ later) and incremental changes site-wide will if done correctly, positively impact the position of targeted key terms in the SERP. This will inevitably lead to an increase in impressions. As we’ve learned from Google themselves, and their Messy Middle, There is power in just showing up.
So, due to our efforts, we’re showing up more. But what does that mean? Why do we want to increase visibility, and appear higher in those elusive SERPs for our target key terms? It’s the best way to drive organic traffic! Organic means exactly that, these users are ones that have organically sourced your content through search engines, and other means, because they are looking for a solution to their problem. Organic traffic can also be driven through a number of other methods, such as link-building or link-earning efforts, digital PR campaigns, and media coverage.
Increasing the amount of organic traffic is one of the pillars of any SEO campaign, aiming to get more people in front of your products/services.
I think it’s best to think of all the people using search engines as fish in the ocean, and your site is your own little pond, the more inviting the pond, and the pathway leading to it, the more fish will come. The higher the number of fish, the higher the probability of catching one.
So, we’re showing up more than we were before, and more users are finding our content. However, due to our impeccable and ongoing competitor analysis, we can now see that there are some big hitters occupying the top results for our industry. How can we get Google to trust that we know what we’re talking about, and deserve to be up there with them?
One very strong method of doing this is building a realistic, relevant and extensive backlink profile. Having other trusted pages link back to you is an invaluable method of passing authority through to your site. Tracking the quality of your backlink profile over time can assist in developing an idea of how a search engine might view your brand or site, and will identify any problems with ‘spammy’ or unwanted links. Constant search engine algorithm updates mean that the effectiveness of any one SEO effort might change over time, and specifically, the quality of an overall backlink profile has become much more impactful in recent years.
Here we are, where the magic happens. Everything so far has led up to this. How many of the users channelled to our site through the efforts of our SEO campaign are actually converting into sales or goal completions? And how might we bolster those numbers?
So, you are seeing huge spikes in organic traffic, but users aren’t converting. If it is the case that once users are hitting the site, they are unable to find the content they desire, they will leave your site and go straight to a competitor that is offering the information, or service they require. It might be time to look at the user journey. Optimising your site for Google’s Crawl Bots to achieve a higher position in the SERP results page is all well and good, but if users aren’t converting, and they are instead navigating to another page, and spending much more time in an engagement session there, it will negatively impact the algorithmic ranking decision. It’s a tough thing to balance optimisation and user journey.
The conversion rate will serve to display exactly how many of your users found what they were looking for, and the measurement of this will be indicative of the overall success of an SEO campaign.
How to Measure SEO Success?
Now that you have all the information on what a successful SEO campaign might encompass and aim towards, how do we actually measure the success? The answer is diligence, patience and being proactive. SEO is not, by any means, a one-size-fits-all approach and different industries might see success in different ways, at different periods.
So to accurately measure your SEO success:
- Lay out some realistic aims and objectives for the campaign to help to achieve
- Make it clear to all involved, the campaign’s intent and the methods desired to reach it
- Diligently and consistently track and record all available analytic data with those goals in mind
- Create content, optimise and make changes to the merit of these goals and record the effectiveness of these changes
- Analyse competitor movement and activity, seeking to quantify what google identifies as trustworthy and ‘rank-able’ for your industry
- Audit and review the strategy of the campaign based on the data gathered over time
- Pivot where necessary
Using tools such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Ahrefs, SERanking, SEMRush, Sistrix, and a great number of others, monitoring the efforts of an SEO campaign can be done accurately and with ease. It just takes time and careful observation of SERP pages. Over time, this will reveal patterns that were not before visible.
A Long Term Investment
SEO can propel your business or brand miles beyond what it could have been without it, but it’s important to understand that SEO will almost certainly take time for the results to become apparent. You’ve probably heard before that SEO takes time, but why? And just how long?
Changing some Meta Data or adding some alt text to the images on your site won’t double your conversion rate overnight. However, the implementation of a strong and consistent SEO strategy can literally change a business, we know, we’ve done it.
Brand awareness and Online Presence are both essential and invaluable when attempting to grow in any industry. You could make the greatest product, or offer the grandest service, yet if you only offered it to a handful of people, it’s no wonder that there isn’t a line out of the door. Having people see your product, knowing and trusting that you will provide them or others with the same level of quality is imperative. Growth in these channels does not happen overnight. It takes work, observation, strategizing and effort. SEO really is a long-term investment. But, with a strong campaign, the ROI is infinite.
How Long Should it Take to See Results?
Generally, you can start to see definitive effects of SEO after a couple of months, but it depends on a fairly large number of factors. One of which is when Google decides to index a page. As an SEO you can do everything in your power to have google or another search engine acknowledge your content. I mean really, it can be linked to, fast, performant, useful, lengthy but not spammy, and submitted directly to google itself, it will still be indexed when google deems so.
Set informed targets and review analytics data monthly, then compare this data vs the last 7 days, last 28 days, last 3 months and finally last year. Also, track keywords along positioning across the same set of parameters. Note and discuss the larger disparities. Observe the patterns that the data presents, such as changes in visibility or engagement due to seasonality and account for this when developing a strategy.
Ultimately, it depends, the best answer is that massive growth most likely won’t happen overnight, but it’s important to carefully observe the intricacies of the search scape of your industry, and pivot accordingly. There is no blanket strategy that will work in the same time frame for any given business.
To end with, I’ll give you two examples;
An SEO strategy that would work wonders in an e-commerce industry for children’s toys might include a huge push into digital public relations, as this would benefit the visibility of the brand by earning links and generating views and pushing it to the correct audience.
If the campaign was right for the business and executed properly, the ROI would not only be massive, but expedient.
However, applying the same campaign strategy to a SaaS business, or a company that fits windows would be redundant and a waste of resources. Their strategy would likely involve curated content creation, and persistent optimisation, aiming to educate and inform users (and those pesky algorithms) of their explicit knowledge. All in aid to build the trust of their audience, and invite them to convert. This would likely take much longer, maybe years. But if built carefully and correctly, could take a small-town business and grow it into an international empire.
We hope this blog helped provide some context as to why measuring SEO success takes time. It certainly is a long game but in the world of marketing and branding it is one of the most sustainable and long-term ways to grow your brand and be found for literally thousands of short and long-tail keywords that relate to your business’ offering – optimising for search engines is incredibly powerful.
For more on how to measure SEO success, get in touch with our team today!