How to gauge if your SEO is working or not

SEO is a notoriously tedious subject. Many are unsure of how it works, what’s involved and how to judge if your chosen provider is doing a good job or not.

Fortunately, hidden amongst the endless KPI’s, there is one that will really help you understand if you’re getting what you pay for with SEO.

Which KPI’s are worth bothering with?

There are loads of KPI’s that you could monitor to judge if SEO is ‘successful’ or not, for example:

Keyword Rankings: You can monitor the rank of individual keywords and where they rank on your chosen search engine. If the keyword is moving up, your SEO is going in the right direction.

You can track these through software like Moz.com or semrush.com – both have free and paid versions.

I suggest having a batch of keywords that are important to you and taking an average rank, track this over a period of at least a few months to see growth.

Be careful not to pick keywords with low search volume. If they rank well, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get any traffic from it.

Organic Traffic: The traffic you get from search engines is obviously a good indicator of success.

Tracking this will show you how much actual traffic your rankings are delivering to your website.

Organic traffic is a pretty fool-proof KPI to monitor, the only problem you have is association traffic back to the keywords as Google bundles most of them in to a ‘not provided’ category.

Bounce Rates: If you’re not familiar with bounce rates, effectively it’s the percentage of people who leave your website without interacting with anything on it.

Believe it or not the average bounce rate is somewhere between 45-55%.

Though this initially seems high, imagine the amount of times you’ve visited a website and seen it’s not exactly what you expected. This same experience is happening on your website.

Not technically an indication of any sort of success, combined with your traffic a bounce rate gives you a good idea of the quality of your visitors. For example, if you bounce rate goes up 10% with a traffic rise of 10%, the new visitors you’ve gained are not worth having, they’re not relevant.

But if your traffic is going up alongside a bounce rate decreasing, this is a great sign that the new traffic is in fact potential customers.

What is the only one I should care about?

Rankings, traffic and bounce rates are good KPI’s to monitor but they are not a sure-fire indicator of a successful SEO campaign.

The only way you can actually confirm the return on investment is how often your form is filled in, how many times your phone rings or how many times a product is purchased.

If you don’t already track this there are a few basic and more advanced methods of doing so.

Basics include adding goal conversions to your website through analytics for organic traffic and copying an email on a form fill to your inbox, so you can keep up with volumes.

More advanced methods include setting up a CRM to automate the form fills and call recording platforms.

Whatever method you choose to monitor your leads, make sure you do, it’s the only way to accurately judge your return from SEO.