Ann Smarty, wrote an interesting article the other day on SEJ, discussing the metrics to measure your SEO success rate. It’s indeed a very bold article…a question that even the so called “professional” SEOs try to dodge.
Ann points out that there could be three types of metrics that you can track, to measure the success rate of your campaigns. Keyword Rankings, Search Traffic and Conversions.
All the three metrics above are great. In fact, SEO‘s have been following the same metrics over time to measure success rates, I can’t think of any other metric to add, but I might want to add that success rates of your SEO campaigns completely depend on your client type and business requirements. And none of these metrics can exist alone to give you significant results. Most of the time, it’s a balanced equation involving all the above three elements that makes the right formula. Based on the business type and website model, one of them may weigh more while other weigh less.
Let me give you an example that involves all the three elements equally.
When I work with websites that are heavily targeted to niche audiences like “bus ticket booking.com”, they have a business model that heavily relies on gaining top ranks. Their audience is clearly the people searching for a particular term/terms on Google, and desperately needs to get the top rank for it.
Now, why would they target those set of keywords? Traffic.
Now,keyword research suggests that there are 11k people searching on Fridays for “bus ticket booking”, so the website got to rank for the keyword. And being there on the top gives it 11k traffic every friday. So far so good.
Now assuming the website sells bus tickets, it should also find out how many of those 11k people coming through the search engines actually buy tickets. So finding out the conversion ratio, helps to check whether we are getting quality traffic or not.
So it’s a vicious circle here.
1. Find out the keywords that generate maximum traffic and find out the best that suits your site. (Numbers aren’t everyhing. Are they?)
2. Optimizing for those keywords will give you the traffic. Enjoy it.
3. Create “target” pages and check how much of your traffic actually converts into a sale/download/whatever.
4. Analyze which are the keywords that pass “quality – converting traffic” and the ones that generate “non-converting” traffic.
5. Back to Step 1.
Essentially, SEO can be a swiss knife “application” to your website that will deliver you results around the graph, but specilazed efforts helps you to zero in on your targets. And finding out what your target is and what’s not, is the real skill of a webmaster.
I might be talking vague here, but hope the point is clear, and that’s all I was trying to say.