If you have taken steps to improve the SEO of your website then you have done more than a lot of your competitors will. This gives you an advantage, however, only by measuring specific performance metrics can you ensure that your SEO efforts are bearing fruit. Again, this is where many website owners miss out, whereby they have SEO tactics in place but have no idea whether they are having a positive effect on their business.
#1 Traffic Levels
The first, and most obvious measure, is the amount of organic traffic that is visiting your site. Note, that we say organic, which is free traffic from the search engines, and not traffic generated by PPC campaigns. Using a tool such as Google Analytics will allow you to track whether your SEO efforts are generating the desired increase in traffic.
One point to note here is that SEO does not generally result in an overnight spike in traffic so you should track your traffic levels over a period of a month or so to get the full picture.
#2 Conversion Rate
Ultimately you want visitors to your website to take action, which might not always necessarily be to buy something. Often it may be that you want them to sign up for a webinar, or give you their email address in return for a free report. Regardless of what the desired action is, you should track the rate at which visitors ‘convert’ by taking that action.
This can indicate the quality of the traffic coming to your site, or whether there needs to be an improvement in terms of the website’s sales copy or call to action. The levels of conversion have a direct correlation to the amount of revenue a site is generating, which in turn influences the budget available for SEO resources in the future.
#3 Session time
This relates to the amount of time a visitor spends on your website, and in most cases the longer, the better. If your SEO is working as it should, the visitors to your site from organic traffic, should have an interest in what your site has to offer. As such, they will likely click through to many pages, read several blog posts and even spend time watching an embedded video.
#4 Page Views
This is similar to session time, in that it gives a measure of how engaged a visitor is with your site. If they are looking at lots of different pages within the site it means the content is keeping them engaged. It also signifies that the SEO traffic coming to your site is exactly the type you want for the niche or industry you are targeting.
#5 Bounce Rate
If someone lands on your website and leaves within 5 seconds they are regarded as having ‘bounced’ off your site. This normally indicates that whatever they saw didn’t interest them at all. Every site has bounces, but if you see this rate start to increase significantly it could indicate that the target audience you are trying to attract with your SEO may need tweaking.