Whether it occurs 15 years after a business develops its first website or months before a company’s first website launches, most businesses come to the conclusion at some point that they need search engine optimization in order for their website (and often times business) to succeed. Depending on their situation and resources, they may choose to partner with an outside digital marketing agency, hire an extra employee, or give the responsibilities to the marketing department to handle.
Once the decision to move forward with SEO is made, many people are perplexed at how to know if the program and efforts are working. With so much data and so many statistics available for a website (which is a good thing), what does one look at to get an idea if the resources are being put in the right spots?
The bad news is that the answer to this question will depend on your individual business. The good news is that there are some popular stats that serve as a good indicator for most businesses that, if nothing else, provide a great place to start when analyzing your SEO program.
SEO Statistics: Key Performance Indicators You Should Care About
The Numbers That Pay The Bills:
The one set of numbers that any business wants to look at when evaluating their SEO program includes revenue, transactions, and profit. Under any circumstance these numbers give a good indication of the health of a business, pay the bills to keep it running, and fill employee paychecks. If you are an ecommerce company, these numbers are usually easy to see in an analytics program such as Google Analytics. If you have a brick and mortar store, or provide a service that bills and collects payments outside of the website, you probably have some accounting software that can help with this.
Revenue, transactions, and profits are critically important to monitor because in the end, these are the numbers that you are trying to impact with any marketing efforts. Many stats can look like they are trending in a good direction, but if revenue and profits are dropping, something you are doing may not be working. Be sure to keep track of these fundamental numbers before, during, and after you are engaged with an SEO program.
But what are some of the statistics that you should be monitoring that are more specifically to SEO efforts and your website?
The short answer is you’ll want to find the metrics that have the most impact on your revenue, transactions, and profit. But ultimately finding out which metrics those are may take some time.
For many businesses, the top statistics that move these numbers are very similar. It is because of this that our SEO consultants typical recommend focusing on these statistics as you begin your SEO efforts:
Traffic to the site
As changes are made to your website, do more visitors come to the site? It stands to reason that the greater the number of visitors that reach your site, the more orders and greater revenue you should have. For some businesses overall traffic may be most important, and for others it may be unique visitors. Both tend to flow in the same direction, but it is good to be mindful of both.
Impressions in Search
Especially early on, some efforts may not lead directly to organic clicks to your website. But a statistic to watch to see if the search engines are changing how the view your website is Impressions. A precursor to increased organic traffic is typically an increase in impressions in the search engines.
Keyword Placements in Search Engines
You’ll want to have a core group of keyword phrases that you are targeting with the SEO efforts. These would be researched phrases that have some volume of search, and that you think would drive targeted traffic to your site. Once or twice a month record their placements in the search engines (Google of course, but since you may get some quality traffic from Bing or Yahoo!, it may make sense to track their results as well). That should be frequent enough to get a feel for if the SEO efforts are having an impact. Please remember that since you can only track so many phrases, that this is only part of what you need to look at. The end game of improving placements is to generate more traffic to your site, which leads us to the next metric…
Quality Organic Traffic to the Site
One of the objectives of many SEO programs is to increase the amount of quality organic traffic to a website. This is different than overall organic traffic. You can see a decrease in overall traffic, but at the same time see an increase in quality organic traffic. It can be tough to segment this traffic. As you analyze different periods, look at engagement statistics for you organic traffic like time on site, pages per session, revenue, transactions and events.
Contact From Website
Set up tracking for as many events as you need on your website. You want visitors to come to your website and do something. Is your SEO program helping you generate more engagement and actions on your site? By setting up tracking you see how the number of events during a period changes over time, and line that up with your SEO efforts to see what type of impact the program has. Some common events that can be tracked are visitors filling out a form, completing a sale, clicking a phone or email link and watching a video.
SEO efforts may not only have an impact on the amount of traffic to your website, and what that traffic does once it gets there. It can also have an effect on what happens with regard to your offline business as well. And this makes sense. If more people are finding your website online and learning about you, more people may be apt to call your business or even visit your storefront.
Some of the most common ‘offline’ stats that an SEO program can impact are:
- Walk in traffic
- In store sales
- Phone calls
- Phone orders/service calls
You’re probably tired of hearing this, but this is why it is important to keep track of as many pieces of data regarding your business as possible. If you’re already tracking these numbers you’ll be able to use these as a base to compare how successful your SEO program is doing.
Always Keep In Mind:
SEO Results Take Time
Depending on the aggressiveness of your SEO program, the amount of time between starting the program and seeing an impact on these numbers will vary. It could be a few weeks or a few months. The important thing is to keep track of what SEO tactics are implemented and their timing, so that when there are changes in revenue, you can line up the change with the SEO tactics to get a feel for what is working and what may not be as effective.
It May Help To Look At SEO Statistics Year Over Year
When it comes to looking at whether an SEO program is working or not, many start by comparing numbers from the first period of SEO to the immediately preceding period. This can be helpful, but if your business experiences regular fluctuations in traffic and sales because of the time of year, that needs to be taken into consideration. For companies that see this fluctuation due to the seasonality of their business, it is important to compare year over year stats (vs. comparing data to the previous month or quarter). If you don’t, and you start your SEO program at the start of your slow season, the efforts may be working even though you see a drop in website traffic and other metrics.
Geographic Location Can Impact Website Statistics
If your business caters solely to a local or regional market only, be sure to look at any website stats through a geo-filter. For example, if you own a local restaurant in Saratoga Springs, NY, your most likely target for website traffic resides within a 60 mile radius of the city. So when looking at data, filter your numbers to only contain metrics from visitors who came from the cities and metro areas that you want to focus on.
There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Answer When It Comes to Important SEO Statistics and Metrics
Remember, not all metrics have the same importance to all businesses. Talk with your SEO Strategist about which metrics to start looking at carefully. The first set of stats you hone in on may not end up being the most important in the long run, but you need to start somewhere. And keep in mind that the vital metrics for your business may change over time.
Be aware of this and you will be well on your way to measuring the success of your SEO program in a manner you can be confident in.
Think Your SEO Program Has Room For Improvement?
If you’ve taken a look at some of these statistics and you think your site could use an upgrade when it comes to search engine optimization, give us a call today at 518-743-9424 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation! Our team of SEO strategists can help point you in the right direction, whether it’s towards an ongoing SEO program, a local advertising program or a digital marketing blueprint!
Disappointed in how your website is performing, but not quite ready to take the next step towards working with an agency? Reviewing your site to make sure it includes these 7 essential elements may be a good way to get things moving in the right direction on your own.
Interested in having an agency manage your SEO program and monitor your SEO statistics so you can focus on running your business? We can help with that as well! Learn more about the SEO programs we offer here.